Care Questions : Article 39Care Questions : Article 39

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.39

"My elderly Father was unable to care for himself properly and agreed to move to a residential care home. He has been a resident there for the last eighteen months and he pays all his bills from his savings. Is he entitled to the Attendance Allowance?"

Answer : The simple answer is yes, if he fulfils the conditions relating to the care needs specifications of the Allowance. To obtain an application form contact the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 88 22 00 (NB. This does not apply in Scotland where personal care is free).

"I live some distance from my elderly Father and only visit three or four times a year. However, we speak regularly each week on the phone. Recently, he has been telling me that he is convinced that a local child in his village is being physically abused but that he would fear the consequences if it was known that he had reported the family. Not knowing the situation personally, but not feeling that I should ignore it, what should I do?"

Answer : Suspected abuse of a child should never be ignored. My advice is to contact the NSPCC by calling 0808 800 5000. All calls are treated seriously and in confidence. Your name and address will not be disclosed. The NSPCC will advise you of how they will progress your call, e.g. they may advise that they will contact the local social services child protection team or the police, and your confidentiality will be respected by these organisations.

"In a conversation with my stepfather he mentioned for the first time that he used to work for the NHS for a few years as a porter. He thought he might have had a pension, but he could not remember too much about it. On questioning him further it seems that since he left the NHS he has moved several times and never advised them. Is there any way I could check on his behalf if he has any entitlement to a pension?"

Answer : If you contact NHS Pensions by telephoning 01253 774774 the switchboard will put you through to the appropriate department. You will need his National Insurance Number. They will then send a form to be completed after which he will be advised of any pension entitlement he may have.

"My sister and I are thinking of going to Spain on holiday. It would be the first time abroad for both of us. I did think about going a few years back and had details about how I would get medical help if I became ill. I have recently been told however, that this is no longer the case. Is this so?"

Answer : I think you may be referring to the E111 form that used to give you medical treatment in an EU country either free or at a reduced cost. This form has now been abolished but replaced by a European Health Insurance Card. This enables you to receive treatment under the state scheme of the country you are staying in, assuming you are a UK resident.

To obtain your card which is free of charge, call 0845 606 2030 or pick up an application form at the Post Office. You will need either your NHS or NIC number, surname/family name, forenames and date of birth of each applicant.

"I retired a few years ago and now find that I have time on my hands. I thought therefore that I might like to give a few hours a week in a voluntary capacity.

How can I find out what opportunities there are in my area and whether there are any compatible with me?"

Answer : Volunteer Centres, supported by the Home Office, are based throughout the UK and their remit is to promote and develop volunteering. If you go to the website you can find out the centre nearest to the area in which you live.

Currently, online they have over 70,000 volunteering opportunities that range from several hours a week, to just a couple of hours per month.

You can give your details on line, but you may prefer to contact your local centre direct and, in the first instance go down and have a chat with them.

"I am fed up with junk mail. Do you have any contacts details of how I can stop receiving this post?"

Answer : The Mailing Preference Service, DMA House, Margaret St, London. W1W 8SS are the people to contact. They will allow you to filter out mailshots, which are of no interest to you. There is a similar service to stop unwanted phone calls selling doubleglazing, kitchens, etc. This is the Telephone Preference Service. Call 0845 070 0707 for details.