"I am 74 years old and have a disability. I have been offered Direct Payments so that I can pay a local lady to give me some help. However, I do not really understand the system although it has been explained to me more than once. Can you help?"
Answer : Many older people are in the same situation as you and many are put off applying for direct payments because they believe that having them will be an onerous experience. The current percentage of people over the age of 65 years, receiving community based care and having Direct Payments is less than 1%.
However, in a bid to help more people understand Direct Payments and to benefit from this way of paying for their care, Age Concern has recently produced a DVD entitled "Your Care, Your Choice: Direct Payments Working for You". This DVD includes older people talking about how they use their Payments, what you can purchase with them and how to handle the paperwork.
Give your local Age Concern a call for details as to how to obtain the DVD or contact Age Concern England on 020 8765 7200
Answer : You do not say where your Aunt lives but it is possible that you may have a choice of either an independent cemetery or council cemetery burial plot.
In many parts of the country there are independent companies who are offering plots for sale, usually in a woodland or other scenic area. To locate these either look in your Aunt's Yellow Pages or their web site on the internet.
Any conditions would be dependent on the individual company.
Burial plots can also be purchased in council run cemeteries and each individual Council will have its own requirements.
However these general council details may be of interest to you:
Answer : Females who are entitled to the state pension usually receive information and a claim form approximately four months before their pension is paid out. When this does not happen it can be that a person has moved either quite recently or has had several moves since leaving work.
I would advise you to telephone the Regional Pension Centre on 0845 6060265 to explain your problem and they will send the information you should have to you. It is likely that they will then advise you to ring 0845 3001084 which is the Claims Unit. There, the staff can either give you a date and time to fill in your claim form over the telephone or you can opt to have the form sent home to you for completion by yourself.
This done, your pension should then be paid correctly.
Answer : The company "yourable" sells a ceramic cup and saucer with a neat flower design on the front for people who have difficulty is using the ordinary crockery.
The cup has two handles which are designed to allow a number of alternative gripping positions. The cup and saucer are microwave and dishwasher safe and can be purchased online by going to www.yourableshop.co.uk and searching for "Two Handed Cup and Saucer (Taffeta design). Price is £14.09 inc. of vat. You can order by telephone by calling 01384 473728. The company has a catalogue of many disabled products which they will be happy to send you.