Family members who care for their disabled loved ones are usually expected to give their services free of charge. However, in a ruling which will give hope to thousands, the Court of Protection sanctioned payment of a £23,000-a-year carer’s allowance to a man who gave up his professional career to look after his incapacitated sister.
The sister had won a compensation package worth millions from the NHS following allegedly negligent brain surgery. The operation had not cured the epilepsy which she had endured since she was a baby and had left her suffering from profound memory loss, impaired decision making and intermittent psychosis.
Her younger brother, aged in his 50s and a father of two, had abandoned his well-paid job to work full time as her carer and case manager. However, a difficulty arose because he also acted as her official deputy, bearing responsibility for managing her financial affairs. Thousands of family carers in that position are not permitted to profit from the role they perform and must always ensure that their personal interests do not conflict with their duties.
Approving payment of a carer’s allowance to the man, the Court noted that he had willingly sacrificed his own interests and provided his sister with an exemplary service. The modest annual sums to be paid to him from his sister’s compensation were affordable and represented an enormous saving on what she would otherwise have had to pay for a professional team of carers.