£77 Million Worth Of LPA Refund Scheme Still Unclaimed

It has now been over a year since the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) set up a refund scheme for overcharged families that applied for a lasting power of attorney between 2013 and 2017.

During this time, it is estimated that around 2 million people were overcharged by £89 million during the application process.

Whilst the refund process was set up in February of 2018, a recent freedom of information (FoI) request, made by Gordon Andrews of wealth adviser, Quilter, has found that only around 200,000 people have claimed their refund.

In total, £12 million has been paid out, with over £77 million yet to be claimed. Anyone who feels as though they are due a refund has until February 2021.

These statistics from February 2019 are similar to those obtained in December last year where only 203,000 people had applied for refunds, claiming back around £10.3 million in the process.

Worse still, as of 28th August 2018, the Office of the Public Guardian had handled 158,212 official refund requests.

The total amount that had been paid to those overcharged was in excess of £10 million.

This means that in the past six months, the OPG have handled less than 60,000 refund requests, leaving 1.6 million people out of pocket.

Helen Clarke of Irwin Mitchell, wealth adviser, said: “This is a regrettable error from the Government that should have been publicised far more widely to the affected families. Government agencies are not permitted to make any profit unless there’s specific legislative authority.

“It was a blunder on their part and now millions of families, many of whom may have been going through a tough time with their elderly relatives, are needlessly out of pocket. What’s worse is the Government has placed a time limit on applying for a refund, so potentially millions of families will miss out.”

Helen Morrissey, of Royal London, said: “The refund option has been available for some time now and, as yet, only a small proportion of people have submitted a claim.

“The onus really is on the Government to sort it out. It should be contacting people who have not yet claimed to make sure they get their money back.”