An introduction to assessing and verifying capital of your client – including those in receipt of passport/non passport benefits

We recommend you get details of your client’s capital position first. For example, by simple examination of a bank statement, as it allows you to address any misunderstandings about eligibility early on.

If your client’s capital exceeds £1,716 they are ineligible for advice and assistance, regardless of their disposable income. However, capital disregards for clients of   pensionable age can be applied, check the Keycard for current eligibility levels. It is important to know, your client is ineligible above this amount even if they are receiving a passported benefit. Your client can hold up to £6,000 with no effect on entitlement to any of the passported benefits. However, in this case your client will not qualify for advice and assistance. Merely receiving a passported benefit does not make your client eligible on capital.

A guide to items deemed to form capital and the documentary evidence required    

For capital, you should ask to see:

  • Bank deposits or savings accounts, a statement or passbook.
  • Shares or other savings or investments, any available certificates or statements.

Do not be satisfied by a bank statement alone. You should specifically ask whether your client has other forms of capital, such as savings or investments, and seek evidence of those.

Your client may no longer have paper bank statements but may instead use on-line banking facilities or a banking app. Here you should still view the statements but we accept that there may be no paper copy for you to retain. You should note on the application that you have viewed your client’s digital banking transactions/balance by way of verification.

Capital also includes items such as:

  • Amount that could be borrowed against all land and buildings your or their partner own, other than their main home, including interests in timeshares
  • Money in a bank, building society, post office, credit union, premium bonds, national savings certificates etc.
  • Investments, stocks and shares
  • Money that can be borrowed against insurance policies
  • The value of other non-essential possessions, such as a boat, a caravan, second car, jewellery (but not wedding or engagement rings), antiques or items bought for investment
  • Money owed to your client or their partner
  • Inheritance due
  • Money due from a trust fund
  • Money that can be borrowed against business assets
  • Redundancy payments.

If your client claims not to hold any of these items, we accept it is difficult for you to prove otherwise. Keep a copy of any evidence you obtain on file. As a minimum, you should prove that you have asked your client about such items. The online advice and assistance mandate AA/LAO/CIV and form AA/FIN/CIV includes a declaration that you may find helpful for this; ask your client to review and sign this for your file.

 

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