Vincents Solicitors launches B2B benefit check service

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Vincents Solicitors has launched a new service to support other law firms and professional services companies following a change in guidance from the Office of the Public Guardian.

Vincents’ new Welfare Benefits Check service provides a solution for other law firms which do not have the in-house expertise to meet the requirements of the guidelines*, which came into force in February 2023.

The service will be managed by Abigail Cuffe, Vincents’ recently appointed benefits and Court of Protection (CoP) expert. Abigail has more than a decade’s experience in the sector and is one of only a handful of specialists nationally who combines in-depth knowledge of welfare benefits alongside Court of Protection work.

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She has been recruited by Vincents Solicitors to support its growing CoP department and undertake the initial review needed within three months of appointment, and the required annual benefit reviews, for all Vincents’ CoP clients.

Vincents' welfare specialist Abigail Cuffe with Oliver Banks, head of the Court of Protection teamVincents' welfare specialist Abigail Cuffe with Oliver Banks, head of the Court of Protection team
Vincents' welfare specialist Abigail Cuffe with Oliver Banks, head of the Court of Protection team

She can provide that service for clients of Vincent’s personal injury, family law, private client and conveyancing departments, and is now offering the full Welfare Benefits Check service to other firms without their own in-house specialist.

Abigail has also designed a benefits training programme for anyone involved with CoP work or acting as a professional deputy, including lawyers, financial advisors, wealth managers, care mangers, care homes, and social services teams.

She said: “With guidelines now requiring Deputies to carry out initial and annual benefits checks for Court of Protection clients, and considering the UK’s increasingly complicated welfare landscape, this has become an extremely specialised area of work and there is a growing demand for my combination of skills.

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“It is vital that we ensure our most vulnerable clients receive all that they are entitled to, and equally important to make sure they are not erroneously in receipt of something which they will have to pay back in the future. The government has made it clear its intention to see this issue improved with their new requirement for checks to be carried out with three months of a CoP case being opened, and on an annual basis thereafter.

“My aim it to support those vulnerable people, wherever they may be, and I want to share my knowledge with others working with CoP clients. Outsourcing the service to a specialist and taking part in a benefits training session are simple ways for colleagues in this sector to ensure their clients are receiving the right support and the very best care we can offer.”

Abigail joined Vincents from JMW Solicitors in Manchester, prior to which she has worked at Potter Rees Dolan, Slater + Gordon, Pannone, and the Department for Work and Pensions. She will provide welfare benefit checks for the firm’s family law, conveyancing, wills and probate, personal injury, and clinical negligence clients. She will also assist Vincents’ clients by making the relevant applications on their behalf, defending claims and appeals, an area in which Abigail has a 100% record on appeal applications.

Her arrival is a further boost to the Court of Protection department which is headed up by Oliver Banks.

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Oliver said: “We are extremely lucky to have Abigail’s knowledge and expertise in-house, it will be invaluable to our CoP clients and those of our colleagues in other departments. Given her skillset is so unique, and her passion for spreading good practice throughout this sector so strong, we are pleased to also offer her services to any other CoP-related providers.”

To make an appointment with Abigail Cuffe or the wider Court of Protection team at Vincents Solicitors call 01995 606 442 or email [email protected]