Milton Keynes mum whose daughter has Down’s syndrome accuses Bucks Council of discrimination
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A woman has spoken of her “nightmare” in the care system after saying Bucks Council took control of her daughter’s disability benefit “without consulting her”.
Belinda Helsdown, 61, says she has always looked after the finances of her 43-year-old daughter Lian who has Down’s syndrome.
The mother-of-three, who has two grandchildren, accused Buckinghamshire Council of “taking over” Lian’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA) without her consent, despite Belinda being the appointee for the benefit.
She said: “It is a nightmare. Social services took over one of her benefits because they said I wasn’t managing it properly…They are not taking me seriously because I could not afford to do court-appointed deputyship.”
Belinda, who lives in a one-bedroom social housing flat in Wendover, said the council was also failing to help her find a way that she and her daughter could live together.
Lian has been living at a Precious Homes supported living complex in Milton Keynes for two years but is on antidepressants and “clearly not happy” there, and wants to move in with her mother, Belinda says.
Belinda, who also cares for her elderly mother, suffers from arthritis, knee and hip issues, Covid-related memory problems and a torn tendon in her shoulder.
While criticising the council’s role in providing Lian’s care, she said: “It is a battle for people like me who haven’t got the money.
“The whole system is so wrong, and they are just discriminating against people that haven’t got the means to do anything.”
Speaking to the BBC Local Democracy Reporting Service, the former taxi driver and petrol station cashier said she has been “struggling” since leaving her last job in January after a fall and called for Buckinghamshire Council to do more.
She said: “I just want the best care for my daughter, and I don’t think they are providing it.”
Belinda made a formal complaint to Buckinghamshire Council after claiming that a social worker had “forced her” to hand over DLA to the care home and accused them of “bullying” her.
She also explained that because she has not got court-appointed deputyship, social services can “do what they like” with Lian’s DLA, which funds part of her care.
Belinda has also accused the council of “pressuring” her to sign a form to permit ‘Deprivation of Liberty’, a status given to people like Lian, who live under supervision and cannot make decisions for themselves.
She said: “The council should really provide [me a new home] and then they should be able to afford for her to have the care in a home environment with her mum.”
The council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing Angela Macpherson said: “Buckinghamshire Council takes concerns regarding adults and children within our care extremely seriously.
“While we cannot comment on individual cases, we can confirm that we are looking into the allegations made and will work with those involved to resolve the situation and ensure the individual concerned is receiving the best care for their needs.”
Precious Homes has been approached for comment.