Advice for the elderly and people with severe health conditions, and their carers

This page provides advice for the elderly and people with severe health conditions, and their carers.

You can also find a downloadable leaflet with advice for the elderly and people with severe health conditions, and their carers here.

Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the deadline for European citizens living in the UK to apply for ‘Settled Status’ is 30 June 2021. The charity Settled is concerned about the impact on older Europeans. For many older people, applying to the EU Settlement Scheme has proved to be a very difficult process. There is evidence to support this: as of 30 June 2020, only 64% of EU nationals aged 65+ in the UK have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme. However, a number of people will simply not be able to manage with the application.

The Home Office has designed the EU Settlement Scheme so that it allows applicants with dementia and other similar health conditions, such as those without mental capacity, to consent to an appropriate third party to apply on their behalf. This means that care givers, family members and friends can provide the necessary assistance to those who need it. 

If you care for someone who hasn’t the ability to make a decision and you are concerned that this person will not be able to:

  • understand all the information needed to make the application,
  • complete a form and send specific documents (either online or by post) to prove their identity and their residence in the UK to the Home Office

then it is important to arrange the application via their next of kin, power of attorney or social worker. Please refer to definitions of capacity, examples of people who may lack capacity, what is a power of attorney and to our Consent Form that clarifies what consent is required to proceed with an application to the EU Settlement Scheme.  

If you are filling in a form for an applicant because they cannot complete it themselves, this does not constitute immigration advice. You only need regulation, from the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), if you are providing one-to-one advice, for example helping an applicant understand the paperwork, advising on what paperwork to include, exploring their individual circumstances or explaining outcomes.  

The Home Office is aware that a range of vulnerable applicants may face significant challenges in securing evidence to support their application. For this reason, the Home Office will in such circumstances accept a range of evidence of identity and residence on behalf of an applicant, working with the person making the application to establish the applicant’s eligibility based on all the evidence available. Caseworkers are trained to exercise discretion in the applicant’s favour where appropriate.

Actions towards helping someone applying for settled status:

  • Collect together official documents including passport, power of attorney, hospital and GP letters and printouts, a current prescription, letters with any previous home address, bank account details, benefits and pension statements. People receiving the New State Pension or Basic State Pension and who are currently resident in the UK should not have to provide additional documentation to apply. 
  • Where clients have capacity and understanding – discuss with them which family member or friend they would allow to help them apply for ‘Settled Status’. A care manager could also apply using their email for contact.
  • Where clients do not have mental capacity – discuss with a current social worker, power of attorney or registered next of kin who should help them apply

“Mr Jean Pierrot is an 83 years old French citizen, he has been in the hospital for the last 2 months and has Alzheimer’s disease. Mr Pierrot is settled and has lived and worked in the U.K. for many years.

His cousin, Mrs Fanny Blakes, who has power of attorney and can act on behalf of him, has contacted the EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre and requested a paper application as she hasn’t access to the internet. She has filled the settled status application form and sent it by post to the Home Office together with proof of Mr Pierrot residence in the UK, power of attorney, letter from the hospital that proves his condition and Settled Consent Form.”

“Mrs Francesca Merlo, an Italian citizen lives at home with her British partner and her 22 years old Italian son, Giuseppe, who after an accident has been left with brain injuries. Mrs Merlo is the full-time carer of Giuseppe and has lived in the U.K. with Giuseppe for the last 3 years. Mrs Merlo, last year applied online for her pre-settled status. She has now submitted a similar application for Giuseppe and uploaded with the online form his birth certificate, a recent letter from the NHS that states his condition, which is also proof of Giuseppe’s residence in the UK, and Settled Consent Form.”

What is mental capacity?

Mental capacity means the ability to make or communicate specific decisions at the time they need to be made. To have mental capacity you must understand the decision you need to make, why you need to make it, and the likely outcome of your decision.

Some people will be able to make decisions about some things but not others. For example, they may be able to decide what to buy for dinner, but be unable to understand and arrange their home insurance. Alternatively, their ability to make decisions may change from day to day.

Needing more time to understand or communicate doesn’t mean you lack mental capacity. For example, having dementia doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is unable to make any decisions for themselves. Where someone is having difficulty communicating a decision, an attempt should always be made to overcome those difficulties and help the person decide for themselves.,likely%20outcome%20of%20your%20decision.

Examples of people who may lack capacity include those with:

But just because a person has one of these health conditions doesn’t necessarily mean they lack the capacity to make a specific decision.

Someone can lack capacity to make some decisions (for example, to decide on complex financial issues) but still have the capacity to make other decisions (for example, to decide what items to buy at the local shop).

The Mental Capacity Act says (MCA) says:

  • assume a person has the capacity to make a decision themselves, unless it’s proved otherwise
  • wherever possible, help people to make their own decisions
  • don’t treat a person as lacking the capacity to make a decision just because they make an unwise decision
  • if you make a decision for someone who doesn’t have capacity, it must be in their best interests
  • treatment and care provided to someone who lacks capacity should be the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions for you, or act on your behalf, if you’re no longer able to or if you no longer want to make your own decisions.,likely%20outcome%20of%20your%20decision.

Useful links:

EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre  


Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays),8am to 8pm;
Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to4:30pm.
Inside the UK 0300 123 7379
Outside the UK + 44 (0) 20 3080 0010
Online form:

Ask a question about applying for settled status – GOV.UK

Using the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app

Apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (settled and pre-settled status)


You can download the above leaflets as a PDF here.

This page was last updated on Thurssday 11-02-2021. Settled will make every effort to update this information to reflect the current situation.

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