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Wrongly paying care fees? 

06 April 2022 | Heledd Wyn

Many families wrongly pay long-term residential care fees for loved ones, sometimes because they’ve been given the wrong advice or because circumstances change and conditions are not reviewed. Expert care solicitor Heledd Wyn sets out the 10 most common reasons people have wrongly paid care fees: 

  1. Selling the family home, because one of the owners needs care. The family home must be disregarded at assessment, it cannot be used for care costs.  
  2. Not seeking local authority assessment if savings (assets) are below £23,250. Often those with any savings believe they must pay in full. 
  3. Adding together the saving of both parties for care fees. Only the savings of the person requiring care, plus 50% of joint savings should be used for care fees.  
  4. Family members living with a sole owner who needs long-term residential care believing they must move out. This is often not so, some relatives have a mandatory right or discretionary right of occupation.  
  5. Agreeing to pay top-up fees to care homes, without first asking the local authority to recommend homes within budget. If those homes do not have rooms within budget, the council may have to pay the top-ups.  
  6. Joint owners agreeing to deferred payments arrangements (DPA’s) to pay care fees. The accumulating debt against the house becomes due 90-days after the person dies. These is no obligation on joint owners to agree to a DPA.  
  7. Families not understanding the difference between continuing health care, delivered by registered nurses free of charge, and social care delivered by non-nursing care support workers, which has to be paid for, subject to financial assessment. 
  8. When a care residents health deteriorates, they fail to consider changes could mean their loved one should be assessed by the NHS for continuing healthcare (CHC), to see if those changes qualify for full nursing care. Most believe care homes will refer if the need arises, however many care home contracts place the responsibility on family to arrange assessment.  
  9. If CHC is requested, family believe their loved one’s care needs alone will ensure eligibility, and fail to prepare for the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting, called by the NHS to discuss it. NHS statistics show 80% are not be found to be eligible.  
  10. Review of decision, which must be requested within 6 months of the decision dates are often never requested. Often those who do fail to gather evidence from hospitals, GP’s, care homes and social services to support eligibility. 20% of those who challenge are successful, with better preparation it is likely that figure could be far higher. 

Specialist Long-Term & Elderly Care Solicitors

If you believe you may have been asked to wrongly pay care fees or a loved one appears to need assessment by the NHS for continuing healthcare, then our private client team can assist you. Please get in touch by calling 0117 906 9400 or email Alternatively, please complete our contact form.    

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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