Families across the West Midlands could be unwittingly paying for the care of an elderly relative when they are actually entitled to it for free, says a leading legal expert.
Care specialist Tracy Ashby has issued the warning following an ‘unprecedented’ period during which she has been advising people who want to challenge the costs of care for family members going into, or already in long term care.
Ms Ashby, an associate Solicitor at law firm mfg Solicitors, has raised her concern that people don’t receive the correct advice from hospital staff and social workers and can run out of time to claim back overpaid fees because of strict six month time limits. The social care expert is urging relatives across the West Midlands to seek legal advice as soon as possible so they do not end up needlessly paying for care.
She said: “Putting someone into care is a tough decision and we’re seeing more and more people who have unwittingly made arrangements without the right advice or support.
“It’s a sad fact that people discharged from hospital to a care home frequently don’t get told of their rights to potentially receive Continuing Healthcare, which is free. I’m seeing many people paying needlessly for the care of a relative as there simply hasn’t been enough attention given to the correct health or financial assessments.”
There are also various allowances and rights that spouses or other relatives have, that can either reduce or cancel out care costs. Someone going into a care home who owns a property, but has other assets worth less than £23,250, will not have the house counted against them for the first 12 weeks of needing permanent care.
But Ms Ashby said many people are declaring property as an asset and paying the full rate as the rules relating to paying for care, that all Local Authorities must comply with, aren’t followed properly.
She added: “Families I see across the West Midlands are having to deal with the stress, guilt and upheaval of a family member going into care. In some cases, they are given poor advice and I want to help change that.
“Deadlines and processes are not being explained and it’s putting financial strain and upset on families when they least need it.
“Paying for care can be a complicated process and I really do urge people to seek advice and take the time to research their situation further. Some savvy families are making huge financial savings through successful claims.”
Ms Ashby is offering families a free telephone discussion to cover any issues they may have when it comes to paying for care. She can be contacted on 0845 55 55 321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org