Countless Midland families risk losing out on ‘thousands’ in refunded care home fees following a recent statement released by the government.
The alert comes from family lawyer Valerie Robinson following the release of claim deadlines by the Department for Health, who under mounting pressure, has set out a timetable for people to challenge previous care payments.
Those who have paid for care since 1st April 2004, either in a care home or in their own home, may qualify.
Mrs Robinson, a partner at Midland law firm MFG Solicitors which has a specialist team dealing with long-term care cases, said: “There are thousands of people across the West Midlands who have paid for care when they actually qualify for a free NHS-funding.
“Many of these people and their families, who have been forced to sell their homes to cover the cost of nursing care, are unaware not only of their possible eligibility for free care but also that the government has now set strict deadlines for any challenges to previous fees paid.”
Mrs Robinson’s comments could pave the way for more families to claim a reimbursement for wrongly paid care fees.
She continued: “Alarmingly, it is becoming surprisingly regular for those going into care to be wrongly assessed and therefore being incorrectly charged.
“The situation arises due to the way in which people are dealt with as soon as they are deemed in need of long-term care. Due to complicated guidelines and time constraints within the assessment process, those with underlying health issues and a genuine claim for free care can be overlooked.
“In many cases, people who potentially qualify for free care, including those with underlying health needs combined with dementia or Alzheimer’s, are overlooked. It’s causing a wave of problems.”
For people who are seeking a refund of fees in respect of care provided between April 2004 and March 2011, claims must be put forward before 30th September 2012.
On a less tight deadline, people seeking a refund of fees in respect of care provided between April 2011 and March 2012 must make their claim by the 31st March 2013.
Repayment claims can still be made even if the person in question has died.
Mrs Robinson added: “People should not be scared to appeal as thousands of pounds which could be returned to Midland families will be lost if the deadlines are missed.
“Some people have already taken steps to challenge the authorities with positive results. But some are in danger of missing the opportunity. I urge those people to act quickly and take the necessary action and advice to secure a possible refund.”
MFG Solicitors, which has offices across the West Midlands, are offering a no obligation, free initial assessment of whether or not those looking to claim will be eligible. Mrs Robinson and her team can be contacted on 0845 55 55 321 or email firstname.lastname@example.org