A recent report has claimed that there could be up to 100,000 elderly people in the UK who are eligible to make a claim for care home fees they have wrongly paid.
Pensioners who have been admitted into long-term care in nursing homes should have been regularly monitored and reviewed under the NHS Continuing Healthcare scheme. However, it is estimated that due to errors and incompetence, many thousands of people have failed to be re-assessed, and therefore have been paying out thousands of pounds to pay for care that they should have received for free.
In a substantial number of cases, the family or spouse of the person requiring care has felt forced into selling property in order to pay for the fees.
We are contacted by people in this situation several times a week - and where we are contacted at an early stage, we are able to intervene and prevent the need to sell the property.
Sadly, there are many thousands of people who have already gone down the route of selling assets in order to fund nursing care. There may be a lifeline for these families, however, in the form of a compensation claim for wrongly paid care home fees. We have helped a number of clients to recover costs of care that they should have received free on the NHS. And with the average full time care fees in the UK costing around £800 a week, the compensation recoverable can be a substantial figure.
According to the recent report, only 5,750 of the estimated 100,000 people in this situation have lodged claims, meaning there are potentially 94,000 people and families eligible to make a claim. Even where the relative has sadly now deceased, the families could still be entitled to reclaim the money owed.
It is important to note that the government have set a deadline of 30th September 2012 for people to lodge claims relating to care home fees.
It is therefore imperative that you seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
By Sara-Jane Chorkley, Wills and Probate Solicitor