Thousands of Families to lose right to reclaim wrongly paid care home fees

As many as 75% of elderly people will lose the right to reclaim wrongly paid care home fees from 30 September 2012, with some losing as much as £100,000 due to flawed assessments of their needs

At the moment, it is possible for individuals to seek a retrospective NHS Continuing Healthcare funding award to recover care home fees, or the cost of care at home, going all the way back to April 2004.
 
However, a new deadline recently announced by the Department of Health means that families only have until 30 September 2012 to lodge their claims for any period up to 31 March 2011. A second deadline of 31 March 2013 affects people with a right to claim NHS funding for any period between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012. Research conducted by Age UK, the nations’ leading charity for the elderly, suggests that three out of every four elderly people who should receive NHS Continuing Healthcare have instead been paying their own care fees.
 
NHS Continuing Healthcare expert Cate Searle, of martin searle solicitors, has warned families to act now to ensure their case is heard.
"The research from Age UK, and my own experience of dealing with NHS funding cases, suggests that this is a much more widespread issue than many would assume. People who think that they or a relative have been wrongly denied funding for residential or nursing care or care at home need to act quickly to beat the deadline. If you do not get the application in on time, the NHS will only look at the claim if you can show that you had exceptional circumstances, and in most cases, they are likely to turn late applications down."
In one recent NHS care funding appeal case handled by Cate Searle, a client was able to reclaim over £100,000 that his mother had spent on care home fees that the NHS should have been paying due to the nature and extent of her healthcare needs. Just a few months from now, however, that same client would have missed the deadline, and their claim would be automatically rejected.   
Cate adds: "It’s vital that anyone working with the elderly or their families help to spread the word about the impending deadline. Many families and advisers are still not aware of the existence of NHS Continuing Healthcare funding or how it could save money for their relatives or clients. Without fast and decisive action from specialist community care solicitors many families will find themselves deeply out of pocket, with nowhere left to turn."

 

Sourced from Journalism.co.uk, 14th June 2012.