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Warning over care home fees refund deadlines
2:29pm Friday 27th July 2012 in Business
WORCESTER families are in danger of losing out on thousands of pounds of refunded care home fees following a Government statement, warns a family law specialist.
Tracy Parry, of Worcester’s MFG Solicitors, said the release of claim deadlines by the Department for Health has set out a timetable for people to challenge previous care payments. Those who have paid for care since April 1, 2004, either in a care home or in their own home, may qualify.
Mrs Parry, an assistant solicitor and part of an MFG specialist team dealing with long-term care cases, said:“There are thousands of people across the city who have paid for care when they were actually qualify for 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 Parry says more families could claim a reimbursement for wrongly paid care fees. Alarmingly, it is becoming surprisingly regular for those going into care to be wrongly assessed and therefore being incorrectly charged, she said.
“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,” she said.
For people who are seeking a refund of fees in respect of care provided between April 2004 and March 2011, claims must be made before September 30, 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 March 31, 2013. Repayment claims can still be made even if the person in question has died.
Mrs Parry said: “People should not be scared to appeal, but must act quickly.
“Some people have already taken steps to challenge the authorities with positive results.”