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Rise in cash collected from estates of dead
THE amount of money collected from the estates of dead Worcestershire residents has increased by 15 times since 2001.
Figures revealed last week showed Worcestershire County Council recovered £1.5 million to pay unpaid care bills in the last year.
But council leader Councillor Adrian Hardman said the authority’s policy on debt recovery was in line with national guidelines.
“The rise in costs recovered is in line with the increased cost of care as well as the changes in inflation over the last 10 years,” he said.
“The costs are also reflective of changing needs and individual circumstances.
“The council prefers to allow people to make their own choice about when they should sell their houses to cover care costs.”
A spokesman from Worcestershire County Council confirmed this money only applies to people in council-run care homes.
Those in private care may enter into a similar agreement with their provider, but this money would not be collected by the authority. It has also been confirmed that money reclaimed from individual’s estates is only used to cover their own bills and does not go towards the costs of any other people’s care.
The arrangement means people in residential care are not forced to sell their homes while they are still alive to cover their costs.
Those in domiciliary care are assessed individually and may be entitled to financial help towards their costs depending on their own financial circumstances. The issue prompted a mixed reaction on the Worcester News Facebook page.
John Webb wrote: “A debt is a debt. I would rather the person who owed the money pay them than me via my taxes. I can’t see what the problem is.”
Gemma Whyte said: “This has been commonplace for years. Generally the elderly person will be cared for and once they die the costs are reclaimed from their properties. What exactly is the problem with this?”.
Mark Tibbutt wrote: “The council provide services from our taxes. So sure recouping costs is good for all of us.” However, others were less positive.
Melissa Jane Flynn said: “Surely we pay enough taxes to cover this? Rather than taking from the dead? I would rather my taxes were used for something like this rather than other rubbish it’s used for.”
Gemma Williams wrote: “They are ripping people off left right and centre.”
Dave Butler said: “No problem with the council collecting what is due, the main problem is the person in the next bed who has sat on their butt all their life claiming benefit getting exactly the same care and paying nothing and yes, I am bitter and speak from experience.”
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