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Any advice please re backdated council bill for care home charges.

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
171
0
Any advice please. My mum went into what was meant to be a temporary placement in a care home in December 2014 after more than 8 admissions to hospital in the months leading up to that date.

Her flat was totally unsuitable as she is a wheelchair user and she was in a basement flat. She was also prone to falls and it was actually dangerous for to stay there.

After a very long wait eventually a placement came up in extra care sheltered housing. Unfortunately mum got worse and it was decided by the doctor and social services that she was to stay in the care home.

All I was ever informed about her contribution was that they would do an assessment and advise us of her contribution. That was over a year ago.
They have only just now today advised of her contribution and backdated it to April of 2015.
I don’t feel this is fair or legal, I even suggested to the council at one stage that they get her a two bedroom flat so I could move in and be her carer or at least put her in a ground floor flat or flat with a lift so a package of care support may have worked.

I have also just found out about NHS continuing care which I will apply for I feel that she meets the criteria as she has a number of complications.

But meanwhile I want to take legal advice about the council taking all this time to advice of her contribution which will come to a very big bill.

Can someone tell me where I can get legal advice on this matter?
Many thanks.
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
4,762
0
Salford
Just to clarify a little: was your mum in an LA or privately rented flat, will her assets make her self funding, part LA funded or wholly LA funded.
The guidance notes for the 2014 care act say;
"However, we would expect a local authority to complete a financial
assessment as quickly as possible. Local authorities should try to ensure that
people are not faced with large and unexpected bills. Where any arrears of
charges are due, people should not be expected to pay it all off in one go and
should be given a reasonable length of time in which to pay the money."
Question 201 on the link below the Department of Health factsheet.
I would challenge it on that basis as option 1.
K

http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/1...for+care/cf3273f2-dd3a-4a60-8dfa-e30eb11e507d
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
171
0
Re your reply

Many thanks for your reply K

Mum was in a LA flat and she has very little savings mainly as she was donating so much to charities who called her constantly before she was diagnosed with Altzheimers. So she will be wholly LA funded.

Thank you very much for the link I will read through it.
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,516
0
Near Southampton
I'm sorry but nobody is ever wholly LA funded. All income, less £25 per week allowance, has to be paid towards care/nursing home even when capital has reduced to under the lower limit of £ 14,250.
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
171
0
your reply

Sorry saffie I am not used to all these terms as yet and what exactly they mean.

My mother went to the care home originally on a temporary basis from hospital as her home was not safe for her to live in being a wheelchair user and living in a basement flat being prone to falls and having advanced dementia and various other medical conditions.

I was told by the NHS social worker that she may need to make a small contribution towards the care but nobody came back to me about it. Until today, about a year later.
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
4,762
0
Salford
If her assets are under £13k then the LA have to pay, between £14k and £24k (roughly) she would have to make a contribution, as Saffie says her pension would count but if as you say she has "very little savings" then how have the LA decided she needs to contribute?
I'd never ask anyone to say anything they're not happy to on a public forum or indeed pry into private business, but if she has very little savings and is not a property owner how have the LA worked out a contribution is even due?
K
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
171
0
Your reply

I don't know K. Mum's savings are below £14k. She does get a pension. I get the impression that most departments in that particular council don't seem to know what they are doing. I have especially found social services useless and more or a hindrance than a help.

Sorry to moan so much, I am just really stressed out after getting this email.
 

Kevinl

Registered User
Aug 24, 2013
4,762
0
Salford
You're not moaning and it's good you've got what the LA said in an e-mail/writing.
When the LA have to take over all the funding (and as Saffie says that means taking her pensions and other benefits) then they have to fund. That last £14k can't be touched. I don't know where you are but where I am AGEUK, the Angel Centre, AZ Society and a couple of drop in centres and dementia cafes are available any of these would give you the local advice as well as the bigger picture.
Handily for me local MP is "Shadow Minister for Older People, Social Care and Carers" and anyone can get their local MP's e-mail address, copy your local MP in on the paper chain and see what happens, it might help the LA focus a little when they're not just dealing with a "little person", bring out the big guns.
K
 

Saffie

Registered User
Mar 26, 2011
22,516
0
Near Southampton
I'm sorry. I didn't think I was using any jargon but just abbreviating the Local Authority to LA. Social Services are not the ones who pay the care home fees, that is the local authority by whom they are employed. I just didn't want you to be under the mistaken impression - as many are - that any care or nursing home is totally free as this would lead to further misunderstanding with your LA.

No it certainly is not fair but unfortunately it is not illegal.:(
What has been happening to your Mothers pension whilst she has been in care?
:)

I think the unfair part is the late demand for contributions towards the Care home fee rather than the payment itself. Pete's question regarding your mother's pension is very relevant as it should have been going towards the care home fees if the Social services had acted when they should have done.
I am assuming that your mother didn't own her flat.
I think you need to talk to someone in the financial department of your LA as this is the only way you can clear this up. Best of luck.
 
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arielsmelody

Registered User
Jul 16, 2015
515
0
Are you happy that your mum's contribution has been assessed correctly? As other people have said, the contribution should be based on her income/assets, which I guess is probably the state pension? If your mum has been in the home all this time and very poorly, I guess she has not had much opportunity to spend money, so has her pension been building up in her bank account all this time - is there enough there to pay the bill?

My MIL is living at home at the moment, and by the time she has paid for food, electricity, huge heating bills, her contribution towards the LA carers etc, that's pretty much her tiny state pension accounted for. What I am trying to say is that if it has been assessed correctly, perhaps there isn't so much of a difference between what she would have spent at home over the last year and the cost she has been charged for the care home?
 
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d4109125

Registered User
Mar 25, 2016
54
0
Has your Mother previously completed a Lasting Power of Attorney? If so, who is the attorney/s and if she has not, does she still have capacity to make one?
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
171
0
Yes I do have power of attorney. I am make some progress and am negotiating with the LA.

They have now produced a financial assessment. The thing is they did not see me so I did not show them any documents since the last one in 2014 before the care home.

Either they are able to check bank account details without you knowing or they have just made up the assessment based on the last one but just adding the rise in the pension.

I would not put it past them just making it up.

That being the case I would argue that they still haven't done one and can not produce a bill until they have.

Does anyone know if they can access bank account details without you knowing?
 

Pete R

Registered User
Jul 26, 2014
2,036
0
Staffs
Either they are able to check bank account details without you knowing or they have just made up the assessment based on the last one but just adding the rise in the pension.
NO they cannot check bank accounts and YES the assessment has probably been based on an old one.

:)
 

Pete R

Registered User
Jul 26, 2014
2,036
0
Staffs
They have now produced a financial assessment. The thing is they did not see me so I did not show them any documents since the last one in 2014 before the care home.

What do you think is wrong with their assessment and what has been happening to your Mum's pension whilst she has been in the CH?
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
171
0
Her pension goes into her bank account. I am not querying the figures they don't really make any difference. But they look pretty much made up.

I am talking about the principle more than anything.

I know I have read somewhere that they are not supposed to produce a bill until they have done an assessment.

If they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing then it is their fault. Not my LO's.

I would argue that once they have carried out a financial assessment as they are supposed to, then they can produce a bill. But not backdated to before one was carried out.
 

Pete R

Registered User
Jul 26, 2014
2,036
0
Staffs
I know I have read somewhere that they are not supposed to produce a bill until they have done an assessment..
Yes the CA2014 does state that however you have said that the LA have completed a financial assessment and you are not querying it.:confused:

Unfortunately it is not uncommon for some LA's to make mistakes, including taking time to send out bills but the debt still has to be repaid.:(


.................But not backdated to before one was carried out.
Yes it can be backdated to the time your Mother became a permanent resident at the Care Home. If that was April 2015 then that is the date your Mother's pension should have gone towards her fees.
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
171
0
Pete R; there is a bit of a misunderstanding here... no they have not done a financial assessment since 2014 ... they have made up a financial assessment they have not actually done one... it is all a mess and it is down to LA .. I could really do without all this..

I would not have thought for a moment that a LA would make something up, so I assumed that I was missing something and that they probably had just checked my LO’s bank account and based it on that. But on looking into this further, I know that they can’t do that and I know that they have definitely not done one with me since 2014, and actually looking at their figures I make it that they should be charging more.

Even in their made up financial assessment on one page they state one figure then on another page they give a different figure for the same date, we are only talking about £4 but it still shows what a mess they seem to be in with figures.

With regard to the CA 2014
http://www.local.gov.uk/documents/10...a-e30eb11e507d

It states in the answer to question 201

'However, we would expect a local authority to complete a financial
assessment as quickly as possible. Local authorities should try to ensure that
people are not faced with large and unexpected bills. Where any arrears of
charges are due, people should not be expected to pay it all off in one go and
should be given a reasonable length of time in which to pay the money.

To me.. that seems to be saying to LA’s you should do a financial assessment first shouldn’t really send large unexpected bills, but if you do, then at least give them time to pay

Is that how you would interpret it?
 
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Pete R

Registered User
Jul 26, 2014
2,036
0
Staffs
Pete R; there is a bit of a misunderstanding here... no they have not done a financial assessment since 2014 ....
No misunderstanding at all on my part. Your Mother has under £14,000 in saving and unless this or something else has changed then there is no need for a further Financial Assessment. They know how much pension/benefits have been paid and should base their bill on that. If they have made a mistake on the figures then yes you have cause for complaint and it should be rectified and you should be given time to pay it back.

However if that accumulation of pension/benefit is not longer available then you will have to provide evidence of why.

They have now produced a financial assessment. The thing is they did not see me so I did not show them any documents since the last one in 2014 before the care home.
Maybe the answer lies here. What additional documents do you have that would affect the earlier FA? If your Mother now has less than £14000 it maters not, as this is hers to spend as she wishes. If she now has more, forgetting pensions/benefits, then I do not see how this would help. :confused:
 

mydiamondmum

Registered User
Nov 10, 2015
171
0
I have checked this out and they ARE supposed to do a new financial assessment when someone moves to a care home.

My point is that they are not following the CA guidelines.

There is no point in having these guidelines if they are going to be ignored by some LA's.

As they had not produced a bill or arranged for a new financial assessment I thought that they were footing the bill as they could not find suitable accomodation I didn't think they would just send a bill a year later.

Had they informed us about the charges in advance, my mother may have just said that she would go home and waited for sheltered housing. (she had more capacity then)

I will just discus this with an advocate now.