‘One view of who is el­i­gi­ble for care will dif­fer from an­other’

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to de­ter­mine el­i­gi­bil­ity for con­tin­u­ing care fund­ing, but they are open to in­ter­pre­ta­tion. This, said Ms Mor­gan, means that au­thor­i­ties in dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the coun­try make de­ci­sions in dif­fer­ent ways.

“One per­son’s view of who is el­i­gi­ble for con­tin­u­ing care will dif­fer from an­other,” she said. “That is why there is dis­par­ity across the coun­try.” Any­one in long-term care should be as­sessed to see whether the NHS is re­spon­si­ble for their fund­ing if their pri­mary need is health-re­lated. If so, the full cost of care should be met by the NHS.

Com­mon rea­sons for el­i­gi­bil­ity in­clude hav­ing had a se­vere stroke that af­fects com­mu­ni­ca­tion or mo­bil­ity, se­vere arthri­tis, chronic pul­monary dis­ease and some forms of de­men­tia. Those re­ceiv­ing care should be as­sessed an­nu­ally, as their care needs may de­velop to the stage where they are el­i­gi­ble for con­tin­u­ing care fund­ing.

If you have a rel­a­tive in care, the care home should be ad­vis­ing the fam­ily to get an as­sess­ment. If you think the as­sess­ment in­cor­rectly ruled that fund­ing could not be granted, a lo­cal re­view process can be car­ried out, al­though Ms Mor­gan warned that it was a “time-con­sum­ing, frus­trat­ing and bu­reau­cratic” process. It is pos­si­ble to go through the ap­peal alone without le­gal help. Those who make a ret­ro­spec­tive claim must be armed with records of care and de­tails and ev­i­dence of the level of care re­quired. This is more im­por­tant if the fam­ily mem­ber in care has since died.

Any care costs in­curred be­fore 2012 can no longer be claimed for. A rush of claims be­fore the cut-off point took ef­fect is partly to blame for the back­log in the claim sys­tem to­day. There is no cap on the amount of money that can be re­im­bursed.

Mr Gib­son re­ceived back the en­tire amount paid out over the pe­riod his fa­ther was in care. How­ever, as he used Hugh James on a no-win, no-fee ba­sis, the law firm look 18pc of the money, plus VAT. The re­im­burse­ment is awarded to the care home res­i­dent, not the fam­ily, so it went to his fa­ther’s es­tate, mean­ing that in­her­i­tance tax was also due.

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