A deadline is fast approaching for thousands of Welsh families who may be able to claim back care home fees they should not have paid.
Families have 20 days to recover wrongly paid care home fees before a Welsh Government deadline of 31 July 2014.
The warning comes from Age Cymru and leading law firm Hugh James.
This applies to people who paid care home fees for nursing care needs between 1 April 2003 and 31 July 2013.
The scheme has so far paid over £50 million to families in Wales.
Age Cymru’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Graeme Francis, says:
“Moving yourself or a loved one into a care home can be a difficult experience.
“Decisions often have to be made quickly after a sudden change in circumstances and many people have very little experience about how health and social care systems operate.
“Unfortunately in a number of cases in recent years people have paid for care themselves which should have been funded by the NHS because they had a medical or nursing care need.”
Lisa Morgan is a partner at Hugh James and an expert in NHS Continuing Healthcare.
She won the 2013 Age Cymru ‘Campaigner of the Year’ award for her work campaigning for older people’s rights.
Hugh James has helped to claim back £50 million for over a thousand people who were wrongly charged care home fees in Wales and England.
Lisa Morgan says:
“If the primary reason a person is in a care home is because of their health and nursing needs, the NHS is responsible for the full cost of the care home fees, regardless of the person’s ability to pay or the setting of their care.
“There is, however, a lack of awareness and understanding about how the assessment process works.
“In some cases people are incorrectly assessed or not assessed at all, with the result that many people end up paying the fees themselves.
“If on assessment they are deemed eligible for NHS care funding they could be due a refund of the care fees that have already been paid. This is the case even if the person who was cared for has since died.
“In Wales, £50 million has been reimbursed to thousands of families who have been wrongly charged for care and in many cases, they have been forced to sell their family home to pay. It is important that people are aware of this new deadline or they will lose the chance to bring a claim.”
“83% of cases considered by the scheme have been successful and families have received reimbursement of care costs.
"This is the last chance to ask for a review of care home fees paid between 1 April 2003 to 31 July 2013. Families must act now“.
Hugh James currently represents over 6000 people claiming they have been wrongly charged nursing care fees in England and Wales.
Age Cymru has produced a factsheet for people who want to find out more about care home fees called ‘FS20w: NHS continuing healthcare and NHS-funded nursing care in Wales’.
It is available for free by calling Age Cymru on 08000 223 444 and as a free download.