The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has told Councils that they must carry out regular reviews of residents’ assets when assessing care home charges under deferred payments schemes.
This follows an investigation into a complaint about North East Lincolnshire Council. The complaint was that the Council did not deal correctly with a woman’s capital when determining her contribution towards the cost of her care and did not advise the family to obtain benefits advice.
The family agreed a deferred payment scheme as they did not want to sell the property. The council failed to reassess the woman’s contribution at the point that her residual capital had fallen below the capital threshold of £23,250. The woman had therefore continued to pay the full amount up to her death in June 2013 rather than a reduced amount. This ultimately reduced her estate.
The family were also not advised that the woman could have claimed attendance allowance.
The DWP agreed to pay the backdated attendance allowance to the woman’s estate and the council agreed to pay the woman’s estate an amount that would have brought it to £23,250 at her death.
LGO recommended that all councils regularly reassess people’s finances when calculating their contributions and that good practice is to signpost people to other organisations if they believe they may be able to claim additional benefits.
North Lincolnshire Council has been told that they should review all current care home residents who are on deferred payments agreements.
For further information please contact Alexandra Chun on 0345 209 1530 or 0117 305 6530.