The Care Act 2014 introduced a legal duty for each Local Authority to assess every self-funding resident of a care home in their locality, but this duty has since been delayed until April 2020.
However, a recent decision by the Local Government Ombudsman against North East Lincolnshire Council confirms that a Local Authority does have a legal duty to assess its self-funding care home residents once they approach the upper capital threshold. This decision was made after the council failed to assess a resident’s contribution towards her residential care costs when the value of her remaining capital fell towards the upper capital threshold of £23,250.
“C” was a permanent resident in a care home and owned a property which had an estimated value that exceeded the upper capital threshold. The council agreed to enter into a deferred payment agreement (DPA) creating a debt equal to the costs of her care against her property that would be repaid once her house was sold.
When her debt reduced her remaining capital to below the threshold, C should have started to pay a reduced contribution for her care, but the council did not carry out a reassessment. This meant that when C died and her house was sold to pay the debt, the estate was left with less capital.
The Local Government Ombudsman found that there had been fault causing injustice. The Council was found to have failed to carry out a financial assessment when the value of C’s remaining capital reached £23,250. The final debt to the council should not have included contributions that were payable by the council once the capital fell below the threshold.
Historically, an assessment has not occurred unless requested by the care home resident or his/her representative (e.g. Attorney or Court-appointed Deputy). Those who are self-funding in a care home should therefore take note. Oratto can assist in arranging financial assessment for care home fees, and challenging incorrect assessments. Just contact us today to arrange a consultation with one of our specialist litigation solicitors.
Contact Oratto on 0845 3883765 to speak with an adviser or use our contact form to arrange a call-back.