Posted by James McNeile, Partner
On 1 September 2016 Withy King LLP merged with Royds LLP. The trading name for the merged firm is Royds Withy King. All content produced prior to this date will remain in the name of the firms pre-merger.
Councils must do more to keep families informed of care costs
A study has concluded that families are paying too much for relatives’ care “all too often.” Detailed research, carried out by the Local Government Ombudsman, found that in many cases families were being denied the information they need to make an informed decision about the best option for their loved ones.
The watchdog said that local authorities had a responsibility to ensure that individuals are fully briefed on the financial implications of social care and top-up fees. More must be done to ensure that they are not fed misleading or incorrect information.
Their report said: “The decision to place a loved one in a care home can be one of the hardest any family has to make, but all too often families are paying too much for their care because they are not getting the correct, timely information.”
Present legislation states that those with assets worth less than £14,250 are entitled to have the cost of a care home placement paid for by the council.
Top-up fees may be charged to families who want to pay for extra facilities – although many have argued that relatives often don’t feel as if they have a choice.
Tony Cryer is among those who are awaiting a repayment from the council after the Ombudsman intervened.
He told BBC News that he had been charged a top-up fee after his local council reassessed the amount it was willing to pay towards his mother’s care fees.
“They’d decided my mum was going to move elsewhere,” he said.
“But we couldn’t let it happen. We had to pay the difference… we were put in an impossible position.”