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North East Lincolnshire Council (14 009 105)

Category : Adult care services > Residential care

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 07 Aug 2015

Summary

Complaint from a woman that the council failed to tell her family that her mother may be entitled to Attendance Allowance when she was staying in residential care as a permanent resident.

The complaint

Complaint from a woman that the council failed to tell her family that her mother may be entitled to Attendance Allowance when she was staying in residential care as a permanent resident. It also failed to correctly deal with the mother's capital when determining her contribution towards the cost of residential care. As a result the mother's estate has been left with less capital than it should have been.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

We recommend that the council should:

  • provide a written apology to the daughter for the time, trouble and distress she has had to spend in pursuing this complaint;
  • review all current care home residents who are on a deferred payment agreement to ensure they are not disadvantaged in the same way as the woman's mother; and
  • review its procedures to ensure it learns from this complaint and to take into account the requirements of the Care Act 2014.

The council has agreed to carry out these recommendations.

The council says it has also agreed a new deferred payment policy that details how it will implement the requirements of the Care Act 2014. Staff involved in the new financial assessment process will receive training to ensure clients have access to (financial) information and advice, when they need it. In addition, new software will automatically alert the council when a client reaches the upper capital limit and needs a financial reassessment. Taking all these changes into account, the council says that it will review all clients who are eligible for a deferred payment. As a result, it will check all accounts for accuracy and financial reassessments will be prompted.

The council should write to us within the next six months detailing the outcome of its reviews of deferred payment accounts.

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