A recent decision by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, has highlighted the duty of local councils to carry out financial assessments on a case by case basis when considering what an individual’s contribution should be towards their care fees.
The council in question had decided that gifts made to family members were a deliberate deprivation of the care home residents capital with the intention of avoiding the payment of care home fees. This was despite the fact that the resident had made regular gifts to her family prior to experiencing the stroke which ultimately led to her requiring residential care and paid for all of her care fees during the 9 year period prior to her funds falling below the capital threshold which entitled her to claim local authority support.
Upon review the Ombudsman identified that the council had failed to carry out a full financial assessment and failed to identify why they thought the gifts to family members were to avoid the payment of care fees. The council is now required to carry out a backdated financial assessment.
It is hoped that the publication of this case will prompt councils to review their policies and procedures in cases where there may, on first sight, appear to be a deprivation of capital. It is important that each case is addressed on a an individual and fact specific basis and not with by using a blanket policy approach.
Read the full article here.