Care home fees – Can I get them back?

There has been a lot of discussion about who pays for care once we have a need for more involved care, such as a nursing home. In some circumstances, your relative may have paid for their care in a nursing home but should be entitled to have those costs paid by the NHS instead. Whilst there are means testing rules in place, many older people are left in a position where they have no choice but to sell their home and use this money to pay for their care. If a relative is paying for their care and has been refused funding from the NHS, it may be worth speaking to a solicitor to see if they can get this decision reversed.

The rules state that since October 2007, if you or your relative need care for a ‘primary health need’ in England, then the NHS must pay these costs and cannot means test you either. A ‘primary health need’ can be defined as a condition caused by an accident, illness or disability as the main reason for care. Whilst this is the simplest definition, there is a score based system based on priority and also on your condition, which will factor in things like how mobile you are and how stable your breathing is. Your loved one may have missed out on getting their care home fees paid for if they have been rejected for these benefits in the past, but if their condition has got worse, it is worth revisiting this.

Care for a ‘primary health need’ is not means tested so people who may be wealthy could assume that they would not be eligible for this and therefore never applied. In this case, you may get back any fees you already paid.

In addition, if your relative was discharged from hospital straight into a nursing home, they may never have had their ‘primary health needs’ assessed and you may have assumed that your relative was not eligible, particularly if they were over the means testing threshold or owned a property. What is important is that you speak to a solicitor as soon as possible to discover if there is a chance to recover the care home fees your relative has already paid.

For more information about this article or any aspect of our Wills, Probate & Trusts services (including Care home fees recovery and powers of attorney), please call Charles Goodbody on 01985 214444 or email cgoodbody@mulaw.co.uk  and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).