Reclaiming care home fees in NI - please help!!

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in N. Ireland
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WindsorcastleWindsorcastle Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in N. Ireland
I am desperately trying to get some advice, having looked everywhere in the internet and getting nowhere! My mother has been in a care home in NI since Sept 2008 with dementia/Alzheimers. As she was a home owner, she was financially assessed as having to pay her full fees and we have since had to sell her home to help fund this. Her condition at that time was not too serious, she was still communicating; self -caring, etc. However, her condition has deteriorated dramatically over the past 12 months or so, to the point that she is now completely immobile (in a wheelchair at all times); doubly incontinent; unable to communicate except in the most basic ways (an occasional yes or no); does not recognise anyone; is unco-operative, etc, etc. She has a very severe and deteriorating medical condition which leaves her in need of 24 hour care.

Having looked at the guidelines for NHS Continuing Healthcare, it is clear that she fits sufficient criteria to at least merit a full assessment; however, I have been told that there are no guidelines whatsoever in Northern Ireland as to who qualifies for fully-funded care. I am feeling increasingly frustrated, as the very modest proceeds from my mother's house sale are disappearing at the rate of £2000 a month, and we do not even know how to go about asking for the situation to be looked at.

Can anyone please advise what we should do? I am well aware of the rules in England but these are of no use to us in trying to appeal for help in NI.

It's very frustrating and stressful...
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Replies

  • Wee_Bargain_HunterWee_Bargain_Hunter Forumite
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    Hi Windsor, I'm sorry to hear about your Mum.

    There is a factsheet on care home charges on Radio Ulster's "On Your Behalf" website. Nothing about reclaiming but maybe will provide some ideas?

    Might be worth contacting the programme & sending in a question to the benefits expert Prof Eileen Evason anyway. She seems to answer every letter/e-mail etc whether it's used on air or not & she seems to know her stuff. Contact details are here.

    Edit - found this link too
    All the best
    wbh
  • Hi

    I was in a similar situation with my Dad and found Ageni very helpful.
    ageuk.org.uk/northern-ireland/ (add https://www.to the start as I can't post links) for contact info.
  • BigAl94BigAl94 Forumite
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    In NI you have no option but to continue to pay the monthly fees out of her assets. I went through all this with my mother, are you claiming Carer's Allowance to assist with the fees? This can be assessed at the higher rate and sounds likely in your mother's case. It's only around £100 per week but it helps. If she is in a nursing home, there is a nursing allowance which can be claimed to assist also. I am not up to date with it all now but the social worker attached to your mother's case should be able to advise you as can the nursing home.
    As far as I know fully funded care only kicks in if assets are less than around £20K.
  • WindsorcastleWindsorcastle Forumite
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    Thankyou for all the helpful responses which I really appreciate. It seems ludicrous that NI has no guidelines on this whereas she would almost certainly qualify for free care if she was living in England.

    I will certainly contact Radio Ulster and Age NI as suggested, and will post here if I get anywhere with this.

    Thanks again for all the kind contributions.
  • WindsorcastleWindsorcastle Forumite
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    Thanks Andrew - did you get any joy with your Dad's situation? Age NI have suggested I contact the Belfast Law Centre to see if they can take the case up, as it may be that someone needs to bring a test case, so I'll get in touch with them, and see if they can offer any hope.
  • WindsorcastleWindsorcastle Forumite
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    I contacted Age NI today who suggested I speak to the Belfast Law Centre. They were extremely helpful and patient and said that this issue is high on their agenda but as yet, they have been unable to get anyone to fund a test case. They said that they are keeping a record of anyone who enquires about this issue as it lends weight to their efforts so anyone in a similar position would be well advised to contact them as well. The more people who highlight the unfairness of the system in NI, the more chance there is of getting something done about it.
  • ct888ct888 Forumite
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    Hi

    We are currently processing two claims in Northern Ireland and believe we have the correct line of argument. You can find out more at obtainmyrefund preceeded by www and ending in co uk. There is no obligation but you can keep in touch to see the results.
  • WindsorcastleWindsorcastle Forumite
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    ct888 wrote: »
    Hi

    We are currently processing two claims in Northern Ireland and believe we have the correct line of argument. You can find out more at obtainmyrefund preceeded by www and ending in co uk. There is no obligation but you can keep in touch to see the results.

    Hi there - did anything come of your claims? We have been through all the appeals process with the Health Trust and have been told they won't change their decision. We are now discussing the prospect of a Judicial Review with our solicitor.

    During this process, we discovered that NOT ONE SINGLE PATIENT in Northern Ireland under any of the Trusts, receives fully-funded care! It is outrageous, when you know that every Health Trust in England and Wales have many patients who qualify, often several hundred. It is a scandal that patients in NI are being discriminated against in this way. :mad:
  • irishjohnirishjohn Forumite
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    Regrettably that's how NI differs. Health care is devolved and under the legislation here care home fees, even when full nursing care is needed, are payable if the person has sufficient assets. Once the asset is sufficiently depleted the health trust will take over payment but will also take all but £30 of pension income to put towards the funding. Anyone who is not having their care fees paid should apply for Attendance Allowance to assist with the fees.
    John
  • tommietommie Forumite
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    so anyone who has this scenario on the horizon - what advice would you offer? I take it they just can`t give the house to a relative?
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