Council should not have charged top-up fee while family sold home
Norfolk County Council has agreed to investigate whether more care home residents have been incorrectly charged a top-up fee, after one family’s complaint was upheld by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman.
When the family placed their mother in a care home and needed to sell her house to pay for her care, the council should have offered the woman a so-called ‘affordable’ care home. This would not require the family to pay a top-up fee above what the council would contribute, for 12 weeks while the home was being sold.
Instead, the Ombudsman’s investigation found the council charged the family for those 12 weeks, wrongly arguing that because the woman’s capital, including her property, was above the £23,250 threshold, it did not have to offer her an affordable placement.
The council has waived the fee, and has agreed to check if it has charged other people in the county in error. It has also agreed to improve the information it offers to families when they are seeking help with care home placements.