Back in 2003 one of the first cases was highlighted in the wider media of someone being compensated for fees they had paid as ‘social care’ when they ought to have been receiving free NHS care (also known as continuing care). This prompted a wave of similar cases and whenever a big payout was reported I received scores of calls from people who wanted to know how to challenge NHS decisions about care fees.
Continuing care is quite complicated but the Alzheimer’s Society has a voluntary team of people who have worked on numerous cases for the public with much success – they can be contacted through the Alzheimer’s Society helpline: 0845 300 0336. They will talk you through the procedures and rules. I would advise people not to compare their own relatives with other people who have obtained continuing care however, everyone is different and can have underlying health problems which are not immediately obvious and a diagnosis of dementia certainly does not guarantee free NHS care.
People are allowed to backdate claims but the government is now setting some deadlines for retrospective payments: for people who are seeking a refund of fees in respect of care provided between April 2004 and March 2011, claims must be put forward before 30th September 2012.
On a less tight deadline, people seeking a refund of fees in respect of care provided between April 2011 and March 2012 must make their claim by the 31st March 2013.
Repayment claims can still be made even if the person in question has died.