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Council wrong to say elderly couple got rid of capital to avoid care costs

25 September 2018

South Gloucestershire Council has been asked to apologise to an elderly couple after deciding they deliberately deprived themselves of capital in order to reduce the husband’s care costs.

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The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found the council did not take into consideration all the relevant facts when it decided the couple had deliberately deprived themselves of their assets.

An Ombudsman’s investigation found the council did not fully explore the reasons why the couple had transferred money to their daughter and son-in-law, before reaching its decision, and did not provide the couple with the reasons for its decision

The investigation also found the council did not carry out a financial assessment in line with the Care Act.

Ombudsman Michael King, said:

“The guidance says people should be treated with dignity and are free to spend their income as they see fit – including, in this case, making a similar gift to one daughter as they have done previously for their other adult children.

“The council’s actions have caused this family additional stress and worry, at a time when the wife was already faced with the emotional trauma of placing her husband into a nursing home.

“South Gloucestershire Council now needs to consider our report and consider what action it will take.”

[Taken from Ombudsman summary]

The council must now apologise to the family and pay the wife £250 to recognise the distress the situation has caused her. It also must review its decision, giving the wife the chance to provide further evidence to support her case and provide her with a properly reasoned decision of their decision.

The Ombudsman has recommended that the council should review its current procedures and guidance for staff on how to deal with cases where deprivation of capital may have occurred. It should also ensure financial assessments are carried out at the correct time.

If you have a care issue with your council you can call our personal budgets helpline

You should also see our information on claiming about council decisions