My Father (who has dementia) has had carers at home for the last 18 months. I believe a care assessment took place by the council. My parents have never had a bill or any communication from the council, but have been sent a bill for £30,000 out of the blue. No covering letter, no itemised bill, no nothing, just a demand for payment within 28 days. My parents are incredibly shocked and scared. I have no idea who to turn to for help - is this even lawful? Thank you for reading.
Hi Nadia, BIG empathetic hugs - GEEZ!!! really feel for you & your parents
My first thought is to take photos and copies of the letter incl postmarks. Then tomorrow, in the morning call the Carers UK advice line Helpline and other support | Carers UK
the number is in the link
I hope the advice line can walk through the letter with you, check it’s real (there are a lot of scammers out there) and advise how to get more information or challenge the bill.
It may be worthwhile connecting to someone at the Citizens Advice too https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/
What I’m aware of there should (we can never assume though because more often than not there are issues) … be explicit details of the Carers Assessment from the council - what they decide they can provide and what, if anything they will charge - see page 7 onwards in this pdf for England: https://www.carersuk.org/media/obypgdbx/assessments-england_april-2023-24.pdf
I got that from the Carers assessment page under ‘What extra support can I get’ and will I have to pay on this page: Carer's assessment | Carers UK
So, after an assessment, there is a decision usually on if you’re eligible for support and what you’ll get, if anything…MANY people have issues. hence my suggestion to call the helpline tomorrow.
BUT first check to see if its all a scam is my thought, a reference on the letter, department or something to call?
Hope that helps. keep us posted …sending some prayers that you can get some answers and support tomorrow to alleviate the fear you’re all suffering
Hi Nadia, as dad has dementia, do you or mum have Power of Attorney?
I am often dismayed at the way councils behave with regard to financial matters. I once reclaimed £8,000 from our council on behalf of mum. They enter into contracts all the time without any training in contract law, my favourite subject when I studied Business Law as part of my degree. Do not have ANY discussions over the phone with the council, other than getting an email address. Then email them a brief letter asking for copies of the original financial assessment, and all previous invoices and correspondence. Get a lever arch file, print off everything and file it in date order, ideally with Mylar monthly dividers. Do your parents have over £46,000 in savings? Yes/No? Then using the LA’s website, go to Adult Social Care and make a Subject Access Request asking for copies of everything they have on file about dad. They have about 30 days to do this. Is dad claiming DLA? If so, is he also claiming exemption from Council Tax? This can be backdated and is usually easy to claim., Martin Lewis, the money expert has heard of someone who reclaimed over £8,000!
The first concern I have though is whether your parents may have mislaid anything that went with the letter - but I think what has probably happened here is that your parents have been asked for financial information and either refused or forgotten to send it back during the last 18 months, so the council has done what they’re then allowed to do - charge for the lot. It works out at about £400 a week, which depending on the level of care is about 4 hours a day over 18 months at £13.50 an hour. The chances are that everything was addressed to your father, and that’s where the problem lies.
So yes, it’s something you need to follow up, but the council may have done everything it should have - in which case you need to find out what they sent, who to, when…and explain what has most likely happened is that your father has seen, not understood, and you need to have the paperwork sent to you (get your parents to give permission for this).
If they knew dad had dementia the bill should not have been sent to him anyhow as he didn’t have mental capacity, they should have first established who was handling his money. Secondly, why wait so long before chasing it up ?! Just keep the first letter very brief though, just asking for copies of the assessment.
Agreed, @bowlingbun , but the finance people don’t have that info. They send all the finance paperwork to Mike, even though they know Gill is his deputy. It’s an easy fix on the basis of need to know under GDPR, but councils are paranoid about it. Chances are there have been a lot of reminders and warnings…missed because they went to the wrong right person.
Thank you very much for all the helpful and compassionate responses.
I am trying to establish more information but my Mum is absolutely certain that no invoices have ever been sent, in fact they were never told there would be a cost. My parents have always been really good about paying bills etc. I am not sure whether they completed a financial assessment but they certainly were never chased for any documentation or anything of that sort. I live 100 miles away and go up every other weekend but I’m not there for the day to day organisation.
We don’t have an LPA at the moment but I deal with everything including medical appointments etc for my Dad and everyone has my number. The LPA has been on the list to sort out to formalise it but I had a baby a few months ago so have been rather tied up!
I’m just rather shocked they can send a bill out of the blue like that! It’s not even itemised and my Dad spent several months in hosptial last year. I’m really worried about the impact of this on my Dad’s health as he is a real worrier.
Awwww Nadia congratulations on the birth of your
Thanks for sharing more about your situation. All very understandable and worrying for all of you. So more big empathetic hugs from me.
You’re already doing amazingly and a LOT given you have a newborn AND going up every other weekend!
Unfortunately many of us are now ‘numbed’ to this kind of shock…
I hear you on the LPA especially given everything you’ve got on your plate. Can you get your parents to write a letter authorising you to deal with all this WHILE you get the LPA started. It will be difficult to do any calls on behalf of them re. finances without an LPA. This is NOT a reflection on you personally it’s the institutions protecting ‘vulnerable’ people, but it means you’ll be struggling if you’re not physically with your parents, to get answers.
Do your parents and you, have someone nearby to them that you trust? Can you recruit them to help?
In addition to all the very useful info & tips from @Charlesh47 and @bowlingbun perhaps organising some hands-on support with someone you trust could help you all?
If there isn’t someone, then perhaps ask the Carers UK adviceline for local support to your parents or the local citizens advice.?
If you don’t have someone that can support your parents nearby, and you’ve your baby etc and you go up every other weekend - I’m just wondering out loud if you’re able to get basic information now and then plan to visit them and sort things…Sorry if that’s inappropriate or its impossible to do…it’s just that you sound really worried, so as much for them as for you, being right there could help you all…plus your baby could take their minds off everything - a beautiful distraction???
Even when I had an LPA banking stuff can be difficult…no point explaining all that. Hence, my thought on getting a letter from your Mum done while starting the LPA
Sending BIG empathy. Please ignore my in-person suggestion if its inappropriate!
that is a LOT of money!! How very stressful for all of you.
You definitely need more information, councils do get it wrong. Ours billed S for care for 18 months of care from an agency he never had support from … there were lots of other complications and it took a lot of unpicking.
Even if your Dad was over the limit with his savings and had to pay the full cost, those savings would soon deplete and he would then no longer be viable for the full cost. If he was under the limit he would likely be paying a contribution or even not being charged at all - however, the council won’t know this if a financial assessment hasn’t been completed.
You have been given lots of good advice, take care and baby permitting, let us know how things progress,
As the debt relates to dad, and he has dementia and no one else with legal authority to manage his money, that’s their problem, not dad’s!
My question would be: why is this the first time you have been billed for services?
I cannot believe that the council would not have started billing you regularly from the beginning. I’d suspect a scam.