ELDERLY borough residents could be entitled to compensation after it has emerged Solihull Council has been incorrectly calculating care charges.
More than 60 older people in the Solihull area could have historic care payments returned to them following an investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).
The ombudsman was alerted to the problems after the family of an elderly Solihull man complained he had been charged the full cost of his care by Solihull Council.
Under Government guidelines, anyone who has more than £23,250 in savings is excluded from support in paying for care fees, and must pay for it themselves.
However, when financially assessing the man, the council incorrectly registered that the man was above the £23,250 threshold – when in reality his share of the money he and his wife jointly owned in accounts and savings was below the limit.
The man complained and refused to pay his care charges when the council insisted its policy was correct.
The case was referred to the LGO, which found fault with the way Solihull Council had applied the Government’s charging regulations and ordered it to ‘adequately remedy the injustice’ to the resident.
But the case also uncovered 63 other Solihull residents who could have been similarly affected by incorrect charges.
The council has agreed to return these overpayments and has since introduced a new fairer charging police to ensure residents are financially assessed correctly in future.
Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said: “We always consider whether action should be taken to help the council avoid similar problems affecting others in the future.
“However, when our investigation uncovers other people who may have already suffered as a result of the faults found, we can ask councils to review those cases too.
“I am pleased Solihull council has accepted my recommendations, and has already identified and acted upon the changes it needed to make in light of the new Care Act.”
A Solihull Council spokesperson added: “We accept the findings and recommendations of the Local Government Ombudsman’s report and have already begun to contact those who may be affected.
“We are reviewing each case and will make any repayment if necessary.”
Anyone who believes they have been incorrectly overcharged for care payments should contact Solihull Council on 0121 704 8000.