Beware Of The Hospital Social Worker With A Fair Deal Application Form

fair deal

In an ideal world long term care is planned and the applicant’s and their family will have explored the Fair Deal scheme and other funding options and taken professional advice as part of this process to decide the best funding options should care be required.

Unfortunately, many persons requiring long term care don’t have this opportunity to pre plan and to get advice as they are often struck down unexpectedly by a health event or injury and are hospitalized.  Due to their increased care needs, long term care may be the only option. Once the hospital has done everything, they can do to stabilize the persons condition the hospital will want that patient moved out of the hospital asap to free up beds for their new incoming patients.

Hospitals employ discharge coordinators/social workers to engage with families to ensure that the patient is moved from the hospital without delay. Families and patients who are often distressed as a result of their or their relative’s prognosis are contacted by the social worker to arrange the patients transfer to long term care. They will often try and get the patient or their family to fill out the application for the fair deal and will pressurize them to do so as they wish to free up the bed without delay.

The social worker is not a financially qualified person and have little or no knowledge of the finances or transactions such as transfers of assets that the applicant may have made within the last five years. Their objective is simply to get the form filled in and submitted regardless of the implications of doing so, on the Patient or their family. Once the form is submitted, they can allocate transitional care funding and move the patient to a nursing home. Once out of the hospital the patient is no longer the hospitals or the social workers problem.

The problems then start to surface for the patient or their family who in many cases don’t even get to retain a copy of the application. Such applications are often incorrectly filled in and have inadequate back up information. The patient or their family will in most cases receive letters from the HSE looking for additional information and in the meantime the application processing is stalled while the HSE awaits detail. Processing times are often doubled due to the poor quality of the submission. Items that’s should have been declared are often missed out and the implications of this will normally arise when the person is dead and their probate is being processed. The HSE discovers assets not declared on the application from the probated assets and seek back payments and refunds of subsidies which will delay the administration and distribution of the estate. Items are often overstated in the application resulting in the patient or their families paying an incorrect higher contribution without realizing it.

We have come across cases which due to the transfer of assets such as farms, house etc. the fair deal application should not have been submitted until the 5-year exemption has passed but has been submitted without the consequences been taken into account. This has resulted in such assets been chargeable for the duration of the applicant’s life which had the application been delayed until the 5 years had been reached these assets would have been exempt.

Should you find yourself in the position that you or your relative needs long term care and the social worker is trying to get you to complete a fair Deal application form we would strongly advise you to not to be rushed, get advice from www.fairdealadvice.ie and ensure that the application is submitted correctly.  Please contact us on 086 6015042 or email advice@fairdealadvice.ie.