SHODDY paperwork and poor procedures in the care homes industry and NHS meant thousands of old age pensioners lost their homes between 2004 and 2011, say legal experts.

More than 30,000 people sold their home last year to pay for care home costs but many of them should have had their fees funded by the NHS.

Patients in care homes are supposed to have their care – and funding – reviewed and recorded on a regular basis but more than 5,000 families say these reviews never happened.

The NHS admits blundering and has set a deadline of September 30th 2012 for families to reclaim cash they are owed from between April 1st 2004 and March 31st 2011.

Lawyers say millions of pounds are up for grabs and as many as 100,000 people are eligible to reclaim funding but only 5,750 people have taken up cases so far.

Andrew Farley, director at company Farley Dwek, is acting for families affected by the mistakes:

“This is a national scandal affecting many thousands of families across the country. A series of administration blunders in the system means that many people have lost their home or their inheritance needlessly. Even if the person is now deceased, families can still reclaim money that is rightly owed to them.

“It is no surprise that the NHS is trying to keep the lid on this compensation scheme and the onus is on families to step forward and lodge a claim before the deadline expires on September 30th 2012.”

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