“Led up the garden path, then cruelly let down.” The ‘rogue’ firms that came into continuing healthcare for a quick buck.

Posted on: July 20th, 2016 by Tim Saunders

Beacon’s Managing Director, Dan Harbour, today appeared on BBC Radio 4’s consumer affairs programme You and Yours to lift the lid on ill-prepared claims firms that are letting vulnerable people down. Here Dan writes about his concerns and anger at these firms:

Back in March 2012, a new deadline was set for retrospective assessments for continuing healthcare funding. This meant that people that had paid for their care between 2004 and 2011 had until 30 September 2012 to apply for a back-dated assessment of funding eligibility, or to appeal a decision relating to that period. People that had paid for care between April 2011 and March 2012 had until 31 March 2013 to make a similar request.

This sparked around 60,000 applications for retrospective assessment, which some people in our industry saw as a potential goldmine.

Ill-prepared claims firms

New claims firms popped up hoping to make a quick buck (often with a ‘no win, no fee’ model). They didn’t have the experience to understand that the wheels of continuing healthcare can move slowly, with cases taking many months or years.

Some of these firms also lacked the skills and characteristics to represent their clients to a high standard in this complex and specialised area. This isn’t like putting a PPI claim in – remembering and discussing poor health and care needs in great depth can be a very emotional process. But we’ve heard from callers to our helpline that empathy and compassion were lacking in some firms.

Clients let down

Without a quick return on investment, some of these firms closed down, leaving families stranded in the application or appeal process.

We’ve been saddened to hear distressed callers telling us that their care records were lost when a firm went bust, that they met a wall of silence, that their hopes of eligibility for funding were raised unrealistically, or that they are locked into contracts despite not wanting to pursue a case.

These people have put their trust in claims firms that have led them up the garden path and then cruelly let them down.

Choose representation carefully

It doesn’t have to be like this. While the deadline for the care period 2004-2012 has now passed, you may be considering applying for current or retrospective assessment, or wish to appeal an eligibility decision from the last few years. It is possible to do this yourself, and we can help to guide you through this process, for free.

If you prefer to seek representation, there are plenty of ethical and expert firms out there. Do your research and take guarantees of success with a large pinch of salt.

Check the fees. While the ‘no win, no fee’ model means you don’t have to pay upfront, the cut that’s taken from any funding you win can be up to 40%+VAT.

At Beacon, we can provide up to 90 minutes of free expert advice and support through our Information and Advice Line. Alternatively, clients may wish us to represent them through the application or appeal process, and we offer full advocacy and casework services at a fraction of the cost of many legal firms.

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