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Anger as Walsall Council 'wrongly demands thousands of pounds for disabled care'

By Gurdip Thandi | Walsall | News | Published:

Residents looking after disabled loved ones may have been sent warning letters demanding thousands of pounds due to a fault in a care payment system, a councillor fears.

Harry Creaney, aged 89, with some of the final demand letters asking for hundreds of pounds that he has been wrongly sent by Walsall Council. PIC: Carl Creaney

Councillor Carl Creaney said his 89-year-old wheelchair-bound father Harry had received the final demands from Walsall Council each month since May for the cost of domiciliary care provided to his sister Tracy.

Some of the monthly invoices had been for as much as £1,400 – far higher than the £64 weekly payments his dad had previously been paying.

He said he has been trying to sort the issue out with the social care finance administration and support team and was told the fault could be affecting everyone who accesses services.

Walsall Council declined to comment on what the fault is, how long the issue had been ongoing and how many people have been sent final reminders.

They also refused to confirm whether anyone has erroneously overpaid or underpaid for care received.

A copy of one of the invoices 89-year-old Harry Creaney was wrongly sent for the care of his daughter

Councillor Creaney said the issue started when a direct debit arrangement was cancelled by the authority in May, prompting the first warning letter.

He said: “This is absolutely disgraceful. It has been dragging on month after month. They keep telling us it will be sorted but there is no sign of that.

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“We are one family and my father is lucky that I’m a councillor and I can take this up but what about all those people who might not understand the process and just pay up thinking they owe all that money?

“I fear for those people and the impact getting a red warning letter could have on their mental health and well-being.”

He added: “My sister is mentally handicapped and wheelchair bound. Dad had a direct debit set up to take the £64 a week for the home care she received.

“We thought that was being taken care of until he received his first letter and we discovered that the arrangement had been cancelled by them.

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“When I called up to challenge it, I was told that it was do with a problem with the system. When I asked if this was affecting everybody, they said yes.

“I was assured that our account had been put on ‘pause’ but we’ve continued to receive the letters. We’ve had demands for more than £600, £900 and even £1,400.

“Dad has since paid a £600 contribution but we don’t know if that covers the care Tracy has received, whether it’s not enough or whether we are owed a refund.

“I can deal with this for us but there are so many families out there probably in the same predicament.”

He added that his sister has now been moved to a residential home to receive the full time care she needs.

A spokesman for the authority said: “The council does not wish to comment in this instance.”

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi
@Gurdo

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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