Firm denies bullying applicants for nursing home repayments

THE firm responsible for administering the nursing home repayment scheme has flatly denied it bullied applicants entitled to payments.

The scheme administrator, KPMG and Mc Cann FitzGerald, said it had taken the proactive step of contacting applicants who had filled in forms incorrectly because it did not wish to further delay the process.

In a statement yesterday, it said reports it was trying to minimise the number of claims were wrong and it was trying to make sure people were not excluded because of a common mistake on their application form.

The mistake was made by people who filled out a section of the form that should only concern relatives or friends who paid nursing home costs out of their own pocket.

The company accepted it may not have communicated this well to some people.

“The scheme administrator is particularly conscious of the fact that as the end of the scheme approaches, a number of claims are being held up within the system.

“The scheme administrator contacted the claimants by phone and subsequently in writing to request them to withdraw that section only of their application as the fastest means of getting their overall application to proceed through the normal processing route.

“The withdrawal of this section of their claim has no financial impact on the overall assessment of their application,” it said.

However, Fine Gael’s Denis Naughton said the high level of applications that had been rejected warranted an investigation.

Parliamentary questions he received revealed 10% of those rejected were subsequently found to have genuine entitlements after an appeal.

This was too high, he said.

“The level of successful appeals on offers made to people who were illegally charged for nursing home care has raised suspicions that many elderly people are being underpaid,” he said.

So far the scheme has had more than 36,000 applications.

A total of 24,000 applications have been finalised.

A total of €185 million has been paid out to date.


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