The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has asked South Gloucestershire Council to a couple it said had tried to avoid care fees.
The Ombudsman found the council did not fully explore the reasons why a couple had helped their daughter and son-on-law buy a house before seeking care.
An investigation found that the husband’s health had deteriorated at the same time as his daughter had required assistance in buying a house.
Having taken this into account during a financial assessment when the husband was then placed in a nursing home, the council ruled the couple had to pay the full cost of care, which they could not afford.
Ombudsman Michael King, said: “The guidance says people should be treated with dignity and are free to spend their income as they see fit – including, in this case, making a similar gift to one daughter as they have done previously for their other adult children.
“The council’s actions have caused this family additional stress and worry, at a time when the wife was already faced with the emotional trauma of placing her husband into a nursing home.
“South Gloucestershire Council now needs to consider our report and consider what action it will take.”
The Ombudsman said the council should apologise to the family and pay the wife £250 for distress caused. The council was also advised to review its decision after giving the wife the chance to provide further evidence.
A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson told CHP: “We acknowledge the findings in this report, and we will be implementing all of the Ombudsman’s recommendations.
“The report is being considered carefully and will be discussed by councillors at a future committee meeting (details tbc). Once published, copies of the report will be made available free of charge from our Kingswood and Yate One Stop Shops.”