Hundreds in line for care money
About 200 people in Cornwall with learning disabilities could be in line for payments towards their care.
It follows a High Court ruling that Cornwall County Council unlawfully charged a man for his care.
The man, referred to as Mr B, has learning disabilities and would have had to hand over his entire income for care which should have been free.
Richard Scrase, the solicitor acting for Mr B, said the judgement would affect 200 people like his client.
The middle-aged man with learning difficulties, from the Newquay area, lives in sheltered accommodation.
He has been living there for more than 15 years and, until last year, had the full amount of his care costs covered by the Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust (PCT).
His problems began in 2008 when he was transferred from the care of the PCT to the care of Cornwall County Council.
The re-organisation was prompted by a Healthcare Commission investigation in 2005 into the care of people with learning disabilities after "significant failings" were found at Budock Hospital, near Falmouth, run by the PCT.
Mr B was told he would have to contribute £68.50 a week towards the costs of the 24-hour care package he needs.
A High Court judge said on Monday that the council had simply failed to "engage" with the man's parents before reaching an "unlawful" and "defective" decision to make him contribute towards his care.
Mr Scrase told BBC News after the case that the council had assessed 200 people for payments.
Some like Mr B had refused to pay, while a "good number" had been charged an interim figure of £30 a week which should be paid back, the solicitor said.
Mr Scrase said: "The evidence indicates that the approach the council gave to B is the same as for the 200, so the council must concede that too was unlawful."
The council said in a statement that it accepted many of the criticisms made in the judgment and apologised.
Corrective measures had already been put in place to deal with the errors, the council added.
It said: "Although judgment in this case only concerned one individual claimant, the council would like to underline once more its desire to genuinely engage with all service users about their charges."
Contributed by disabledsouthwest.co.uk, 18th March 2009