A firm of Walsall solicitors is urging the region's elderly residents and those looking after them to exercise caution when considering a move into full-time care.
Enoch Evans, which houses Walsall's only two registered solicitors for the elderly, says many people could be entitled to the full cost of their care being met by the NHS.
Like other sector pundits, they are pointing out that if care needs are primarily health focused then the NHS should pay for it.
The specialist in-house team comprises Patricia Venables and Susan Comrie.
Ms Comrie said: "This is the same care that would have been provided in hospitals around 20 years ago, but today it is more likely to be provided in a nursing home.
"The NHS publishes 'eligibility criteria' setting out who is and who is not eligible for free care. Many people should qualify but are being told that they are not eligible."
Ms Venables, who is a committee member of the Birmingham branch of Solicitors for the Elderly, a national association of specialist lawyers advising older people, added: "I have dealt with several cases where the law is being wrongfully applied and I have been involved in the process of reviews and appeals for those clients.
"The final procedure is to appeal to the NHS Ombudsman or through the court - but this can take years, and, in the meantime, the elderly person being cared for often has sold their house to fund their own care. Sometimes they have even passed away."
One case saw the team from Enoch Evans looking after the financial affairs of a 94-year-old Walsall lady, who was on the highest level of benefit for nursing care contributions but was meeting the rest of the cost personally; her family were concerned that she hadn't been correctly assessed.
The firm managed to get a paper hearing without a judicial review and the Trust admitted that they hadn't applied the correct criteria and that she was in fact eligible. This meant that she was refunded the money back-dated two years to the date of the initial assessment, which amounted to over £18,000.