Families call for healthcare money
Hundreds of families in Cornwall, who spent money on care they say the NHS should have paid for, may have to wait up to two years to get refunded.
NHS Kernow said it was dealing with large numbers of claims for continuing healthcare (CHC) payments.
It said the NHS in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly had spent £42m funding the payments in 2012 alone.
NHS Kernow said it had set itself a target to deal with all historic cases within two years.
Matilda Hibbert, 90, is being looked after in a Newquay nursing home with dementia.
Her family have argued her primary needs are health related so the NHS should be paying the £30,000 a year cost of her care.
Charlie Hibbert, Mrs Hibbert's grandson, said: "She has to pay out a massive amount of money that she has worked hard all her life for.
"She put into the system and now the system has let her down."
CHC covers the full costs of long-term care, if the primary need is judged to be a "health need."
In Cornwall, 456 individuals or families have made retrospective claims for the funding.
Andrew Abbott, the director of operations at NHS Kernow, said: "We've invested nearly half a million pounds in the team to deal with CHC.
"We are doing our level best to get through it as quickly as we can. These things are quite admin intensive and can take a little time, for which I apologise."
Lisa Morgan, from Hugh James solicitors, said: "We've overturned a number of decisions [in Cornwall] where families should never have been paying in the first case."
Joy Youart, NHS Kernow's managing director, said: "There were 456 claims submitted to the former PCT to cover the two nationally-set deadlines. The review of these cases is being managed alongside on-going continuing healthcare applications.
"Since 1 April to the end of October 2013, 775 referrals have been made to NHS Kernow."