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06 Dec 2021

Updates announced to Nursing Home Support Scheme, Fair Deal

Updates to Fair Deal, the Nursing Home Support Scheme

The Nursing Home Support Scheme, also known as Fair Deal, has been updated as of today Wednesday, 20th October 2021.

Fair Deal, provides financial support to people who need long term residential care. The amount you pay towards the cost of nursing home care depends on your income and assets. 

If you have little income and assets you pay less and if you have more income and assets you pay more. The scheme applies to approved public, private and voluntary nursing homes. 

No one receiving nursing home care will be negatively impacted by these changes, which come into effect today in line with updated legislation.

The main changes to the scheme are:

·       The 3 year cap is extended to family farms and business assets

·       The net proceeds of the sale of the family home is subject to the 3 year cap.

The changes to the scheme may affect:  

·       farmers or business owners availing of nursing home care under Fair Deal

·       a person in nursing home care who intends to sell their family home

·       a person in nursing home care who has already sold their family home.

To calculate the cost of nursing home care, the value of certain assets is only included in financial assessment for 3 years. This is known as the '3-year cap'.  

From today, farmers and business owners may also avail of the 3 year cap on family farms and business assets once certain conditions are met.  For example, a family successor is appointed who commits to run the family farm or business for a period of 6 years from their date of appointment.

If a person sells their family home while in nursing home care, the net proceeds of sale will also qualify for the 3-year cap. This change may remove a disincentive for people who want to sell their vacant home while in Fair Deal. 

People in care under Fair Deal before 20 October 2021 may still be able to apply for the 3 year cap under the old guidelines. This will have to be done by 20 April 2022. 

Commenting on the update, Ultan Hynes, National Nursing Home Support Scheme Office said:

“We have written to recipients of Fair Deal funding to outline the changes. We have held information webinars and briefings for nursing home staff, hospital and community staff, older person representative organisations and key stakeholders. 

"We recognise that it is a big decision for families to avail of Fair Deal and we advise families to read about the changes on our website  and discuss how they could benefit from them.” 

Information on the changes including who can be a family successor, the process of appointing a family successor and the supporting documents is in Section 5 of the Nursing Home Support Scheme website page at www.hse.ie/nhss.

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme has been in operation since 2009.

As of August 2021, there were 22,193 people participating in the Scheme at an annual cost of just over €1 billion.

Participants in the Scheme contribute up to 80% of their assessable income and a maximum of 7.5% per annum of the value of assets held.

The aim of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme is that participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their means, while the State pays the balance of the cost. Where an individual's assessed weekly contribution is greater than the cost of care, they do not qualify for financial support. Therefore, applicants to the Scheme with substantial assets or incomes are unlikely to qualify for financial support.

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