The ‘Fair Deal’ Nursing Homes Support Scheme provides financial support for people who need long-term nursing home. Under the scheme, the patient makes a contribution towards the cost of care and the State will pay the balance, whether the nursing home is public, private or voluntary.
The first step is an application for a Care Needs Assessment to identify whether long-term nursing home care is required. You must need such care in order to be eligible for either State Support or the Nursing Home Loan.
This is followed by an application for State Support, which requires a Financial Assessment, which determines the level of financial assistance (“State Support’). The patient’s contribution is split into 2 parts, 80% of assessable income and 5% of the value of any assets held. The HSE will then pay the balance of the cost of care.
The patient can keep a personal allowance of 20% of their income or 20% of the maximum rate of the State Pension (non-Contributory), whichever is the greater. If there is a spouse/partner remaining at home, he/she will be left with 50% of the couple’s income or the maximum rate of the State Pension. Income includes any earnings, pensions, social welfare, or any income patient divested himself of in the preceding 5 years. An asset is any material property or wealth (savings), including those held outside of the State. However, the first €36,000 of assets, or €72,000 for a couple, will not be counted.
The final step is to apply for the Nursing Home Loan (this is termed “Ancillary State Support”) against your property, which is optional. You may choose to apply for this is “Ancillary State Support element of the scheme at the date of initial application or at any stage while resident in the nursing home. Patients are not obliged to sell their property because of this option built into the scheme to apply for the Nursing Home Loan (termed “Ancillary State Support”) against your property. If approved, the HSE will pay the money to the nursing home on your behalf and it will be collected after your death.
This is an optional benefit of the scheme. It is effectively a loan advanced by the State, which can be repaid at any time but will ultimately fall due for repayment upon your death. Its purpose is to ensure that you don’t have to sell assets such as your house during your lifetime. But if the house is sold during the patient’s lifetime, the loan must then be repaid.
The principal residence (your own home) will only be included in the financial assessment for the first 3 years of the time in care. This 15% or ‘three year’ cap, means that you will pay a 5% contribution based on your principal residence for a maximum of three years regardless of the time you spend in nursing home care. After 3 years, even if you are still getting long-term nursing home care, you will not pay any further contribution based the value of your own home whether you choose to opt for the loan or not.
The loan will be registered against the property and the owner should always seek independent legal advice in respect of such a loan and if you need information about the scheme, you can call the HSE Info Line, 1850 24 1850