Q. What is the Fair Deal Scheme?
A. You can apply for financial support to help pay for the cost of care in a nursing home through the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, also known as the Fair Deal scheme. The Fair Deal scheme is managed by the Health Service Executive (HSE). Under the Scheme, you pay a certain amount towards the cost of your care and the HSE pays the rest. It covers approved private nursing homes, voluntary nursing homes and public nursing homes.
You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland and need long-term nursing home care to apply for the scheme. You need to be approved for Fair Deal before you can receive funding for a nursing home.
When you apply, your care needs are assessed by the HSE to confirm that long-term nursing home care is the most appropriate option for you. Your financial situation is also assessed to see how much you can pay towards the cost of your nursing home care. The HSE then pays the balance between what you pay for your care and what the nursing home charges for providing that care. Your assets, such as savings and property, are taken into account when assessing your financial situation.
You can apply for a Nursing Home Loan if you have assets including land or property. With a nursing home loan, you can defer paying for your care until after your death, using your assets to secure the loan.
Q. What does it cover?
A. The scheme applies to long-term nursing home care only. It does not cover short-term care such as respite, convalescent or day-care.
The Fair Deal covers the following:
Accommodation and food
Nursing and personal care appropriate to your care needs
Basic aids and appliances necessary to support you with everyday living
It does no cover extra fees charges by the nursing home for services like hairdressing, therapies or activities
Q. How do you apply?
A. There are four steps to the Fair Deal application process. First you must complete the application form. The form should be completed and signed by the person applying for nursing home care. If they are unable to apply, a specified person can apply for them. When you submit the application form, you are applying for a care needs assessment and financial support.
The second stage is the Care Needs Assessment which checks if you can be supported to continue living at home or if long-term nursing home care is more appropriate. Healthcare professionals appointed by the HSE such as a public health nurse will carry out the assessment.
The third stage is the financial assessment which works how much you can pay towards your nursing home care and the final, optional step, is to apply for a Nursing Home Loan. It is an option if the person in nursing home care has assets including land and property.
Q. How much do you pay towards your care?
A. After assessing your income and assets, the Financial Assessment will work out how much you pay towards your care.
You will pay: 80% of your income (less certain deductions) and 7.5% of the value of your assets per year
The first €36,000 of your assets, or €72,000 for a couple, will not be counted in the Financial Assessment. If you are part of a couple, you will contribute half of the amounts above, that is, 40% of your income and 3.75% of the value of your assets per year.
If your assets include land or property, the 7.5% contribution based on these assets may be deferred and paid to Revenue after your death. You can defer paying the 7.5% contribution by applying for an optional nursing home loan.
Q. What is the three – year cap?
A. Some assets are included in the financial assessment for only the first three years you are in care. This is known as the ‘three-year cap’. It means that you pay a 7.5% contribution based on the value of certain assets for up to three years.
These assets can include:
The proceeds of the sale of your home
Your farm or business
After three years, you will not give any further payment based on these assets, even if you are still getting long-term nursing home care. All other assets will be taken into account for as long as you are in care.
Q. Are there special conditions in relation to the three-year cap for family-owned farms and businesses?
Family-owned farms and businesses can be included in the ‘three-year cap’ if they meet some conditions.
Q. What is the Nursing Home Loan?
A. It is an optional element of the Fair Deal Scheme if the person in nursing home care has assets including land and property. With a nursing home loan, they can delay paying for their care until after their death using these assets to secure the loan. It can be applied for during the initial application stage or anytime when resident in a nursing home. You can apply for the optional nursing home loan and if you are approved, you do not have to avail of it, if you change your mind.