Denis Naughten TD has raised the prospect of court challenge to the reform of the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme due to the failure to recognise farm transfers in advance of an older person entering long term care.
“Under the new law older people who transferred the family farm and entitlements to a successor prior to entering a nursing home will have to do so again under the changes brought about by the reform of the Nursing Home Support Scheme currently going through the Dáil. This is in order to avail of the three year means assessment cap for the farm,” said Denis Naughten.
During the discussion on the matter at the Dail Committee this week Denis Naughten pointed out: “As a result, we are now placing a legal obligation on an older person to transfer an asset that was not in their name when they went into the nursing home, in order to avail of the three years on the means assessment.”
To avoid such a legal challenge Denis Naughten has proposed that the new cap on working asset, a business or farm, be backdated to the date of the Government decision to reform the law in this area, 24th July 2018.
“From that date, the Government decision has been taken not to charge older people for working assets beyond the three year period, and therefore no charges should apply to farm or business assets for those who had already paid the three years contribution up to that date or who reached that three year anniversary from July 2018 until the law is enacted,” stated Denis Naughten.
“The number of people involved is quite small but some of the families are facing significant bills which may force the sale of the family business or farm.
“It is only fair that the new charging regime applies from the date of the Government decision and not the enactment of the Bill itself, as well as protecting the State against the possibility that this legislation may be struck down because of its unfair treatment of those who have already transferred their holdings to a successor,” concluded Denis Naughten.
watch the full discussion here:
Changes to the Treatment of Farms and Businesses under the Fair Deal Scheme
From Department of Health
Published on 24 July 2018
The Minister of State with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People, Mr Jim Daly TD, is pleased to announce that the government has approved a proposal to change the treatment of farms and businesses under the Nursing Home Support Scheme, also known as the Fair Deal.
A review of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, published in 2015, committed to reviewing how productive assets are treated under the scheme. The Programme for a Partnership Government committed to remove discrimination against small business and family farms under the scheme.
Minister Daly said:
“I am very pleased the government has today approved the proposed changes to the scheme, this move will remove a great deal of stress and worry from the affected families and allow them to plan for the future. It will allow them to continue to run the family business without the fear of losing it. I look forward to progressing the matter in the Oireachtas in the autumn session.”
People using the scheme contribute up to 80% of their income and up to 7.5% of the value of any assets held towards their cost of care. The value of a person’s home is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in a care.
The decision today is to extend this three year cap to farms and businesses where a family successor continues to operate the farm or business for six years.
The Department of Health will now draft the general scheme of a Bill to provide for the necessary changes to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009.