Fair Deal Scheme: Paying three times for single asset 'unconstitutional and unfair', says Naughten

Fair Deal Scheme: Paying three times for single asset 'unconstitutional and unfair', says Naughten

Paying three times for a single asset is “unethical, unconstitutional and unfair," Independent TD, Denis Naughten, told a meeting of the Oireachtas health committee when it discussed what farm families wanted in the new Fair Deal Scheme.

Earlier, Niall Redmond principal officer at the Department of Health said the planned legislative changes were to ensure that family farms and family businesses would be “better safeguarded” for future generations.

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, also known as Fair Deal, provides financial support for people in long-term nursing home care, with those using the scheme contributing up to 80% of their income and up to 7.5% of any assets held towards the cost of care.

The value of a person's home is only included in the financial assessment of the first three years of their time in care but, currently, this three-year-cap does not apply to assets such as farms and businesses.

During pre-legislative scrutiny of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill, the president of the Irish Farmers Association, Joe Healy, said the proposed changes would mean that family farms leased to third parties were excluded from the three-year cap as they are classified as an investment asset rather than a productive asset.

Mr Naughten said that as well as taking into account the capital value of the land over the first three years, there would be the rental income from the land and any money lodged by the older person would be regarded as capital.

“So the same piece of land is going to be charged three times under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme. Now, can you explain to me how that is equitable, how that is constitutional and how that is right,” he asked.

The same calculation would be applied to private homes that are rented out.

At the moment we have five vacant homes of older people who are in long term nursing home care for every single homeless family in this country today.

Mr Redmond said people using Fair Deal made a contribution to the cost of their care based on their means and what was being suggested was a move away from that.

"It is a move backwards that could create significant difficulties for the scheme," he warned.

Mr Healy said the heads of the bill must be revised to guarantee that the three-year gap also applied to farms that were currently leased but where a family successor gave a “verified commitment” that they would continue to farm the asset for six years.

More on this topic

1,517 infants admitted to NICU in 2018; Lowest number in six years1,517 infants admitted to NICU in 2018; Lowest number in six years

Tips to help stop the spread of the dreaded norovirusTips to help stop the spread of the dreaded norovirus

Working Life: Public health nurse Susan McGarveyWorking Life: Public health nurse Susan McGarvey

Natural Health: How to deal with incredibly frustrating laryngitisNatural Health: How to deal with incredibly frustrating laryngitis


More in this Section

Vets point to 'copper deficiency' as cause of condition impacting Killarney's unique Red deerVets point to 'copper deficiency' as cause of condition impacting Killarney's unique Red deer

Ireland needs to increase efforts as environment is at 'tipping point'- reportIreland needs to increase efforts as environment is at 'tipping point'- report

Five arrested, 232 money mules identified in laundering investigationFive arrested, 232 money mules identified in laundering investigation

School principal breaks down in tears after winning case over dismissal decision School principal breaks down in tears after winning case over dismissal decision


Lifestyle

The bug causes vomiting and diarrhoea and can leave people feeling weak.Tips to help stop the spread of the dreaded norovirus

Susan McGarvey, public health nurse, Arranmore, Co Donegal.Working Life: Public health nurse Susan McGarvey

I have a mild dose of laryngitis, brought on by a throat infection. I’ve tried gargling with salted water but it hasn’t helped much. What would you recommend?Natural Health: How to deal with incredibly frustrating laryngitis

Searching for the perfect perfume to gift this Christmas? Rachel Marie Walsh picks the best.Searching for the perfect perfume to gift this Christmas? We've got you covered

More From The Irish Examiner