Nursing Home

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme provides financial support for people who need long term nursing home care. Under the scheme the person receiving the care pays a contribution towards the cost and the state pays the balance. In order to apply for the scheme a care needs assessment is carried out as well as a financial assessment. The financial assessment determines the contribution to be made by the person requiring care and the level of financial assistance to be provided by the state.

Financial Assessment

In carrying out the financial assessment the income and assets of the person requiring care will be examined in order to determine their contribution to the cost of their care. Income includes any earnings, pension income, social welfare benefits or allowances, rental income, income from holding any office or directorship, income from fees, commissions, dividends or interest or any income which the person has deprived themselves of in the five years leading up to the application. An asset is any material property or wealth including property or wealth outside of the state. Assets are divided into two categories – cash assets and non-cash assets. Cash assets include savings, stocks shares and securities while non-cash assets include all forms of property other than cash assets for example a person’s principal residence or land. The assessment will also look at assets which the applicant has deprived him or herself of in the five years leading up to the application.

Contribution to cost of care

If an application is made after the 25th of July 2013 the applicant will contribute 80% of their assessable income and 7.5% of the value of any assets per annum towards the cost of their care, less the first €36,000 of their assets or €72,000 in the case of a couple. The applicant’s principal residence will only be included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. All other assets will be taken into account for as long as they are in care. There is however an important extension to the three year cap such that it will apply to farms and businesses in circumstances where:

1. The person has suffered a sudden illness or disability which causes them to need long term nursing home care;

2. The person or their partner was actively engaged in the daily management of the farm or business up until the time of the sudden illness or disability;

3. A family successor certifies that he or she will continue the management of the farm or business.

The purpose of this extension is to ensure the financial sustainability of family farms or businesses in cases where a person suffered a sudden illness and did not have an opportunity to put appropriate succession arrangements in place.

Payment of the contribution

It is possible to defer the payment of the contribution based on land and property by entering in to a Nursing Home Loan. In such cases the HSE pays the Nursing Home in full and collects the amount loaned from the estate of the person requiring care after their death. If a Nursing Home Loan is entered into a Charging Order is registered against the asset in question. In the event that a person does not have the capacity to consent to the Nursing Home Loan and the registration of the Charging Order, a person appointed under an Enduring Power of Attorney or the Committee of a Ward of Court can make the application. In the event that no such persons are appointed a Care Representative can be appointed by the Circuit Court. The role of the Care Representative is to act on behalf of the person in respect of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme and especially in respect of the Nursing Home loan. The persons who can apply for appointment as a Care Representative include the spouse or partner, parent, child, brother or sister, niece or nephew, a grandchild, grandparent, aunt or uncle of the person requiring care or a person who appears to the Court to have good and sufficient interest in the welfare of the person requiring care.

Norma Lane is a solicitor practising in the Commercial Department of FitzGerald Solicitors. FitzGerald Solicitors is located at 6 Lapps Quay, Cork.

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