Cllr Donaghey welcomes Good News for Nursing Homes Support Scheme - The Fair Deal
Families who commit to working the "productive asset" may soon have a three-year cap placed on their Fair Deal [Nursing Homes Support Scheme] contributions.
Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Mary Butler announced that the Department of Health has proposed, a policy change to the scheme, to cap contributions based on farm and business assets at three years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset.
The Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Rena Donaghey, a long-time lobbyist of a review of the nursing homes support scheme, said she had sought a replacement scheme, which would ease the crippling burden that is currently on small farm families and small businesses.
Speaking to Donegal Live, Cllr Donaghey said: "As most people are aware, there is a 7.5% deduction of assets year on year, capped at three years, when it comes to a family home but, unfortunately, when it comes to a small farm or small business, no such cap exists. That is causing serious problems for many people. In effect, if someone were to spend ten years in a nursing home, 75% of the asset would have to be paid to the State at the relevant time. That is causing serious problems for many small farm families and many small businesses. Many family members may work on the farm or in the small business Cllr Donaghey said.
"If, as is the case in some instances, the asset has to be sold to defray the costs, then those people have to move on, their livelihoods are gone and a farm or business that may have been in the family for years is lost. This could challenge the future viability of the family farm.
"There needs also to be a complete review for home support and home care packages for elderly people. The way home help hours are calculated is abysmal. By and large most older people want and should be allowed, in as far as practicable, be allowed to spend their days in the comfort of their own home with their family with the proper supports in place.
"Thankfully, this week Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Mary Butler announced that the Department of Health has proposed, a policy change to the scheme, to cap contributions based on farm and business assets at three years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset. This change has been approved by Government. The stated policy objective of the general scheme is to introduce further safeguards in the scheme to protect the viability and sustainability of family farms and businesses that will be passed down to the next generation of the family to continue to work them as productive assets to provide for them their livelihood," said Cllr Donaghey.
The Government intends to bring forward legislation to the Houses as soon as possible. This legislation will seek to safeguard the sustainability of family farms and businesses for future generations.
Cllr Donaghey added: “I have a number of cases affected by this and it is a positive move and must be welcomed. The legislation is planned for the first quarter of 2021."
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