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Nursing Homes

Nursing home residents availing of Fair Deal can now keep more rental income

The Government hopes that the change will result in 8,000 homes entering the rental market.

NURSING HOME RESIDENTS availing of the Fair Deal scheme will now be able to claim 60% of rental income rather than 20% which was allowed previously under new changes which aim to bring vacant properties back onto the rental market.

The Fair Deal Scheme is a financial support scheme for people who enter into long-term nursing home care. It is designed to help older people pay the costs of nursing home care regardless of their financial situation and takes into account income and assets.

As of today, anyone in nursing home care supported by the Fair Deal scheme can now have the rental income from their principal private residence assessed at 40% rather than 80%. 

The Government hopes that the change will result in 8,000 homes entering the rental market.

An application form to avail of the scheme is available on the HSE website or from the Nursing Home Support Scheme offices. 

The HSE also requires copies of an Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) registration approval letter, rental agreement showing the rental amount and the latest notice of assessment from Revenue. 

The HSE said today that in certain circumstances, if a person’s home is not registered with the RTB, it may still qualify for the reduced rate of 40%. The RTB will advise on the specific instances where this applies. 

Any rental income received from a property which is not a person’s principal residence will continue to be treated as general income. 

‘A waste’

Advocacy groups representing elderly people in May raised concerns at the plans to change the Fair Deal scheme. 

The charity Alone, which seeks to empower older people to continue living at home, told the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing that the energy and resources used to free up houses will be “unfruitful” at best.

The charity said that the average stay in a nursing home is only 2.9 years, making the efforts less impactful.

“This figure alone should point to the fact that the energy and resources used to free up these homes will prove at best unfruitful and at worst a waste,” the charity told TDs and Senators.

“Clearing out and renting a person’s home while they are in a nursing home is an emotive and stressful solution that will yield a minuscule return compared to the targeted development of the right types of housing ALONE have identified.”

Age Action Ireland also raised concerns about the changes to Fair Deal, calling for 100% of rental income to be kept by the older person as well as calling for safeguards to be implemented.

These include safeguards for people with impaired-decision making being assisted in making the decision to rent out their home rather than a decision being made on their behalf.

“We also need safeguards to prevent abuse, such as family members or others pushing an older person to rent out their home, or pocketing the rental income,” Age Action said.

With reporting by Tadgh McNally

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