Farm families and other sole traders could save thousands of euro in nursing home fees under a new proposal that would protect their assets. That’s according to Pat Deering, Fine Gael TD for Carlow and Chair of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Deputy Deering said: “My colleague, Minister of State, Jim Daly, met with the Irish Farmers’ Association on Wednesday evening following previous meetings and a follow up commitment.
“The Minister proposed to cap the 7.5% contribution for nursing home care on farm and business assets at 3 years, as is the case for family homes. There is currently no such cap on farms and businesses and the 7.5% is charged every year for as long as care is provided.
“This situation was clearly disadvantageous to farmers and Fine Gael committed to address it in the Programme for Government. This proposal is of course subject to Government approval but it’s positive to hear that the HSE have made provision for estimated costs in its budget 2018 submission.
“The removal of uncapped liability on farm assets will help alleviate the worries of farm families. A cap will assist farmers to plan for the future with the full knowledge of the potential liability of their farm as an asset.
“This is excellent news for farmers. The proposed changes to the fair deal scheme will dramatically reduce the financial burden facing elderly people and their loved ones.
“The cap is subject to a transfer between family members who are actively participating and working in the business, as is currently the case for the ‘sudden illness clause’.”
The Minister is awaiting legal opinion from the Attorney General on the proposed changes before he can bring them before Cabinet for approval. The changes will require an amendment to the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act 2008.