Cautious welcome extended to “Fair Deal”

There are calls for clarity on the details of changes to the Fair Deal scheme.


The purpose of the scheme is to help with the cost of care for those entering nursing homes or requiring care.


New reforms of the scheme are meant to ease the financial burden for farmers and those with businesses, but questions are now arising about how exactly these reforms will work in practice.


At present, people in the Fair Deal Scheme have to contribute up to 80% of their income and up to 7.5% of the value of any assets.


The 7.5% applies only to a person’s home for the first three years of their care.


Until now, this three-year cap did not apply to farms or businesses.


However, the proposed extension of this cap to farms and businesses will apply only where a family successor continues to farm the land or operate the business for a period of six years.


Independent Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice is asking questions about certain details of the scheme.


In particular, he is concerned about conditions referring to the actual involvement of the person requiring care, their spouse or successor in the running of the farm or the business for at least three of the five previous years.


There are also various conditions relating to the person who takes over the farm or business, and the amount of time that successor will spend on the farm.


The Roscommon East Galway TD says there are many questions that need to be answered. And until such details is provided, he’s urging caution.