As our relatives age, knowing what they’re entitled to can be a minefield. Is my ageing parent entitled to help with paying for residential care, or financial support to improve current living conditions? If I’m the primary carer, is their support out there for me too? This article sets out to inform you on what you may be entitled to and directing you to the information you need.
Fair Deal is a scheme initiated to provide financial support for those who are in long-term nursing care. Nursing Homes which have been approved by The HSE are part of the Fair Deal scheme and include public, private and voluntary nursing homes across the country.
The scheme works by you paying a part of your nursing home fees and Fair Deal paying the remaining balance.
Before being approved for Fair Deal, The HSE will carry out a needs assessment and financial assessment to ascertain if you are eligible for the scheme. Once approved, depending on availability you can then choose the nursing home you want and Fair Deal then pay a part of fees required.
Those availing of Fair Deal will pay 80% of their assessable income. This is calculated based on total income; money which is received on a regular basis, minus allowable deductions.
Added to this will be 7.5% of assets like land or property. The main property will only be included for 3 years while your older loved one is being cared for and is known as the ‘Three-Year Cap‘. After this cap, they will not pay anymore based on the value of their home. This cap applies whether they take out a Nursing Home loan or not (information about Nursing Home loans is described below).
However, upon sale of said asset after their first assessment while they are in care, the proceeds then become a cash asset. This Three-Year Cap will no longer apply and they will need to pay 7.5% on this cash asset.
The first €36,000 of savings are excluded from the assessment. If your relative wishes to defer their asset contributions, they can do so by applying for an ‘Optional Nursing Home Loan’ and the outstanding balance will be paid after death or sale of house/ property. You can apply for this loan through the HSE Optional Nursing Home Loan
You can apply for a financial review on the amount you pay 12 months after your last review, but The HSE is entitled to review whenever they wish.
Fair Deal contributes to the cost of long-term Nursing Home care, but DOES NOT COVER the following services: Respite Convalescence Day care Extra fees charged by Nursing Homes, such as therapies and hairdressing
If you’re still unsure as to what the scheme involves or you have further questions, you can contact your Local Nursing Home Support Office
The Housing Aid for Older People is designed for ageing people living in poor conditions. The scheme aims to improve living conditions. Essential repairs are made under the scheme in order to make the home habitable. Repairs granted can vary from local authorities and you should check with your own local authority to see what work is permitted. The type of work included is: Structural repairs or improvements Dry-lining Repair or replacement of windows and doors The provision of water, sanitary services and heating Cleaning and painting Radon remediation Re-wiring Any other repair or improvement work considered necessary
The Housing for Older People is primarily available to those 66 years of age and older, although the local authority may assist those under 66 if they are suffering genuine hardship. The grant is given to those based on financial need and can be given to those owning their own home or for a house being purchased from a local authority under the Tenant Purchase Scheme.
Priority will also be given to those with a medical need. If the reparations will facilitate discharge from hospital or permitting the applicant to continue being looked after in their own home, they will be prioritised.
The scheme is means tested. Your older relative’s total household income is assessed to ascertain whether or not they qualify, and the level of work which will be permitted. Household income is the property owner’s or tenant’s annual gross income of the previous tax year, alongside any other adults over 23 living in the house (or over 18 and not in full-time education). The following are not included in household income:
€5,000 for each member of the household aged up to 18 years €5,000 for each member of the household aged between 18 and 23 years and in full-time education or on a SOLAS apprenticeship €5,000 where the person to whom the grant application relates is being cared for by a relative on a full-time basis Child Benefit Family Income Supplement Domiciliary Care Allowance Respite Care Grant
Carer's Benefit and Carer's Allowance (if the carer's payment is made in respect of the person to whom the grant application relates)
Your loved one could receive a maximum of €8,000. This grant may cover 95% of the total approved amount. However, the amount approved depends on each local authority, so please always check beforehand. Also, be aware that grants will not be approved if the work started prior to finalization of the application.
The maximum grant is also only available to those who have a household income of less than €30,000. For those with €50,001- €60,000, a 30% grant can be approved.
For the current rates, taken from citizensinformation.ie, see below table:
|Maximum yearly household income||% of costs||Maximum grant|
|Up to €30,000||95%||€8,000|
|€30,000 - €35,000||85%||€6,800|
|€35,001 - €40,000||75%||€6,000|
|€40,001 - €50,000||50%||€4,000|
|€50,001 - €60,000||30%||€2,400|
|Over €60,000||No grant payable|
To apply for the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme, you can download an application form from local authorities website, or alternatively ask for one to be posted to you. If your older relative is unhappy with the initial decision, you can appeal in writing within 3 weeks.
For more information from your local authority, just find your county here
If you’re looking after your older relative and are on a low income, you could be entitled to a Carer’s Allowance. The allowance is for those looking after someone who is unable to care for themselves adequately and needs constant supervision and assistance throughout the day, and will need this level of care for at least 12 months.
The Carer’s Allowance is not available to everyone and in order to qualify, you are first means tested. You are assessed based on your income and that of your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant.
The following table, found on citizensinformation.ie, outlines the rates you could be entitled to. But, please note only has an increase for a qualified child, and has no qualified adult payment.
|Carer||Maximum weekly rate|
|Aged under 66, caring for 1 person||€214|
|Aged under 66, caring for 2 or more||€321|
|Aged 66 or over and caring for 1 person||€252|
|Aged 66+, caring for 2 people||€378|
|Increase for a Qualified Child||€31.80 (full-rate)|
If you wish to avail of the Carer’s Allowance, you must first meet a set of requirements. You must: Be 18 or over Be the full-time carer for your loved one, either living with them or dedicating full-time care and attention to them. Your relative must not be living in an institution. However, if they do need to be admitted to hospital or a nursing home on a short term basis you can continue to receive the Carer’s Allowance, as long as the duration does not exceed 13 weeks. You must be habitually resident in the State and not living in an institution, hospital or convalescent home. You must not be in employment, self-employment, training or education for more than 15 hours a week outside home and away from the person you are caring for. If such a situation does arise, you must make arrangements for them to be cared for adequately in your absence.
Once you fulfill these requirements, you can then fill in an application form here. Do be aware that the form is quite detailed and requires a lot of detailed information from you and the person you are caring for. If you need help with the form, you can contact your Citizens Information Centre. For more information, you can click here or contact the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection directly on:
Tel: (043) 334 0000 (or if calling from outside Ireland +353 43 334 0000)
Locall: 1890 92 77 70 (rates charged may vary)
These are just some of the financial supports available to you and your loved ones as they age. As always, bear in mind that rates and eligibility of such funding can differ from one personal situation to the next, and that some rates may vary depending on your local authority. Please use this information as a stepping stone to steer you in the right direction of getting the information and help you need for you and your ageing relative.