Does your Family Farm or Business have a Spouse or Parent in the Fair Deal since before Oct 2021?

nursing home support scheme

As you are aware if you run a family farm or business and have a spouse or parent who may own or who may have transferred the farm or business to you less than five years before they needed to go into a Nursing Home, the fair deal scheme has been of little or no benefit to you as the farm or business are assessable resulting in them possibly receiving little or no subsidy and having to pay for the majority if not all of the nursing home cost.

If you are in the Fair Deal, you possibly have had to avail of the Nursing Home loan to help pay for the care which is eroding the equity in the farm or business. This cost may eventually make the business or farm unviable once the loan needs to be repaid.

In October 2021 the HSE changed the rules which will exempt farming and business assets from the cost of care assessment once the applicant is in the Nursing Home for 3 years as long as certain conditions are met. For applicants who have been in care since before October 2021 they can apply for this exemption as long as they apply for a qualifying Successor before the 20th of April 2022. Failure to do this will result in the applicant having to continue to pay a contribution on their farm or business assets for the duration of the person in care life.

If your Partner or Spouse have been in a Nursing Home coming up to three years and you have been paying for their care privately, now could be the right time for you to apply for the Fair Deal to help fund their care.

If you need advice on this important positive change to the Fair Deal rules or help with this application or whether your circumstances will qualify, contact www.fairdealadvice.ie today by phone 086 6015042 or by email advice@fairdealadvice.ie.

Beware Of The Hospital Social Worker With A Fair Deal Application Form

fair deal

In an ideal world long term care is planned and the applicant’s and their family will have explored the Fair Deal scheme and other funding options and taken professional advice as part of this process to decide the best funding options should care be required.

Unfortunately, many persons requiring long term care don’t have this opportunity to pre plan and to get advice as they are often struck down unexpectedly by a health event or injury and are hospitalized.  Due to their increased care needs, long term care may be the only option. Once the hospital has done everything, they can do to stabilize the persons condition the hospital will want that patient moved out of the hospital asap to free up beds for their new incoming patients.

Hospitals employ discharge coordinators/social workers to engage with families to ensure that the patient is moved from the hospital without delay. Families and patients who are often distressed as a result of their or their relative’s prognosis are contacted by the social worker to arrange the patients transfer to long term care. They will often try and get the patient or their family to fill out the application for the fair deal and will pressurize them to do so as they wish to free up the bed without delay.

The social worker is not a financially qualified person and have little or no knowledge of the finances or transactions such as transfers of assets that the applicant may have made within the last five years. Their objective is simply to get the form filled in and submitted regardless of the implications of doing so, on the Patient or their family. Once the form is submitted, they can allocate transitional care funding and move the patient to a nursing home. Once out of the hospital the patient is no longer the hospitals or the social workers problem.

The problems then start to surface for the patient or their family who in many cases don’t even get to retain a copy of the application. Such applications are often incorrectly filled in and have inadequate back up information. The patient or their family will in most cases receive letters from the HSE looking for additional information and in the meantime the application processing is stalled while the HSE awaits detail. Processing times are often doubled due to the poor quality of the submission. Items that’s should have been declared are often missed out and the implications of this will normally arise when the person is dead and their probate is being processed. The HSE discovers assets not declared on the application from the probated assets and seek back payments and refunds of subsidies which will delay the administration and distribution of the estate. Items are often overstated in the application resulting in the patient or their families paying an incorrect higher contribution without realizing it.

We have come across cases which due to the transfer of assets such as farms, house etc. the fair deal application should not have been submitted until the 5-year exemption has passed but has been submitted without the consequences been taken into account. This has resulted in such assets been chargeable for the duration of the applicant’s life which had the application been delayed until the 5 years had been reached these assets would have been exempt.

Should you find yourself in the position that you or your relative needs long term care and the social worker is trying to get you to complete a fair Deal application form we would strongly advise you to not to be rushed, get advice from www.fairdealadvice.ie and ensure that the application is submitted correctly.  Please contact us on 086 6015042 or email advice@fairdealadvice.ie.

More Good News For Existing And New Entrants To The Fair Deal

The recent amendments to legislation for the Nursing Home Support Scheme/ Fair Deal finally came into effect on the 20th of October 2021 after been signed into law in late July. The HSE have now issued their interpretation and guidelines regarding the application of these rules.

While the benefits to Farming and Business families have been much publicised in newspapers and articles with regards to the exemption of farming and business assets after three years for qualifying persons, the good news with regards to what can be done with regards to the family home will benefit many more existing and new potential applicants of the Fair Deal/Nursing Home Support Scheme.

When the amended legislation was first signed into law it stated that after three years in a Nursing Home a property can now be sold and no contribution from the proceeds would be sought thereafter.  (Previously selling the property this exemption was lost if the property was sold and the applicant had to pay a cash asset contribution on the proceeds.) This was a major disincentive for residents to sell their homes during their lifetime and has resulted in many unoccupied homes throughout the country owned by nursing home residents.

In the newly issued guidelines, the HSE will now allow a resident to sell their home once their application is approved and they are in care. The net proceeds will be charged as a cash asset until the client is resident in the nursing home for three years after which the net proceeds will be no longer chargeable.

This amendment will free many families up from having to worry about empty houses and how to deal with them and should ultimately speed up the administration of estates once the resident has passed. It should also go a long way to freeing up much needed housing currently lying empty.

While this is good news for many, I strongly recommend that advice is sought before deciding to sell the home as in some cases the properties may not be able to be sold due to lack of capacity of the owners, there may be implications on the persons continued participation/ eligibility for the fair deal, and it will not benefit all residents in particular those based in Dublin with higher value homes.

If you need advice on these changes, please contact us at Fair Deal Advice by phone 086 601,5042 or email advice@fairdealadvice.ie  or visit our website www.fairdealadvice.ie

HSE Issues amended Nursing Home Support Scheme Application form to take account of changes for Farming and Business Owners.

HSE Issues amended Nursing Home Support Scheme Application form

With the amendments to the Nursing Home Support Scheme finally coming into effect from the 20th of October 2021 the HSE have now issued an amended application form with an additional section for Farmers and Business Owners looking to avail of the three- year cap. Please find below the link to the new application form.

Aplication Form: https://www2.hse.ie/file-library/fair-deal/nursing-home-support-scheme-application-form.pdf

The additional sections of the application form are found on pages 11 to 14 and contain some explanations of the changes as well as the additional information now required. Interestingly to safeguard the HSE from possible abuse/fraud by applicant and to ensure compliance to the rules under which the amendment works, a charge is created over the business or farm to ensure that the 6-year continuity rule is followed which basically means that the farm or business must be operated for a period of 6 years by the applicant’s family or nominated successor. At the end of the six-year period the charge will be removed once it has been proven to the HSE that the farm or business has continued to be farmed or operated by the family or nominated successor.

These amendments can be confusing and difficult to follow so if you require clarity and advice on these changes please contact Fair Deal Advice by phone 086 601 5042 or email advice@fairdealadvice.ie and we will be able to advise you, if you will qualify for these amendments and explain how they will work for you.

Let Us All Help Our Friends, Relatives And Neighbours Get Back To Normality

fair deal

As Covid Restrictions ease and we return to a new type of normality I would ask everyone to make a special effort in looking out for older relatives, neighbours, and friends. We have had a high level of calls over the past weeks and months from persons as young as 68 enquiring about long term care facilities. When we discuss their care needs most if not all have nothing physically wrong with them, are living independently, are driving their cars but are suffering from anxiety, depression, loneliness, and isolation and have lost their self confidence to continue living on their own and go about their daily routines.

While we normally associate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with members of the Armed Forces, it is my belief that many people in our society in particular older person are suffering from PTSD because of the prolonged isolation and cocooning that they have endured over the past 18 months.

Nursing Homes are not the solution for many of the persons who call us with the above issues and indeed most would not qualify for the Fair Deal as they would not pass the Care needs Assessment.

What many of these people need is company and help from friend’s relatives and neighbours to reconnect with the world around them.

I would ask anyone who may read this article to reach out to your relatives, friends and neighbours and offer them a helping hand so that they can reintegrate into the new type of normality that we now live in. Thankfully many activities such as Bridge, Chess and Active Retirement Clubs are reopening which will help but often it may be asking someone for a Coffee, drink or a Meal that will make the big difference.

Let’s not assume that our relative’s friends and neighbour are okay. Be proactive and help them to continue to enjoy their lives with a little help from their friends. While many have booked counselling sessions most just need to talk to a friend, relative or neighbour to get back on track.

At Fairdealadvice.ie we encourage independent living and when the time come’s and care is required, we are here to help plan long term care and advise on financing long term care through the Fair Deal Scheme and other methods.

If you need our services, please email us at advice@fairdealadvice.ie or call 086 601 5042 or visit our website for further information at www.fairdealadvice.ie.

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The Fair Deal Scheme Ireland Positive Change’s for Farming & Business Families

fair deal

The long wait is finally over for farming and business families seeking the Fair Deal Scheme in Ireland now that the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2021 is finally passed by Mary Butler TD, The Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People. Here’s all you need to know.

What Is the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2021 And What Does It Mean for Farming and Business Families’?

The effect of this bill will now allow qualifying Farming Families and Business Families to avail of long – term affordable care. The Fair Deal Scheme requires applicants to contribute a portion of their income and assets to fund their Nursing Home Care costs, which added with Government support allows the applicant to enjoy quality nursing home care. 80% of income & 7.5% of assets including property investments and savings are payable on a weekly basis. Previously there was no cap on the Farmland or Business and only the home was exempt after three years.

The Amendment to the legislation will see qualifying families now having to pay the cost of care contribution against their farmland and business for the first 3 years while their loved ones stay under Nursing Home Care. Thereafter the income and cash and investment contributions will continue. This will bring a great deal of financial relief for farming families. Principal Residences can now be sold after three years, and the proceeds will no longer be chargeable. The change in legislation will allow farm and business to stay viable into the future. It will also free up housing stock which will help the address the current shortage of property.

The changes in legislation will not come into effect until October when the HSE will issue an amended Nursing Homes Support Scheme Guide.

Eligibility Criteria for qualifying for the Farm and Business Reliefs under the Nursing Home Support Scheme

The new legislation will not be available for everyone, and certain qualifying conditions must be met. The family must have been involved in the day to day running of the Farm for instance in 3 of the previous five years before the application is made and the applicant is expected to nominate a Successor who must run the farm for 6 years thereafter.

While the bill is passed, the new adjustments will not come into effect until October 2021.

For further information or advice contact Tom Murray at advice@fairdealadvice.ie or phone 086 601 5042 or visit our website www.fairdealadvice.ie.

Welcome changes to the Fair Deal finally passed by Dail & Seanad

fair deal changes

At long last the changes to the Fair Deal Scheme that will cap qualifying Farming and Business applicant’s contribution on their land and business values to 3 years were finally passed by the Dail and Seanad and signed into Law by President Michael D Higgins last week.

These long-awaited amendment to the Nursing Home Support Scheme Act were delayed for several years by Brexit, Covid and the change in Government.

The changes will bring financial relief to Farming and Business Owners who previously had to continue to pay an asset contribution on their Farms and Business after three years which jeopardised their financial viability and, in some cases, prevented people of availing of long-term care as they could not afford the fees.

The changes will not however apply to all Farmer’s or Business Owners as one must qualify and meet certain criteria to do so. The amendments will not come into effect for 90 days and in the meantime, we await publication of guidelines by the HSE on how the amendments will work and how they can be applied for.

In a further positive development, a further amendment has been passed into law that will allow applicants to sell their home after 3 years in a Nursing Home and the proceeds will no longer be assessable. Previously if a property was sold after 3 years the exemption of the property from the asset assessment was lost. This change is designed to free up housing stock to deal with the housing crisis as it is estimated that there are circa 14,000 empty houses throughout the country owned by Nursing Home residents.

If you wish to find out more information on the above changes and the Fair Deal and how they may impact you now or in the future, please call on 086 601 5042 or email advice@fairdealadvice.ie or visit www.fairdealadvice.ie.

Are you or your Relative overpaying for your Nursing Home care?

fair deal

Due to lack of advice when entering the Fair Deal/Nursing Home Support Scheme I estimate that over 90% of all applicants end up overpaying for their long- term care under the Fair Deal Scheme.

These overpayments usually occur in three areas:

  • • Not completing the application form correctly and not claiming for deductions that the applicant is entitled to and assuming the HSE assessment is correct.
  • • Having submitted the application and gaining approval and funding forgetting about it and not seeking an annual review for reductions in cash assets from funding the contribution to care and other costs that the applicant or their spouse will have incurred.
  • • Not availing of taxation savings on the Care fees incurred on an annual basis.

When you hear people say that the Fair Deal took all my Parents/ Relatives money, failure to do the above certainly will not have helped the situation. The Fair Deal is fair. It is not designed to take all the Applicants funds and Assets but the HSE and the Fair Deal Scheme are not telepathic and do not have visibility of your assets reducing. Remember if you do not ask you do not get.

Do not underestimate the complexity of the Fair Deal. When you take out a pension or a mortgage you would normally get advice before taking on the commitment. Nursing Home care regardless of whether you are in or not in the Fair Deal is expensive and is a financial commitment often exceeding that of a pension or mortgage payment each month. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you contact www.fairdealadvice.ie before entering the scheme or if you are planning long term care for yourself or a relative. The advice will save you money from day 1 as you will know how to manage the scheme with our expert advice for the duration of the Applicant’s time in the scheme and long- term care.

If you or your relative are already in the Fair Deal and not doing the above, contact Tom Murray @ advice@fairdealadvice.ie or phone 096 601 5042 or visit www.fairdealadvice.ie today and let us help you save money on yours or your Relatives long term care.

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Fair Deal Ireland Nursing Homes Support Scheme Guide – When Do You Need A Care Representative and How to Appoint One

fair deal

I know I keep saying this too often that as you age, you should consider taking out an Enduring Power of Attorney. This is vital for you as your nominated Attorneys will be able to make financial decisions on your behalf and access your funds and assets if you are ever in a situation wherein you are physically or mentally incapable of doing it on your own. One such decision and benefit of an EPA is to arrange for long term Nursing Home Care for yourself and to be able to fund it without even consenting to it. If you want to know more about this, you can read my other blog about the Importance of Having a Power of Attorney In Place.

The most significant causes of lost capacity are people suffering from Alzheimer’s, Stroke, Acquired Brain injury or Dementia, and these people can particularly benefit and need Nursing Home care due to their complex care needs. And whenever there is the question of Nursing Home Care in Ireland, there comes the topic of the Fair Deal – Nursing Home Support Scheme. By having an Enduring Power of Attorney in place your Attorney can make this decision for you and ensure you receive the best of care while being able to utilise your finances to pay for it. Many couples have separate bank accounts and do not realise if one of them loses capacity that they cannot access their Partner’s funds if they do not have an EPA in place which can cause significant financial difficulty. It is why an EPA should be one of the most important items to sort out in your retirement planning. I always recommend that at least one of your Attorneys should be from a younger generation to you.

If you do not have a Power of Attorney in place and lose capacity, then a Care Representative Order can be applied for when the Nursing Home Loan is needed to help fund Nursing Home care costs.

What Is Fair Deal Ireland – Nursing Home Loan

As per the financial assessment of the Fair Deal Scheme, the applicant will have to pay 80% of their monthly income and 7.5% of their assets as their contribution towards the care costs of the Nursing Home under the Fair Deal. These contributions are halved where the applicant is part of a couple.

While the income contribution is funded from pensions etc. the asset contribution can be more difficult to pay where property such the home farmland & other non-cash assets are involved as the assessed contribution would normally have to be paid out of funds held in bank accounts which may not be sufficient long term to fund the required contribution to care. In such circumstance the Applicant may apply for the Nursing Home Loan or Ancillary State Support which is whereby the HSE will give a loan charged on the property assets to fund the property asset contribution which is not repayable until 12 months after the death of the Applicant. If the asset is a principal residence, then the applicant will qualify for the 3-year cap, wherein they would have to pay the yearly 7.5% on the property until the Applicant is resident in the Nursing Home for 3 years only. New legislation is due in 2021 which will extend the cap to farmland and businesses if certain criteria is met.

This loan facility is a great option for those who are cash poor but asset rich. To avail of the loan the Applicant must have capacity. If capacity has been lost and an EPA is in place and is enacted, the nominated Attorney can apply as Representative of the Applicant. If no EPA is in place a Care Representative Order will need to be applied for which once issued will enable the appointed representative to take out the Loan on the Applicants behalf.

Who Can Be A Care Representative to Apply for the Nursing Home loan?

 

Normally a relative or friend would apply to be the Care Representative for someone who has lost capacity and needs the Nursing Home loan to help fund their cost of care. Unlike an EPA the Care Representative Order will only allow the Representative to sign the application for the Nursing Home loan and to make decisions on the Applicant’s care.

The Process of Appointing A Care Representative

 

In order to become a Care Representative for a Fair Deal applicant who is physically or mentally disabled, you would have to apply to the Circuit Court, with a Notice of Motion and Grounding Affidavit. While a Solicitor is not required, I would recommend appointing one for the process unless you feel you have the skills yourself.

In addition to the application, you would have to present two medical reports obtained from two separate doctors conducting a medical checkup on the recipient of care to confirm loss of capacity.

Finally, if as a non-family member, who is neither a next of kin, the applying care representative would have to obtain an Order of Entitlement from the existing next to kin of the care recipient, if there are any.

The Care Representative Order process normally takes 6-8 weeks, but applications have taken longer recently due to Covid 19 impact on the Circuit Court.

3 Year Exemption For Farmland And Businesses To Be Introduced Shortly

Farmers and Business Owners

Good news for Farmers and Business Owners. The legislation introducing the exemption of Farmland and Businesses after 3 years from the Fair Deal  asset assessment is due back in the Dail in the next two weeks after considerable delays due to Brexit change in Government and Covid 19. Hopefully not long after that it will come into force and Farming and Business Families will at last be able to access affordable long-term care under the Fair Deal.

Fair Deal Advice Founder Tom Murray Was Recently Featured on Liveline – Talking About Life Loans And Its Impact on the Fair Deal

rte radio life loan

Great to be asked to be part of the Joe Duffy show today contributing on the subject of Life Loan. It is very distressing seen how these impact older people their fair deal applications and ultimately their estates which are typically decimated by the life loans and the compound interest they charge. Please avoid these financial products at all costs. Unfortunately they are being sold again.