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.