Independent TD Seán Canney has said he has received assurances from the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar that the legislation to protect family farms and family businesses will be in place this summer.

“The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill (also known as Fair Deal scheme) has the aim of providing additional safeguards for future generations of family farmers and business owners,” the deputy said.

“The purpose of the amendment will be to cap contributions based on farm and business assets at three years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset.”

Amendment to legislation

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar informed the Galway East TD that the legislation would be brought before the Oireachtas very soon with a view to it being enacted by summer.

“The government has given me a commitment to bringing legislation to amend the [legislation] to the Oireachtas, so that certainty can be provided to farmers and business owners in need of nursing home care and their families,” deputy Canney said.

This bill was first introduced in 2019 but fell when the General Election was called and I have been pushing for the bill to be re-introduced.

“This week the Tánaiste committed to have the legislation in place by summer. It is important to eliminate the stress on families when their loved ones have to go into long-term care and this bill will do that,” added the deputy.

What is Fair Deal?

Under the scheme, applicants can apply for financial support to help pay for the cost of care in a nursing home.

Applicants can choose to pay privately for care while waiting for funding, however Fair Deal funding can’t be backdated and will only be paid from the date of approval.

A financial assessment will calculate how much someone will pay towards the cost of nursing home care. This amount depends on income and assets, such as the family home or land.

The first €36,000 (€72,000 if applicant is part of a couple) is excluded from the assessment. This is excluded firstly from cash assets and then any remainder from non-cash assets.

The home will only be included in the financial assessment for a period of three years, but up to now, farms have not been included in the three-year cap.