24th April 2012
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association says the review of the Fair Deal Nursing Care Scheme – announced by Minister of State for Older People, Kathleen Lynch – must recommend a move away from the current system, which depends on the value of property to recoup its costs.
Under the Scheme, the cost of Nursing home care for those who cannot afford to pay will be recouped from their assets including their house, after their death, to a maximum amount of 5% of their assets, per year of Nursing Home Care. In the case of a householder this reimbursement has been capped at 15%.
However this cap only extends to farms and farmland in very limited circumstances, meaning that if a farmer is in a nursing home for 10 years, the Government potentially could take 50% of the value of the land. This would make it impossible for a young farmer to inherit the land as they would be hit with enormous debt which would become due on the death of the parent who was in the Nursing Home.
General Secretary of the ICSA, Eddie Punch, says: “We have always argued that the Scheme as it currently stands is deeply unfair on family businesses and family farms. The Minister is right to question the logic behind a property-based system for nursing home care.”
“The potential bill for a farm family is frightening, and in some cases will put the successor out of business. This could easily arise where the elderly parent ends up requiring perhaps 10 years of care following a stroke or the onset of dementia, for example.”
“We welcome the fact that the Minister shares our view that property shouldn’t be taken into account under this Scheme, and that she intends to look at alternative housing options for elderly people in need of care,” Mr. Punch concluded.