Tuesday, 9 April 2019
Department of Health
Nursing Homes Support Scheme Administration
455. To ask the Minister for Health when the planned three year cap on farm assets for the assessment of means under the fair deal scheme will come into force; the reason for the delays being experienced in the introduction of this new measure; his plans to apply the new criteria retrospectively with respect to current applicants of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16629/19]
The proposed policy change to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), to cap contributions based on farm assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset, has been approved by Government. My Department is working on the development of draft Heads of Bill while considering a number of complex ancillary policy and operational matters which may need to be addressed in the proposed legislation.
It is intended that this proposed policy change, the 3 year cap, will be extended to eligible existing participants in long term residential care so that they are not disadvantaged, but that there would be no retrospective recoupment of contributions for those who have paid contributions over and above the 3 year period.
The General Scheme of a Bill has been drafted and we are currently working closely with legal advisers on advice and legal quality control. The focus on matters relating to Brexit, including planning and preparing in a legal and legislative context, has unfortunately had an impact on progressing the Heads of Bill. However, subject to legal advice, I expect to bring the Heads of Bill to Government in May. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect in 2019 subject to the legislative process.