Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Health
Nursing Homes Support Scheme Applications
542. To ask the Minister for Health if each applicant making an application under the fair deal nursing home support scheme has his or her relevant assets assessed at open market value, as specified in the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2711/20]
543. To ask the Minister for Health if the HSE has discretion in respect of the fair deal nursing home support scheme to employ other valuation processes that would result in the applicant having to pay a higher contribution for his or her nursing home care than is provided under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2712/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 542 and 543 together.
The Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS) is a system of financial support for those in need of long-term nursing home care. Participants contribute to the cost of their care according to their income and assets while the State pays the balance of the cost. The Scheme aims to ensure that long-term nursing home care is accessible and affordable for everyone and that people are cared for in the most appropriate settings.
There are three main steps to the application process:
- Step 1 is an application for a Care Needs Assessment. The Care Needs Assessment identifies whether or not the person needs long-term nursing home care. This is a key criteria and the HSE cannot make a determination on an application for State support under the Scheme unless a determination has been made that the person needs the relevant care services.
- Step 2 is an application for State Support. This is used to complete the Financial Assessment by the HSE which assesses the person’s contribution to care and his/her corresponding level of financial assistance. The Financial Assessment takes account of a person’s income and assets in order to determine the person’s contribution to their care.
- Step 3 is the decision to approve financial support for the applicant under the scheme.
Participants in the Scheme contribute up to 80% of their assessable income and a maximum of 7.5% per annum of the value of assets held. In the case of a couple, the applicant’s means are assessed as 50% of the couple’s combined income and assets. The first €36,000 of an individual’s assets, or €72,000 in the case of a couple, is not counted at all in the financial assessment. The capital value of an individual’s principal private residence is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care. This is known as the three year cap.
Where a participant has assets that are included in the financial assessment, such as a principle private residence, the HSE will seek to establish the estimated market value of this asset. This can be done through valuation provided or through authorising a suitable person to carry out a valuation. The HSE is not bound by any valuation accompanying an application for State support.
Applicants to the Scheme can choose any public, voluntary or approved private nursing home. However, in order for financial support to be provided, the nursing home must have an available bed and be able to cater for the applicant's particular need. The HSE's Nursing Homes Support Offices can advise an applicant on the options available to them.