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What is the Fair Deal scheme and how does it work?

While there are 677,000 citizens over the age of 66 currently in Ireland, by 2050 there will be 1.8million – and it costs. The Fair Deal scheme, brought into law on 1st July 2009 and introduced on 27th October that year under the Fair Deal Act or Nursing Home Support Act, provides financial support to people who need long-term nursing home care.
• Under this scheme, you make a contribution towards the cost of your care and the HSE pays the balance. The scheme covers approved private nursing homes, voluntary nursing homes and public nursing homes. You can get a list of approved nursing homes from the HSE.
• Anyone who is resident in Ireland and needs long-term nursing home care can apply for the scheme.
When you apply, your care needs are assessed to confirm that long-term nursing home care is the most appropriate option for you. Your financial situation is also assessed to see how much you will have to contribute towards your nursing home fees. If your contribution is less than the amount of the fees, the HSE will pay the rest.
Assets, such as savings and property, are taken into account when assessing your financial situation. You can apply for the Nursing Home Loan if you want to defer the part of your contribution that is based on your home or other property.
• You can apply for financial support to help pay for the cost of care in a nursing home through the Fair Deal scheme.
• You need to be approved for Fair Deal before you can receive funding for a nursing home.
• You can choose to pay privately for care while you wait for funding. Fair Deal funding can’t be backdated and will only be paid from the date of approval.

Researching different
nursing homes
It’s important to look at different nursing homes before choosing one. You should make an appointment to visit the nursing home before making a decision, although obviously not at this present time!
Contact your preferred nursing home. You will need to see if they have a place available and can meet your care needs. They may have a waiting list.
If the nursing home you want does not have space, you can go to a different one temporarily. You can then apply for a transfer when space becomes available in your preferred nursing home. If you are assisting someone to apply for nursing home care, involve them as much as you can in the decision. Consider their preferences and personal values before choosing a nursing home.

Cost of nursing home care
The Fair Deal financial assessment will tell you how much you will pay towards the total cost of nursing home care. HSE will pay the balance.
Your payment will be the same for voluntary, private or a public nursing home.
The National Treatment Fund has agreed on maximum prices with all registered nursing home. This is not the amount you will pay for your nursing home care. Your contribution to the cost of your care will be worked out after a financial assessment. The HSE then pays the balance between what you pay for your care and what the nursing home charges for providing that care.

What does the Fair Deal scheme cover?
The scheme covers long-term nursing home care only.
Services covered include: bed and board; nursing and personal care appropriate to the level of care needs of the person; laundry service; and basic aids and appliances necessary to assist a person with the activities of daily living.
Other goods and services may be available under schemes such as the Medical Card or Drugs Payment Scheme.
There is a set level of funding for the scheme each year, so there may be situations where a person’s name must go onto a waiting list until funding becomes available. If this is the case the HSE will let you know when it writes to advise you whether you are eligible for State support.

Fair Deal does not cover:
• short-term care such as respite, convalescent or day-care
• extra fees charged by the nursing home for services like hairdressing, therapies or activities
Ask your nursing home what extra fees will need to be paid. An agreement of these extra costs must be in place by the time you enter the nursing home (admission date).

Moving from hospital care to long-term care
If you are in hospital, but no longer need acute care, then you can be charged for long-term care in that hospital. If, for example, you are waiting to move to long-term care, then you should apply for Fair Deal as soon as you can.

What is the application process?
There are 3 steps in the application process, which are detailed below:
Step 1  is an application for a Care Needs Assessment. This is to assess whether or not you need long-term nursing home care, that is, whether you can be supported to continue living at home or whether long-term nursing home care is more appropriate.
Step 2 is the Financial Assessment. The Financial Assessment looks at your income and assets to work out what your contribution to the cost of your care will be. The HSE will then pay the balance of your cost of care. This payment by the HSE is called State support.
All applicants must complete Steps 1 and 2.
Step 3 is an optional application for the Nursing Home Loan. You can apply for this if you want to defer paying the part of your contribution that is based on your home or other property.

Paying your contribution
If you select a public or voluntary nursing home, you will pay your contribution to the HSE or voluntary nursing home as appropriate each week and the State will pay the balance on your behalf.
Like anything else ‘the devil is in the detail’, so take the time to understand this scheme well before you progress.
Excellent Source of information in layman’s language is www.citizensinformation.ie

Carey Corbett Financial Services are available by phone, email and meetings by appointment. Carey Corbett Financial Services are experts on personal and commercial insurance, pensions, investments, mortgages, protection and financial planning. Call Tommy or Donal @ 065-689 3540 or email info@careycorbett.com

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