Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (635)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

635. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Health the way in which farmers (details supplied) are being assessed for the fair deal scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12894/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

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.

A draft General Scheme of a Bill is currently with legal advisers for advice and legal quality control review. As the Deputy is aware, there is presently a focus on matters relating to Brexit, including planning and preparing in a legal and legislative context. Unfortunately, this is having some impact on progressing this particular matter at this time. However, subject to legal advice, I expect to bring the heads of bill to Government at the earliest opportunity. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect in 2019 subject to the legislative process.