In March 2019, the Minister for Health, with the consent of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, made the Health (Residential Support Services Maintenance and Accommodation Contributions) (Amendment) Regulations 2019.
The 2019 Regulations adjusted the amount of the weekly maintenance and accommodation contribution required to be made, under the Health (Residential Support Services Maintenance and Accommodation Contributions) Regulations 2016, by all recipients of “residential support services” (as defined in section 67A(1) of the Health Act 1970). These included a number of long-stay nursing home residents who have been in receipt of those nursing home services since prior to the commencement of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme ("Fair Deal") in October 2009.
The main effect of the 2019 amendments was to increase the contribution rates required to be paid by recipients of residential support services, based on each individual’s weekly income, by €2 per week opposite weekly income band increases of €5 per week. The net effect of the Regulations, intended to ensure equitable treatment of recipients, was that recipients of residential support services, particularly lower income recipients, whether or not in receipt of an income increase, retained an extra €3 per week for personal use from their social welfare or other income, with effect from 29 March 2019.
On foot of Budget 2019, across-the-board social welfare payment rate increases of €5 per week came into operation between 20 March 2019 and 29 March 2019 inclusive. The rate increases provided for in the 2019 Regulations came into operation on 29 March 2019.