Thursday, 13 June 2019

Questions (164)

Barry Cowen


164. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Health the proposed revisions of the fair deal scheme; the estimated first and full year cost of those revisions; when he expects the relevant legislation to be published; when he expects the legislation to have completed all Stages in the Houses of the Oireachtas; the estimated cost of making these revisions retrospective; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24796/19]

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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 and business assets at 3 years where a family successor commits to working the productive asset, has been approved by Government. My Department developed 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 cost of applying the change to existing residents who will qualify from the coming into effect of the provisions has been factored into the overall cost of this proposed legislative change.

The Heads of Bill has been circulated to Government this week. The changes to the Scheme will come into effect as soon as the legislative process is successfully complete. I intend to progress as quickly as possible, however, the timeline for completion of the legislation will also depend on how it passes through the Houses.

The full year cost of this change to the Scheme is estimated at €9.7m per annum, this however will likely increase after 3 years of the changes being in operation. It is estimated that the cost will increase to €11.6m per annum after this point.