I came across an article of interest concerning the Fair Deal Scheme in the Sunday Independent recently. According to a former cabinet minister, he is warning that “whole streets” will become derelict if the Government does not reform how rental income on family homes is treated by the Fair Deal Scheme.
The former Cabinet Minister in question vote is needed to pass the Governments up and coming Budget, and wants to radically change the Nursing Home Support Scheme means-tested. Under the Fair Deal Scheme, 80% of any rental income made on a family home goes towards the cost of the individuals nursing home care.
The former minister is saying that the current legislation needs to change to encourage older people to rent out their homes. 7.5% of the market value of the house is used but if that home is rented out when the older person goes into a nursing home, then the gross income expenditure of any costs, such as maintenance or letting fees, is included in the means calculation. Figures provided show just 600 of the 14,000 homes owned by people currently in the Fair Deal Scheme are being rented.
Department of Health and Department of Housing officials are also currently reviewing how rental income is treated in the Fair Deal Scheme’s means test.
What else are the solutions? A lack of political will is required such as giving those availing of the Fair Deal Scheme an Income Tax break on their rental income or exempt of a certain level rental income from the Fair Deals Financial assessment provided the house is rented to those on the housing lists.
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Kelly Colfer Solicitors
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