The Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD, has today welcomed the signing into law of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Amendment) Bill 2021 by President Michael D. Higgins.

Minister Butler brought the Bill through the Houses of the Oireachtas and it successfully passed all stages of the Dáil and the Seanad last week with cross party support.

Minister Bulter stated that “the new Act will amend the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, commonly known as Fair Deal, to enhance protections for family farms and businesses.”

This change to the Scheme will mean that after a period of 3 years, the value of family-owned farms and businesses will no longer be taken into account when calculating the cost of a person’s nursing home care. This will happen where a family successor commits to working the farm or business.

Minister Butler continued that “this change is essential to the viability and sustainability of family farms and businesses. Ultimately, it seeks to alleviate any unnecessary financial pressures placed on these families by updating the current law. It will ensure that Fair Deal is fair for all, enhancing accessibility and affordability of the Scheme for more farm and business owning families.”

The new Act will also extend the existing 3 year cap on contributions to the cost of care to the proceeds of sale of a person’s principal residence. It is intended that this change will remove any disincentive for people who want to sell their vacant home while in Fair Deal.

Minister Butler concluded that “updating the Scheme, as quickly as possible, has been an absolute priority for me since I was appointed last July. Today marks a significant milestone with the signing into law of this hugely important piece of legislation. The changes will come into effect 90 days from today’s enactment and I am fully committed to ensuring its full and effective implementation.”