Around 18,000 nursing home residents will be paying more for their care after the government introduces changes to their contributions this year.
The residents have already signed up to the Fair Deal scheme which allows the State to assess their assets and income to determine what portion of their costs they should pay.
However, the legislation will be amended this year to increase the level of asset contribution from 5pc to 7.5pc.
A spokesman for the Department of Health confirmed that the changes will not be confined to just new applicants but will also apply to existing residents availing of the Fair Deal scheme.
"The increased asset contribution will apply to both new and existing nursing home residents," he told Health and Living.
For existing residents the contribution from the value of their family home will be capped at three years at 7.5pc per year.
"The higher percentage will only apply for the time remaining of the three year cap.
"In the case of all other assets, it will apply for as long as the person remains in receipt of financial support under the scheme."
The increase of the amount the State is taking is seen to be necessary in order to ensure the sustainability of the scheme.
The original 5pc contribution from the value of the family home, for instance, has reduced as house prices have gone down.
The total gross budget for long-term residential care was €994.7m in 2012 and the scheme ran into financial trouble nearly two years ago.
It is expected that this year around 22,761 people will be in receipt of financial support for their nursing home care with the State paying in full or in part.
The increased contribution – which can only be imposed when the original Fair Deal legislation is amended – is expected to generate significant added income, although no precise figure is available.
A recently published review of the scheme by the Department of Health, which invited public views and submissions, showed that the assessments varied.
"Views about the scheme were mixed. Some considered the scheme to be very fair, resulting in great assistance and professional care being provided for many.
"It was noted that the scheme ensures equal access to long-term care for all and provides older people a real choice regarding the nursing home that they wish to reside in," said the review.
This review felt that the scheme had successfully addressed the inequitable system which had existed prior to its introduction and that it has been well received by older people and their families, giving older people a greater degree of financial certainty.
"However, one submission stated that the scheme penalises older people who worked hard in difficult times only to be faced with an unfair system when they require long-term nursing home care."
Other submissions said that linking costs to the housing market is fundamentally flawed and too open to market fluctuation.
It was noted that gross income is considered for means-testing purposes and that, since 2009, many charges, taxes, and levies have been introduced, the effect of which has been to reduce the net available income by as much as 25pc.
A number of people held the view that taking 80pc into account does not leave the resident with sufficient income afterwards.
"In that context, the issue of allowable deductions was raised, with a number of submissions suggesting that the current list of deductions is too limited.
"There was a concern that the income retained by nursing home residents does not enable them to participate in day-time activities offered in the community," said the review.
This review also noted that the farming community considers the treatment of farms to be unfair, and asked that they be looked at again.