Special deal to save farmers thousands on nursing homes
Fair Deal means-test to exclude farm land assets
Farmers are in line to benefit from significantly reduced nursing home fees in next month's Budget, the Irish Independent has learned.
Sweeping changes to the State's nursing home support scheme, known as 'Fair Deal', will see the value of farm assets being excluded from being mean-tested for the first time.
Ministers say there is an acceptance that farmers are a "special case". The Government has been warned many farmers are not availing of the voluntary scheme because of the cost. Some ministers are pushing for the full 100pc value of the farm assets to be made exempt.
But sources in the Department of Health say the exemption could be closer to 50pc.
In either case, farm families would save thousands of euro per year on their nursing home costs. A family's payment is calculated based on 80pc of their annual income, as well as a 7.5pc annual charge on their overall assets. Assets transferred within the previous five years are also means-tested. The Budget will also see a package of measures aimed winning back the so-called 'grey vote'.