Failure to backdate Fair Deal could be open to court challenge – Naughten

Independent TD Denis Naughten has raised the prospect of a court challenge to the reform of the Fair Deal Nursing Home Support Scheme due to the failure to recognise farm transfers in advance of an older person entering long-term care.

“Under the new law, older people who transferred the family farm and entitlements to a successor prior to entering a nursing home will have to do so again under the changes brought about by the reform of the Nursing Home Support Scheme currently going through the Dáil. This is in order to avail of the three-year means assessment cap for the farm,” he said.

Speaking during the discussion on the matter at Dáil Committee recently, Deputy Naughten said: “We are now placing a legal obligation on an older person to transfer an asset that was not in their name when they went into the nursing home, in order to avail of the three years on the means assessment”.

To avoid such a legal challenge Denis Naughten has proposed that the new cap on working asset, a business or farm, be backdated to the date of the Government decision to reform the law in this area, 24th July 2018.

“From that date, the Government decision has been taken not to charge older people for working assets beyond the three year period, and therefore no charges should apply to farm or business assets for those who had already paid the three years contribution up to that date or who reached that three year anniversary from July 2018 until the law is enacted,” he said.

“It is only fair that the new charging regime applies from the date of the Government decision and not the enactment of the Bill itself, as well as protecting the State against the possibility that this legislation may be struck down because of its unfair treatment of those who have already transferred their holdings to a successor”.