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Saving money on long-term care

Gerard Scully | Senior Information Officer | Age Action
Written by: Gerry Scully
Senior Information Officer
16/02/2018

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In Dublin the average cost of nursing home care is roughly €76,000 while in Cork it is €67,000 so you really do need to find ways of saving money, writes Gerry Scully.

Information team on long-term care

Question

Dear Age Action,

My family have been told our mother can no longer look after herself. We’re looking at the cost of long-term care and wondered if there was any way to reduce the bills?

Lucy from Ballyfermot

Answer

For many people the Nursing Home Support Scheme, known as Fair Deal, may be the best option while others could be cared for while at home.

There are tax credits and reliefs available to people who are paying for care, whether for themselves or other people.

Tax relief can be claimed at the end of the tax year on any nursing home fees you pay. This is paid at your highest rate of tax so if you pay tax at 40 per cent this is the rate at which the relief is calculated. 

Relief under Fair Deal

It’s important to remember that even if you are in a nursing home under the Nursing Home Support Scheme you can still claim this relief on the portion of the nursing home cost that is not paid by the HSE.

You can also claim tax relief if you are paying for a home carer, either employed by you or through an agency. The maximum relief for paying for a home carer is €75,000 in any tax year.

There is also a tax credit available to married or cohabiting (partnered, civil union) couples if one of the partners cares for a dependent person (not their spouse or partner).

This is available if the couple are jointly assessed and the income of the lower paid partner is less than €7,200 (you can get a reduced credit if their income is less than €9,600).

There is a difference here as this is a tax credit, not a tax relief. The main difference is you claim the tax relief at the end of the year while a credit reduces your tax liability on an ongoing basis.

For more information you can ring our Information Service on 01 475 6989 or email us at helpline@ageaction.ie.

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Comments

Dear Age Action. My dad is in a nursing home in kerry for past year. There were complications and court cases (for the Fair Deal) with my late mums title deeds and now legal costs are at 20K . I am care rep on Fair Deal Scheme. Can I sell the family home to pay for costs now? Do I need to wait until the HSE come knocking for their share in 2 yrs? please advise. thanks

Hi Margo,

I've passed this to our information team and asked them to come back with a reply but it might be no harm contacting them directly on 01 475 6989 or emailing helpline@ageaction.ie and they could get into a bit more detail on it.

Justin

Hi Margo,

The team came back with this:

Thanks for contacting Age Action. Your query raises an interesting issue around the Fair Deal. If you divest yourself of a property within five years of entering a nursing home the HSE will charge you or your estate 7.5 per cent of the value of the property per year for as long as you are in the home. 

In the case of the family home this charge ceases after 3 years so long as you retain procession of it. If you have deferred payment it will be the Revenue Commissioners who will collect what you owe and you will have 1 year from the time your father leaves the home. 

And as the Revenue are debtors of first resort they will have to be paid before any other debts. I hope this answers your query and please contact our information service on 01 475 6989 if you need further information. 

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You might be due a tax refund

 

 

Revenue wants to make sure that everyone knows about the tax credits, reliefs and exemptions they are entitled to. Revenue wrote to some people recently telling them that they might be entitled to a tax refund going back as far as 2014.
If you think that you might also be due a tax refund for the year 2014, you need to submit a claim to Revenue before midnight on 31 December 2018. If you don’t want to miss out, submit your claim to Revenue before then.

Raising the Roof - Homes for All Ages

Raise the Roof Rally for Housing 18 May

Preparing to Raise the Roof

Age Action, motivated by intergenerational solidarity, is joining the Raise the Roof campaign to tackle the continuing housing crisis that is affecting people of all ages.  People are being mobilised through trade unions and community organisations, to stage a major national rally on the housing crisis under the banner of Raise the Roof, in Dublin on Saturday May 18.

When people take an interest in what is happening in their local community, seek solutions to problems and initiate improvements they are being active citizens. Community is the foundational building block of society and housing is fundamental to community. Ireland’s housing crisis is rightly dominating public discourse as it undermines our ability to live with dignity as part of a community.  Ireland’s changing demographic brings with it a changing demand for homes that meet the needs of an ageing population.

The Government’s failure to deliver on a whole of Government approach to ageing and provide good quality social housing to meet demand has resulted in older people feeling subjected to negative, ageist language about their needs and wishes for suitable housing and health supports as is evidenced in the narrative on ‘down-sizing’ or ‘right-sizing’.

In the 60s and 70s the State implemented policies to support owner occupation of housing. People on lower incomes were able to buy their own homes which went some way to addressing wealth inequalities. According to Professor Tony Fahey, writing in Social Justice Ireland’s book ‘From Here to Where?’, by the year 2000 even low-income households owned substantial housing wealth and were less disadvantaged by inequalities in housing wealth than they were by inequalities in income.

Most of the growing population of young private renters today grew up in homes that were owned by their parents. Prof Fahey identified the essential features of secure long-term housing as being affordable, and having secure tenure. As he says, “today’s private rented housing has neither of these features”.

Looking at the future needs of an ageing population, for those aged 50-54 almost 10% were renting from private landlords at the time of Census 2016. It can be assumed that these people will continue in the rental market beyond their working years which leaves them in a vulnerable situation.

We encourage any and all of you who can to be active citizens and march with us on Saturday May 18 in a show of intergenerational solidarity. We will be gathering at 1pm at Parnell Square. You will find us behind an Age Action banner. At 2pm we will march down O'Connell Street towards Custom House Quay and join the Rally for Housing (location to be confirmed) by 3pm.

For more information about the campaign visit www.raisetheroof.ie