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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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If you’re having difficulty, or your symptoms persist for several hours, seek medical advice. Heatstroke can develop if heat exhaustion is left untreated - but it can also develop suddenly and without warning. The symptoms of heatstroke include hot and red skin, headaches, nausea, intense thirst, raised temperature, confusion, aggression and loss of consciousness. Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition.

So if you or someone else shows symptoms:

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Further information

If you live alone consider asking a relative or friend to visit or phone to check that you are not having difficulties during periods of extreme heat.

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