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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.

Age Action Calls for €9 per week Rise In Old Age Pension in Budget 2020

Organisation also proposes that Government commission research on the Cost of Ageing to ensure policy meets needs of ageing population

Age Action, the advocacy organisation for older people, has called for the state’s Old Age Pension to increase by €9 per week in Budget 2020. The call was made at today’s Pre-Budget Forum, which is being organised by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is being held in Dublin Castle’s Conference Centre.

Celine Clarke, Age Action’s Head of Advocacy and Communications, said that a €9 increase in the weekly Old Age Pension would be a key step in building towards the Government’s own commitment that the pension should be set at 35% of average weekly earnings.

“The National Pensions Framework was published almost 10 years ago and it committed the Government to benchmarking the Old Age Pension at 35% of average weekly earnings. In order to move the current pension payment towards the delivery of that target, we are calling on the Government to increase the weekly pension payment by €9,” Celine Clarke said.

Ms Clarke provided additional context to Age Action’s call for a €9 per week pension rise, when she explained that in 2009, the weekly income for pensioners depending on the State – when all the benefits were added together – was €265.44, this year it’s €273.63 – only €7.89 higher than it was higher than it was 10 years ago. 

“While pensions have increased by a welcome €5 per week over the last few years, there is no clear and transparent formula informing these increases, and Ireland is also unusual in setting the pension rate in the budget every year. Age Action is urging the Government to consider applying a triple lock formula for pension increases – namely, guaranteeing that the basic State pension will rise by a minimum of either 2.5%, the rate of inflation or average earnings growth, whichever is the larger.”

In addition to the proposals on pension increases, Age Action is also calling for:

  • The commissioning of research by Government on the Cost of Ageing to inform the development of policy so that the country can meet the needs of our ageing population – a similar exercise has been carried out in relation to the Cost of Disability;
  • Increase the income threshold for all means-tested benefits in line with increases to the Old Age Pension and secondary benefits;
  • Increase the Living Alone Allowance by €5 per week;
  • Increase the Fuel Allowance rate by €2.35 and reintroduce a 32-week payment period.

Pre-Budget Submission to Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

ENDS