Carol Burke, from the North Leinster Citizen’s Information Service in Maynooth spoke at our Cafe in March (2019). Carol talked to us about the various benefits and allowances that are available for carers. She also took us through the Nursing Home Support Scheme (NHSS – also known as the Fair Deal Scheme). More details on each of these below. Carol also kindly provided us with a copy of her presentation: click here.

Carer’s Allowance:

  • Payment provided to someone who is providing care for another
  • You do not need to live with the person but you must be within a ‘reasonable’ distance and be providing 35 hours of care per week. It is important to include ALL types of care including hospital appointments, shopping etc.
  • Payment is made as long as the person needs care (no time limit)
  • Anyone can apply but it is means tested
  • Maximum payment is given if you do not cross the income threshold. If you do, there is a reduction that is applied on a sliding scale. Note: Assets are not taken into account, only income.
  • If you are caring for two people, you can get 1/2 of the allowance again for the second person
  • If you are receiving this allowance, you can work or attend education for a maximum of 15 hours a week (as at March 2019)
  • Click here for more details

Carer’s Benefit:

  • Paid to someone who has to give up or reduce the hours they are working in order to care for someone – note that you must have worked (paid PRSI) within the last 6 months (minimum of 8 hours a week)
  • Payment is made for a maximum of 2 years and it is not means tested
  • Employers are legally obliged to keep your job open for you
  • Click here for more details

Carer’s Support Grant (previously known as the respite grant):

Nursing Home Support Scheme (also known as the Fair Deal Scheme):

  • Provides support to cover the cost of long term nursing home care.
  • The amount that an individual has to pay depends on if they are single or married, and the amount of assets and income they have.
  • An application is made to the HSE.
    • A needs assessment is carried out to confirm that the person in need of care would be best cared for in long term care.
    • A financial assessment is then carried out. The HSE look at:
      • 80% of income (e.g. pension) of the person who is living in the nursing home.
      • 7% (if single) of the value of the family home (for three years) – 3.75% for a married couple
      • 7% of all assets and savings (if single) – 3.75% for a married couple. This is open-ended in that the HSE will continue to look at assets and income every year that the person is living in the nursing home.
      • Note 1: the first €36,000 of your assets, or €72,000 for a couple, will not be counted at all in the Financial Assessment.
      • Note 2: the total amount that someone has to pay will never be more than the cost of the nursing home.
  • You may choose to pay your contribution for the cost of the nursing home each month yourself (i.e. if you have the money available to do this). If not, you can apply for a Nursing Home Loan. This is a loan made against the family home. The government will pay your portion of the costs for as long as is needed and this money will be recouped from the value of your estate after your death. Interest is charged on this loan.
    • Note: an Enduring Power of Attorney is required in order to apply for this loan.
  • If the person who needs care is in hospital when the decision is made to move into long term care, transition support is available. This means that the HSE will pay all of the costs in the short-term until the assessments and financial contribution is worked out.
  • Click here for more details

Note: if you are turned down for any of the allowances or benefits described above, you have a 21 day period in which you can appeal. This applies to all social welfare payments.

Furthermore the Citizens Information Service can help you to fill in forms and make sense of often very confusing Social Welfare and Healthcare systems!

For more information on any of the above, or on any other rights, benefits or entitlements, you can contact your local Citizen’s Information Service in confidence (no personal details needed).

Click here for a link to the Citizen’s Information Service website

Important Note: Every effort has been made to ensure that the details above are correct, however advice should be sought from your local Citizens Information Service, your Solicitor or Health Service Executive if you have any queries.