What is the Fair Deal Scheme?

The Fair Deal Scheme, also known as the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (NHSS), provides financial assistance to people who require long-term nursing care. This scheme is run by the HSE or Health Service Executive. Under the Fair Deal scheme, you make some contribution towards the overall cost of your care while the Health Service Executive pays the remaining balance. The scheme usually covers public nursing homes, approved voluntary nursing homes as well as private nursing homes. Anyone who resides in the State and requires long-term care in a nursing home should consider applying for the scheme.

How to apply for the Fair Deal Scheme

For you to apply for the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, you must be a citizen in the State, which means that you’ve been residing in the State for a minimum of one year or that you plan to live in Ireland for at least a year. You can make your application to the Nursing Home Support Office in your area. The application process involves three main steps as discussed below.

Step One: Care Needs Assessment

The first step is an application for the Care Needs Assessment. This assessment determines whether or not you require long-term care in a nursing home. It assesses whether you can be given support while you continue living at your home or whether long-term nursing home support is more suitable.

Step Two: Financial Assessment

The Financial Assessment usually looks at your assets and income to work out the amount you will contribute to the cost of your nursing home care. The HSE will then pay the balance of your cost of care. This payment by the HSE is called State support.

Step Three: Nursing Home Loan Application

The final step of the application process is optional and it involves applying for the Nursing Home Loan. If you would like to defer paying your contribution, which is based on your residential home or any other property, you can apply for this loan.

The application form must be completed and signed by the individual applying for the nursing home care service. However, in some cases, another individual may apply on your behalf. Where a person might need care, and due to a physical disability, a mental condition or ill-health, is unable to make the application for care needs assessment, a specific individual can apply for the care needs evaluation on their behalf.

If a person cannot make decisions on their own or have diminished mental capacity, then the identified person can also apply for the State support offered by HSE on their behalf.

What does the Fair Deal Scheme cover?

The Fair Deal Scheme covers only long-term nursing home care. The services covered include: personal and nursing care suitable to the level of the care needs of an individual, bed and board, laundry services, and basic appliances and aids necessary to assist an individual with the day to day activities. Fair Deal doesn’t cover short-term care services like convalescent care, daycare, or respite care, although these forms of services might be offered at some nursing homes.

Other services and items might be available under other schemes like the Drugs Payment and Medical Card Scheme. If an individual has a medical card, then it should cover the costs of medical care like GP medication and charges as well as the costs of appliances and aids.

There is an established level of financing for the Fair Deal scheme every year, so there might be cases where an individual’s name must go onto the current waiting list until the funding is available. If that is the case, the Health Service Executive will let you know once it writes to tell you whether or not you are eligible for the State support.


Published by James Howart