What is the Fair Deal scheme and how does it work?

Scheme provides financial support for long-term nursing home care

The Nursing Homes Support Scheme, also known as the "Fair Deal", provides financial support to people who need long-term nursing home care. The scheme is operated by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Under this scheme, you make a contribution towards the cost of your care and the State pays the balance. The scheme covers approved private nursing homes, voluntary nursing homes and public nursing homes.

Anyone who is ordinarily resident in the State and is assessed as needing long-term nursing home care can apply for the scheme.

When you apply for the scheme your care needs are assessed to confirm that long-term nursing home care is the most appropriate option for you.


Your financial situation is also assessed to see how much you will have to contribute towards your nursing home fees. If your contribution is less than the amount of the fees, the HSE will pay the rest.

Assets, such as savings and property, are taken into account when assessing your financial situation. You can apply for the Nursing Home Loan if you want to defer making the part of your contribution that is based on your home or other property.

A financial assessment looks at your income and assets in order to work out what your contribution to care will be. The HSE will then pay the balance of your cost of care. For example, if the cost of your care was €1,000 and your weekly contribution was €300, the HSE will pay the weekly balance of €700. This payment by the HSE is called State support.

The financial assessment looks at all of your income and assets. In the case of a member of a couple, the assessment will be based on half of the couple’s combined income and assets.

Income includes any earnings, pension income, social welfare benefits or allowances, rental income, income from holding an office or directorship, income from fees, commissions, dividends or interest, or any income which you have deprived yourself of in the 5 years leading up to your application.

An asset is any material property or wealth, including property or wealth outside of the State. Assets are divided into two distinct categories, namely cash assets and relevant assets.

Cash assets include savings, stocks, shares and securities. Relevant assets include all forms of property other than cash assets, for example a person's principal residence or land. In both cases, the assessment will also look at assets that you have deprived yourself of since applying for State support or in the 5 years before the application.

The assessment will not take into account the income of other relatives such as your children.

- Source: www.citizensinformation.ie

- Full explainer on Citizens Information website