Proposed change to Fair Deal scheme

 

Sir, – We note with interest the recent article relating to consideration by Government to amend the Fair Deal scheme under Housing for All proposals (“Rental income expected to be exempt from assessment for care contributions”, News, July 28th). While it is likely that such an amendment might lead to some additional availability of homes for rent, it also will increase opportunities for financial abuse of dependent older people unless significant safeguards are put in place in order to prevent such abuse.

Matters to consider should include robust oversight to ensure the informed consent of the owner to rent the property and assurance that the rental income is solely for the benefit and use of the owner.

Any such proposed amendment must also provide assurances for the homeowner that if he or she decides to return home, such rental arrangements will not pose a barrier to this.

The proposed amendment may have unintended consequences unless underpinned by a strong safeguarding element.

In that regard, Safeguarding Ireland would strongly agree with the concerns raised by Minister of State for Older People Mary Butler in relation to premature entry of older people into nursing homes and the need for safeguarding arrangements. – Yours, etc,

PATRICIA

RICKARD-CLARKE,

Chairwoman,

Safeguarding Ireland,

Maynooth,

Co Kildare.