The 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.
Income and assets:
Income includes any earnings, pension income, social welfare benefits/ 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. Broadly speaking, an asset is any material property or wealth, including property or wealth outside of the State. If you are a member of a couple, the assessment will be based on half of the couple's combined income and assets. For example, if a couple'sincome was €600 per week, the assessment of the person needing care would be based on 50% of €600, or €300. In other words, the person needing care would be considered to have a total income of €300 per week. A couple is defined as (a) a married couple who are living together or (b) a heterosexual or same sex couple who are cohabiting as life partners for at least three years. The assessment will not take into account the income of other relatives such as your children.
Your Contribution to Care
Having looked at your income and assets, the Financial Assessment will work out your contribution to care. You will contribute 80% of your assessable income and 7.5% of the value of any assets per annum (5% of assets if the application was made prior to the 25th July 2013). However, the first €36,000 of your assets, or €72,000 for a couple, will not be counted at all in the financial assessment. Where your assets include land and property in the State, the 7.5% contribution based on such assets may be deferred and collected from your estate. This is an optional Nursing Home Loan element of the scheme which is legally referred to as "Ancillary State Support".
Your principal residence will only be included in the financial assessment for the first 3 years of your time in care. This is known as the 22.5% or 'three year' cap (15% if application was made prior to the 25th July 2013). It means that you will pay a 7.5% contribution based on your principal residence for a maximum of three years regardless of the time you spend in nursing home care. After 3 years, even if you are still getting long-term nursing home care, you will not pay any further contribution based on the principal residence. This 'three year' cap applies regardless of whether you choose to opt for the loan or not.
In the case of a couple, the contribution based on the principal residence will be capped at 11.25% (7.5% if the application was made prior to the 25th July 2013) where one member of the couple remains in the home while the other enters long term nursing home care, i.e. the ‘three year’ cap applies. Where a person opts for the nursing home loan in respect of the principal residence, their spouse or partner can also apply to have the repayment of the loan deferred for their lifetime (see section 9).
All other assets will be taken into account for as long as you are in care.
There are important safeguards built in to the Financial Assessment which are worth noting.
- Nobody will pay more than the actual cost of care
- You will keep a personal allowance of 20% of your income or 20% of the maximum rate of the State Pension (non-Contributory), whichever is the greater
- If you have a spouse/partner remaining at home, he/she will be left with 50% of the couple's income or the maximum rate of the State Pension (non-Contributory), whichever is the greater
- If both members of a couple enter nursing home care, they each retain at least 20% of their income, or 20% of the maximum rate of the State Pension (Non-Contributory), whichever is the greater.