3-year cap on homes, farms and businesses

The 3-year cap is a limit on how much you pay towards nursing home care as part of the Fair Deal scheme.

It's based on the value of certain assets you may have.

These assets can include:

  • your home
  • proceeds from the sale of your home
  • your farm or business

You only contribute 7.5 % of the value of these assets for a maximum of 3 years.

The 3 year cap applies whether you choose to take out a nursing home loan or not.

Your home

We won't count your home as an asset after you have been in care for 3 years. 

This means it won't be a part of the financial assessment. The amount you will pay towards your care will become less.

This will be done automatically. You don't need to do anything.

If you sell your home

If you sell your home while you are in care, the money you get for the sale will also qualify for the 3-year cap.

You need to contact your local nursing homes support office if you sell your home.

Farms and businesses

You must apply if you want your farm or business to be included in the 3-year cap.

How to apply for a 3-year cap on your farm or business

If you want your farm or business to be included in the 3-year cap, you must complete part 7 of the application form (PDF, 1.78MB, 16 pages).

For your application to be successful you will need to meet the following conditions:

  • You must apply to us to appoint your family successor, who will commit to running the farm or business for at least 6 years.
  • Your farm or business must have been actively run by you, your partner or your proposed family successor for at least 3 of the last 5 years.
  • A charge in favour of the HSE will be placed on your business or farm.

Appointing a family successor

You'll need to apply to us to appoint your family successor.

Who can be your successor

Your successor must be aged 18 or older. They can be your partner, your relative or your partner's relative.

A relative is either a:

  • child
  • grandchild
  • brother or step-brother
  • sister or step-sister
  • uncle
  • aunt
  • nephew or niece
  • son-in-law or daughter-in-law
  • parent or step-parent

How to appoint your successor

Complete part 7 of the Fair Deal application form.

You'll need to provide supporting documents, including signed statutory declarations (affidavits).

Apply to appoint your successor as soon as you can. This is so your successor can begin the 6-year period they must commit to running your farm or business. This commitment begins from the day that they are formally appointed by us. Your successor cannot be appointed until you are in care.

We’ll review your appointed successor to make sure that they comply with the conditions of the scheme. This review can be done at any time, over the 6-year period.

You can appeal any decisions that we make.

If you've transferred your farm or business to a family successor

You still need to apply to the HSE to appoint a family successor through the scheme.

Do this even if you have transferred your farm or business to your successor in the 5 years before your first application or at any time after your first application.

Proving your farm or business is actively worked

The farm or business must have been actively worked by either you, your partner or your family successor for at least 3 of the last 5 years.

This is up to the day in which you enter care.

You will need to provide proof of this. You cannot be considered for the 3-year cap if you do not meet this condition.

How to prove your farm is actively worked

You must provide proof that your farm has been actively worked by you or your successor. This proof is usually an active Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) identifier.

DAFM identifiers we will accept are an active:

  • registered herd number with herd owner status for each year since the family successor was appointed (herd keeper status is acceptable for the family successor)
  • registered farm partnership number
  • poultry flock number with poultry flock owner status
  • sheep flock number
  • equine premises number (EPRN)
  • pig herd number with herd owner status
  • non-animal or cereal number
  • fishing vessel registration number included on the Registrar of Sea Fishing Boats maintained by DAFM

We will accept this proof on a valid BPS application for the current scheme year or a copy of a herd test within the last year.

If you cannot provide one of the above, we may accept other proof that you or your successor are an active farmer.

You and your successor must also present 1 of the following:

  • BPS applications for all land that the relief is claimed for under the same DAFM identifier - we will accept a declaration of the forestry parcels on a BPS application.
  • A certificate of participation in a Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme.
  • Proof of membership in the Irish Grain Assurance Scheme.
  • Proof that you are producing and delivering milk to a registered milk purchaser.
  • Proof that you submit annual census data for all sheep, goats, pigs and equines (horses or donkeys) kept.
  • Certified farm accounts and documents that show sales of horticultural produce.
  • Certified farm accounts and documentation of sales of hay and silage.
  • A copy of the DAFM AIM system animal profile within the last year.
  • Any other documents that might be accepted as proof that you are an active farmer.

We may need copies of the above documents for different years. We will let you know if this is the case.

Your documents must be for the same land or assets that you are applying for Fair Deal on.

How to prove your business is actively worked

You or your family successor must provide proof that you have been actively working the business for at least 3 of the 5 years before you go into care.

Your family successor must also be able to provide proof over the coming 6 years that they are actively working the business. We may ask for this proof at any time.

You and your family successor will need to provide:

  • proof of registration of the business with the Revenue Commissioners
  • business registration documents or personal tax records showing that you, your partner or your family successor have been a director, employee, sole proprietor or partner of the business
  • personal tax records or bank statements showing an income paid to you, your partner or your family successor from the business

You should also provide 1 of the following:

  • Evidence of a commercial transaction, bill or insurance policy, naming you, your partner or your family successor.
  • A letter from an accountant or solicitor confirming that you, your partner or your family successor meet the terms of the Statutory Declaration.
  • Registration of a legal or professional body related to the business in either your name, your partner’s name or your family successors name.

Registration of a legal or professional body can include:

  • registration with a professional body, such as a legal, accountancy or medical practice
  • food business registration with the HSE
  • auctioneer’s licence
  • waste brokers and dealers registration
  • publican’s licence
  • bookmaker’s licence
  • national Register of Tobacco Retailers

We may also accept any documents that prove that your family successor is actively working the business.

Charge on your farm or business

You must agree to us placing a charge in favour of the HSE on your farm or business. This must be agreed by you, your partner and any other owners of the farm or business.

A charge is a type of mortgage that will be placed on the property of your farm or business.

The charge will be removed when:

  1. Your successor's commitment period of 6 years has ended.
  2. All other conditions of the 3 year cap have been followed.

You may need to repay money to us if your family successor does not comply with the conditions of the scheme.

Sign a statutory declaration

You and your successor will both need to sign a separate statutory declaration form.

The declaration says that:

  • your successor agrees to work your farm or business for at least 6 years
  • your farm or business asset has been actively worked for at least 3 of the 5 years before you entered care

Statutory declaration forms

View the Statutory Declaration (PDF, 3 pages, 530kb) that you will need to sign

View the Statutory Declaration for your Proposed Family Successor (PDF, 2 pages, 530kb)

You will need to sign a different statutory declaration form if:

You cannot ‘backdate’ payments

You cannot ‘backdate’ payments or get a refund for any payments made before the 3-year cap.

For example, if you have spent 5 years in care, you may qualify for the 3-year cap. But this is only from the date we appoint your family successor.

You will not be repaid any payments already made.

You can appeal any decisions that we make

If you sell your farm or business

If you sell your farm or business at any stage, the money from the sale will be assessed as part of your cash assets. This happens even if the 3-year cap has passed.

You must tell the nursing homes support scheme office about any sale. You must do this within 10 working days of the date of the sale.

This is so we can carry out a new assessment of your weekly contribution.

People with reduced capacity to make decisions

If a person is unable to apply for the 3-year cap themselves, certain people may apply on their behalf.

These people include:

  • a person appointed as a care representative (a person appointed by Circuit Court)
  • a committee for Ward of Court (a person appointed by Office of Ward of Courts)
  • a holder of a registered enduring power of attorney (chosen to act on behalf of another person)

A registered enduring power of attorney needs to be in place before the applicant becomes unable to make decisions.

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Page last reviewed: 1 October 2022
Next review due: 1 October 2025