The Cabinet has approved changes to the Fair Deal scheme for farms and small businesses.

Fair Deal provides financial support for those in long-term nursing home care.

The Minister with Responsibility for Older People Jim Daly said the legislation will be examined by an Oireachtas committee before the Dáil recess in July.

Mr Daly said he hoped the changes would be passed in the Dáil and Seanad this autumn.

People using the scheme contribute up to 80% of their income and up to 7.5% of the value of any assets held towards their cost of care.

The value of a person’s home is only included in the financial assessment for the first three years of their time in care.

Currently, this unqualified three-year cap does not apply to assets such as farms and businesses.

The decision today will extend the three-year limit to farms and businesses where a family successor continues to operate it for six years.

It is understood the changes will require increased State funding of around €10m annually.

Farmers in protest over Fair Deal assessments