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Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme

Introduction

The Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme is used to improve the condition of an older person's home. In general, it is aimed at people 66 years of age and older. However, in cases of genuine hardship the local authority may assist people under age 66.

The original Regulations for the grant scheme were amended by new Regulations (pdf) in 2014.

Changes in 2014

Changes to 3 housing grant schemes were announced in January 2014. The changes came into effect on 27 February 2014, so any applications received before this date are being handled under the earlier rules. The main changes to the Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme are:

  • The qualifying age has increased to 66 (previously 60)
  • The maximum income threshold has been reduced to €60,000 (previously €65,000)
  • The maximum grant has been reduced to €8,000 (previously €10,500)
  • The percentages of approved costs covered by the grant have been adjusted on a sliding scale. The maximum is now 95% (previously 100%)
  • Income of all household members will now be included in the means test (though Carer’s Allowance should be disregarded)
  • Applicants must prove that they have complied with the Local Property Tax

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government is preparing revised guidelines for the 3 schemes.

Rules

Local authorities vary as regards what type of work they will grant aid under the scheme. You should check with your own local authority to see which types of work its scheme will cover. The Department has instructed local authorities that only essential repairs should be undertaken to make the property habitable for the applicant. For example, works like the replacement of windows, doors or heating systems will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The type of work that is grant aided can include some or all of the following:

  • Structural repairs or improvements
  • Repair or replacement of windows and doors
  • The provision of water, sanitary services and heating
  • Cleaning and painting
  • Radon remediation
  • Re-wiring and any other repair or improvement work considered necessary.

Many older people may be eligible for the Scheme. However, priority will be given to people on the basis of financial need.

The grant can be paid to people in:

Priority applicants

Your application will be prioritised based on medical need. Highest priority will be given to a person who is terminally ill or where alterations/adaptations would facilitate your discharge from hospital or the continuance of care in your own home.

Occupational therapy report

When the local authority receives your application, it may request an Occupational Therapist's (OT) assessment. The local authority can arrange for an OT assessment. Alternatively, you can employ an OT to carry out an assessment and get back up to €200 as part of the total grant (up to the maximum you are entitled to).

Means test

Your total household income is assessed to find out if you qualify for the grant and at what level of assistance.

Household income is:

  • Property owner's (or tenant's) and spouse's/partner's annual gross income in the previous tax year
  • Income of any other adults living in the household - aged over 23 years (or over 18 and not in full-time education) *** this does not apply to applications received before 27 February 2014

The following is not taken into account when calculating your household income:

Tax information required: applicant

When applying for the grant, you must provide:

  • Your tax reference number
  • Details of your tax district and
  • A statement that, to the best of your knowledge, your tax affairs are in order

For grant applications totalling €10,000 or more***, you must make a valid Tax Clearance Certificate available to the local authority. You can either provide the physical certificate or else give the local authority your customer number and the reference number of the certificate and authorise it to confirm your tax clearance status electronically.

***This requirement is set out in the Department of Finance’s Circular 44/2006 (pdf). It will not be relevant to applications for the Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme that are received after 27 February 2014, as the maximum grant under this scheme is now less than €10,000.

You must also provide evidence that the Local Property Tax on the house has been paid.

Tax information required: contractor

For payments over €650, you must provide the local authority with the following details in respect of each contractor:

  • Name, address, tax reference number and tax district
  • C2/tax clearance number and
  • Expiry date of the C2/Tax Clearance Certificate

In general, for all grant payments totalling €10,000 and over, contractors must either produce a valid C2/Tax Clearance Certificate or authorise the local authority to confirm their tax clearance status electronically. This is required by Circular 44/2006 – see note at *** above.

For payments under €10,000, contractors are not normally required to provide this information, but the local authority does check contractor details with Revenue in a certain percentage of cases.

Starting the work

The grant will not be paid if you start work before the grant is approved. However, it is expected that the work will start within 6 months of your grant approval.

Getting the work done safely

Under the Regulations governing safety, health and welfare at work, homeowners are obliged to ensure that construction work on their home is carried out by competent people. Read more, including a guide for homeowners (pdf) and some Frequently Asked Questions, on the website of the Health and Safety Authority.

Payment of a second grant

It is possible to get a grant under the Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme a second time if your needs have substantially changed over time.

Rates

For applications received on or after 27 February 2014, the maximum grant available under the Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme is €8,000, which may cover 95% of the approved cost of works.

This maximum grant of 95% is available to people with annual household incomes of less than €30,000, tapering to 30% for those with annual household incomes of €50,001 to €60,000. The following tables show the current rates and the rates that applied up to 27 February 2014.

Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme: from 27 February 2014

Maximum yearly household income % of costs Maximum grant
Up to €30,000 95% €8,000
€30,000 - €35,000 85% €6,800
€35,001 - €40,000 75% €6,000
€40,001 - €50,000 50% €4,000
€50,001 - €60,000 30% €2,400
Over €60,000 No grant payable

Housing Aid for Older Persons Scheme: up to 27 February 2014

Maximum yearly household income % of costs Maximum grant
Up to €30,000 100% €10,500
€30,000 - €34,000 90% €9,450
€34,001 - €38,000 80% €8,400
€38,001 - €42,000 70% €7,350
€42,001 - €46,000 60% €6,300
€46,001 - €50,000 50% €5,250
€50,001 - €54,000 40% €4,200
€54,001 - €65,000 30% €3,150
Over €65,000 No grant payable

Where to apply

Contact the Housing Section of your local authority for more information about how to apply and about the eligibility rules in your area, which may differ from those in other local authority areas.

Page updated: 11 March 2014

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