More people will qualify as carers due to means test changes in Social Welfare Bill
More people will be able to qualify for the Carer's Allowance (CA) through Ireland's newest Social Welfare Bill.
Announced by Minister Heather Humphreys, it will enact Budget 2022 measures with a particular focus on carers, lone parents, low-income families and people with disabilities.
The measures will allow "significant" changes to be made to the CA means assessments, the first of its kind in almost 14 years.
Minister Humphreys said, "I look forward to bringing this Bill through the Oireachtas, which will give effect to the wide range of measures that I announced in Budget 2022, representing the largest social welfare budget package in 14 years.
"The Bill will give effect to the increases in all core weekly payments – benefitting pensioners, lone parents, jobseekers, carers and people with disabilities."
It provides for the capital/savings disregard for the CA means assessment to increase from €20,000 to €50,000, making it the equivalent of the Disability Allowance.
Other people expected to benefit from the Bill include parents with children under the age of two years old, who will see an added increase to Parent's Benefit of 5 to 7 weeks.
Two hundred and thirty thousand pensioners, widows/widowers and people with disabilities who are living alone will also benefit from the rise in the Living Alone Allowance from €19 to €22 per week.
A new grant of up to €500 will be available through the Treatment Benefit Scheme to help alleviate the cost of hairpieces for people with illness.
Some of the other changes include a €5 increase in the maximum rate of all core weekly payments, eg. pensioners and widows(ers), with proportionate increases for qualified adults.
The proposed legislation also provides for an extension of the Covdi Credit Guarantee Scheme until the end of 2022.
The full cost per year of implementing these measures comes to over €600 million.
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