Age Action is calling for the first increase in the State Pension since 2009 in Budget 2016.
The organisation, representing thousands of older people across Ireland, today set out its top five priorities for next month’s budget.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “Since 2009 an older person depending on the State Pension and the Household Benefits package has seen their income cut by more than €13 a week.
“They’re struggling to pay new taxes along with rising fuel and health costs. Pensioners in this country should not be forced to choose between paying for medicine and keeping the heat on.”
During the summer Age Action members across the country met and highlighted their priorities for this year’s budget:
- Increase the State Pension by €5
- Increase the Living Alone Allowance by €2.40
- Restore the Telephone Allowance over the next two budgets
- An additional €26 million for Home Help Services
- An additional €7 million for 550 Home Care Packages
Justin Moran continued: “Older people spent a lifetime building this country. They shouldered their share of the burden of austerity.
“As the economy returns to growth, they have a legitimate expectation that the sacrifices they made will be acknowledged.
“After years of cuts to income supports for older people, next month’s budget is an opportunity to restore value to a stagnant State Pension and to reverse cuts to vital income supports like the Telephone Allowance.”
Age Action also highlighted the need for investment in supports to enable older people to remain longer in their homes.
Since 2009 there has been a substantial reduction in home help hours despite the number of people aged 85 and over increasing by 11 per cent in the last three years.
Justin Moran continued: “In recent years there has been a 44 per cent increase in the number of older people in nursing homes categorised as ‘low dependency’ by the HSE.
“More home and community supports would enable many of these people to stay at home longer. That’s a better outcome for older people, it’s in line with Government policy and it would help to reduce the cost of the Nursing Home Support Scheme.”
Along with its key priorities, Age Action also published detailed submissions it made to a number of individual government departments.