Age Action has urged the Government to bring forward the payment date for the €100 grant for households in order to reduce the impact which the water charges will have on low income families.
“We are concerned that the revised water charge scheme will create increased financial hardship on some older people on low incomes because they will be required to make the first two quarterly payments in April and July 2015 before they receive their €100 payment in September,” Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said. “This would amount to upfront payments of €80 for a single person or €130 for a household with more than one adult. The cumulative impact of austerity means that many older people simply cannot afford this.”
“The Government must acknowledge the increased burden which the water charge will impose on those on lowest incomes, and take steps to ease this by bringing forward the payment date for the grant. Ideally, it should be paid in April to coincide with the first quarterly bill.”
Under the original water charge proposals, most older people would have received €100 towards their water charges through quarterly payments through the Household Benefits Package. This would have provided greater protection against hardship for low income pensioner households as the payments would have coincided with their water bills.