Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people, has welcomed the increase in the State Pension and other incomes supports for older people announced in today’s budget.
Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications, said: “An increase in the State Pension was the top priority for our members in Budget 2018.
“After years of cuts, new taxes and rising prices we’re very pleased the Government is delivering on the commitments it made to restore the incomes of Ireland’s pensioners.”
However, the organisation expressed its disappointment at the decision to delay the pension increase to the end of March and the failure to reverse the 2012 pension cuts.
Justin Moran continued: “It is disappointing the pension increase is again delayed, especially when it is needed in January and February to help pay heating bills.
“We had also hoped to see progress on reversing the 2012 cut to the State Pension which punished tens of thousands of older people for taking time out of the workforce to care for their families.”
Telephone & Fuel Allowance
Justin Moran continued: “We’re delighted to see the partial restoration of the Telephone Allowance.
“This was abolished during the recession causing a great deal of frustration and hardship for pensioners on low incomes.
“The Government’s decision to partially restore the allowance, and to commit to an increase in the Fuel Allowance as well, is a sign that it is working to keep older people out of poverty.”
Justin Moran said: “Homecare in Ireland is in crisis. Almost 5,000 people are on waiting lists. Home help hours and home care packages are simply not available in many parts of the country.
“It’s worrying that we heard nothing so far about additional resources for homecare and we’ll be hoping the Minister for Health addresses this later on.
“No new funding means more older people forced unnecessarily into nursing homes, more families struggling to cope without home helps and more pressure on carers.”
Justin Moran continued: Prescription charges increased by 500 per cent during the recession. It is a tax on the sick and the least well-off that affects older people the most as they are more likely to have multiple prescriptions.
“The slight reduction in the cap on the Sick Tax announced today is good news that will help a little to alleviate the financial pressure on older people with health problems but it must be a step towards the abolition of a cruel and unnecessary tax.”