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Welcome for State Pension increase

Published 26/03/2018

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Age Action, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people, has welcomed the increases in the State Pension which will take effect this week.

The top rate of the State contributory pension will rise by €5 to €243.30 and the non-contributory pension will rise by the same amount to €232.

Justin Moran, Head of Advocacy and Communications with Age Action, said: “This week’s pension increase may be small but it is certainly welcome and particularly so for the tens of thousands of pensioners who rely entirely on the State Pension for their income.

“They are coming under enormous pressure from steadily increasing energy and health costs and the pension increase is a badly needed source of additional funds.”

Disappointment

However, the organisation is disappointed about the timing of the increases and pointed out not all pensioners will benefit equally.

Justin Moran continued: “This is the second year in a row the pension increase has taken place in March instead of January.

“It is disappointing that in the coldest months of the year the extra money wasn’t available to help pensioners stay warm and we hope any increase next year will take effect from the start of 2019.

“It should also be remembered that not every pensioner will get the €5 increase. Pensioners on the lower rates, including many who are on those rates because of time spent caring for their families, will only receive a proportion of the €5 increase.”

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World Refugee Day

 Today, June 20th is World Refugee Day. The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million in 2018. This is the highest level that UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has seen in its almost 70 years. Data from UNHCR’s annual Global Trends report, released this week shows that almost 70.8 million people are now forcibly displaced. To put this in perspective, this is double the level of 20 years ago, 2.3 million more than a year ago, and corresponds to a population between that of Thailand and Turkey.   Today, older refugees make up some 8.5 per cent of the overall population of concern to UNHCR, and by 2050 more of the world will be over 60 than under 12. Older refugees experience an additional burden due to their age and associated conditions. In a report published by the Centre for Policy on Ageing and Age UK, they identified that “the main issues facing older refugees and asylum seekers are low income, the language barrier, the risk of loneliness and a lack of social networks, and possibly a loss of social status”.  Reduced mobility and a high number of chronic medical conditions also greatly impact the life of an older refugee, as adequate and culturally appropriate healthcare is often difficult to access. As well, throughout their time in refugee shelters, older refugees are also more likely to experience social disintegration, the impact of negative social selection and chronic dependency on the resources of refugee shelters. According to the International Federation on Ageing “The contributions of older refugees can have far-reaching impacts on the preservation of the cultures and traditions of disposed and displaced people. The wisdom and experiences of older refugees must be harnessed through formal and informal leadership roles, to improve the welfare of all refugees”. Marion MacGregor, writing for InfoMigrants says “Older refugees can be seen as an asset, rather than simply requiring special care. In many families, it falls to them to look after children so that their parents can work….. Older people are transmitters of culture, skills and crafts that are important in preserving traditions of displaced people. The resilience of older people can help to strengthen communities and they can contribute to positive and peace-building interactions with the local host communities.”    

You might be due a tax refund

 

 

Revenue wants to make sure that everyone knows about the tax credits, reliefs and exemptions they are entitled to. Revenue wrote to some people recently telling them that they might be entitled to a tax refund going back as far as 2014.
If you think that you might also be due a tax refund for the year 2014, you need to submit a claim to Revenue before midnight on 31 December 2018. If you don’t want to miss out, submit your claim to Revenue before then.