Budget 2018 builds on Fine Gael commitment to make older years better years.

13th October, 2017

Budget 2018 builds on a Fine Gael commitment to make our older years our better years. That’s according to Fine Gael TD, Pat Deering for Carlow, who highlighted the measures announced by Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe which will benefit elderly people in Carlow.

“Fine Gael wants to give everyone a fair chance and ensure they have the opportunity to reach their full potential. As part of this we want to share the benefits of our return to economic growth by improving the lives of those in their better years here in Carlow.

“There are a number of measures in Budget 2018 that will help achieve this.

“The State Pension will increase by €5 from March onwards. This builds on increases of €5 last year and €3 the year before. Prior to that pensioners hadn’t seen any increases since 2009 as a result of the economic crisis. However Fine Gael made sure to protect the State Pension from cuts during the crisis period. It is great now to be able to give modest but sustainable increases which will make a difference to older people.

“We are also working to ensure that older people in Carlow can stay in their own homes for as long as they wish. Budget 2018 helps with this by increasing in funding for home adaptation grants which will enable up to 11,000 grants to be undertaken to support older people remain at home for longer. There is also an additional €37 million for Home Care packages and transitional care beds.

“Of course some people will wish to access nursing home care as they get older. Budget 2018 provides increased funding to support residential care services arising from an ageing population.
“Older people in Carlow are set to benefit from the introduction of a Telephone Support Allowance of €2.50 per week for those in receipt of both the Living Alone Allowance and the Fuel Allowance; this will benefit over 124,000 people.

“The extension of the Fuel Allowance to 27 weeks, into the first week of April 2018, will benefit 375,000 households, particularly pensioners, widows, people with disabilities, lone parents and long term job seekers.

“Older people will also benefit general from measures in the area of health. Chief among them is the reduction in prescription charges for all medical card holders under 70 from €2.50 per item to €2 per item with a subsequent reduction in the monthly cap from €25 to €20.
“Families are going to save up to €120 a year in medication costs with a reduction of €10 in the monthly threshold for Drug Payment Scheme
“The new primary care fund to support the development of GP services, expand community intervention teams and hire more Occupational Therapists will also benefit older people in communities across Carlow.
“An enhancement of the JobsPlus scheme to support workers aged 50 or over into employment will help those people who do not wish to retire early. Employers will receive a subsidy of €10,000 to employ any long-term unemployed person aged over 50.

“Furthermore the introduction of an additional investment of €10 million in the Free Travel Scheme is designed to encourage new operators into the scheme and to broaden coverage in more remote parts of rural Ireland. This is great news for older people availing of the scheme here in Carlow.