The most generous social budget in our nation’s history

Next year Government will invest €1,212,984,000 in social benefits. A decade earlier the allocation made by the last conservative administration was a mere €750,400,000. This marks an increase of 62%, or nearly half a billion euro more.

Before the pandemic, social benefits amounted to less than one billion. This means that since the pandemic, Government’s social investment has risen by more than €215 million, or by 22%.

Budget 2022 is by far the most generous social budget in our nation’s history. One can divide the many new measures and significant increases into 5 different components.

Further improvements to pensions

  • An increase of €5 per week to 95,000 retirement, widows’ and age pensioners
  • Increases and improvements for service pensioners
  • 12,000 widowed pensioners will start taking out the full pension with the increase in 2022 being €5 per week on top of the increase granted to all pensioners
  • 43,000 pensioners who retired after 2008 will start having past COLA adjustments incorporated in their pension, leading to potentially another rise of €2.50 per week
  • Those who paid at least 10 years’ contributions before 1979 will start qualifying for a pension for the first time
  • The amount of non-taxable pension will rise to €14,318 and tax liability for non-pension income will be gradually reduced
  • New schemes for people to pay missing contributions or pay contributions on atypical work
  • New scheme to enable those separating after age 50 to have better pension protection

A better quality of life for the elderly

  • Broadening the means test for pensioners when inheriting
  • €150 increase in Bonus given to 12,500 elderly people who have not paid enough contributions
  • €50 increase to 21,000 elderly people aged 80 and over who reside in their own home
  • The Pink Card will be given without a means test to elderly people aged 80 and over who are on Supplementary Assistance
  • Live-in carer subsidy increased to €7,000 a year
  • Grants will be paid again to those who have suffered injustices in the past

Support for families with children and working parents

  • Widening of the income thresholds to between €35,000 and €50,000 per annum in the In-Work Benefit and benefit increases of between €100 and €200 per child
  • The Childbirth or Adoption Bonus will be increased from €300 to €400

Other support to those on low incomes

  • Increments of between €3.47 and €6.50 per week for couples with an income below €14,318 per annum, and between €4.10 and €5.00 per week for single persons with an income below €10,221 per annum qualifying for Supplementary Assistance
  • Those on Social Assistance will start getting the full COLA
  • Persons with no fixed address will be given Social Assistance
  • Persons who receive the Invalidity Pension and live with their parents will start to be considered heads of household when applying for Sickness Benefit

Assistance for persons with disabilities and their families

  • Disabled Children’s Allowance will rise from €25 to €30 per week
  • Carers Grant for parents who do not work because they care for their children with severe disabilities will rise from €300 to €500
  • Any remaining means tests in Disability Assistance will be removed
  • Persons with an Injury Pension at Work will start receiving contributory benefits without a reduction
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