Welfare and Pension Increases in Budget 2018
State Pensions will be increased by €5 a week in the week beginning 26th March 2018. There will be proportional increases for dependant adults and those on reduced rates. ( This is estimated to cost €116 million in 2018 ).
The top rate of contributory state pension (over 80 ) will now be €253.30 a week. Under 80’s will get a top rate of €243.30
The maximum non contributory pension (over 80) will be €242 a week. (€232 for under 80)
Social Welfare Benefits : All weekly rates of working age benefits are also due to increase by €5 a week in the week beginning 26th March 2018 . This includes Jobseekers, Farm Assist, One Parent Family Payment, Carers Allowance , Disability, Invalidity, Maternity , Supplementary Welfare. This increase will cost €147 million in 2018.
Jobseekers Benefit will now be €198 a week and Supplementary Welfare will be €196 a week
The €5 increase also applies to Jobseekers aged under 26 who are on a reduced rate of payment.
The €5 increase also includes employment programmes such as CE, TÚS and Rural Social Scheme.
There will be proportionate increases for people on reduced rate payments and for qualified adult dependants .
(For example a State Pension adult dependant payment is currently €150 which is two thirds of the personal rate of €227 . The increase on this will be two thirds of €5 which is €3.30 – making the new amount €153.30)
There will also be €2 increase for each qualified child dependant in all weekly payments – from week beginning 26 March 2018.
Also the Earnings disregard for One parent Family Payment is rising by €20 a week from 26th March 2018.
(No changes to Child Benefit)
Other Changes to Welfare in Budget 2018
Working Family Payment – There had been talk for a couple of years of a new “Working Family Payment” – but it seems that all that has happened in Budget 2018 is that Family Income Supplement has just been renamed the Working Family Payment !
Welfare Christmas Bonus : Was paid at 85% again for Christmas 2017 – more details here
New telephone support payment (“Community Support Allowance”) of €2.50 per week for those on the living alone allowance ( subject to the same eligibility conditions as the Fuel Allowance). This is due to start in June 2018 .(Estimated cost €9.4 million in 2018) . It is expected that just 124,000 people will be eligible for this. We assume it will be paid automatically to those that are eligible.
Fuel allowance: the payment period was extended from 26 weeks to 27 weeks – costing €8.5 million in 2018.
FIS qualification threshold rising by €10 a week (Now called Working Family Payment)
Prescription charges for under 70s will be bought in line with over 70s – the charge will be reduced to €2 an item (from €2.50) and the maximum per family will be €20 per month on all items. (From Jan 1st 2018)
Drugs Payment Scheme– monthly threshold reduced from €144 to €134 from Jan 1st 2108
Housing Assistance Payment – an extra €301 million to be allocated
enabling more than 17,000 additional households to be accommodated under the Housing Assistance Payment.