Budget 2017

Pensions up and charges down - How did the elderly fare in the Budget?

An increase in the State pension of €5 per week was the much heralded measure the Government announced today.

INCREASES IN THE pension, cuts in prescription charges and more funding for homecare costs are among some of benefits for the elderly in next year’s Budget.

These measures are being welcomed by advocacy groups, but the Budget isn’t being met with full support.

An increase in the State pension of €5 per week was the much heralded measure the Government announced today.

Disputes over when this increase would be introduced seemed to be resolved this morning, and the extra money will be given to pensioners from 1 March.

On top of this there was a reduction on the cap for prescription charges for over-70-year-olds. Prescription charges for medical card holders were first introduced by Government in 2010.

Holders of medical cards currently have to pay €2.50 per each prescription item they get up to cap of €25. As of 1 March this will be reduced to €20.

As well as these measures, ministers announced increases of €10 million for the development of homecare and close to an additional €4 million to handle increased costs from the service.

There will also be €24 million made available to support homecare under the winter initiative.


The provisions for the elderly in Budget 2017 have received a mixed response from advocacy groups.

Justin Moran – head of advocacy with elderly persons charity Age Action – welcomed the increases to the pension and the reduction of the prescription charges cap, but said more needed to be done.

“The reduction in the cap on the Sick Tax announced today is good news and we hope it is a step towards its eventual abolition, but we would caution that lone pensioners will not benefit greatly as they are unlikely to be paying above the €20 figure,” he said.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of Alone, also welcomed the measures but said that the charity had been campaigning for an indexing of the pension so that it’s value would always be safeguarded.

“This would end the yearly calls for pension increases and give older people fair financial independence,” he said.

Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People Helen McEntee welcomed the increases in funding for her areas, saying that the increase in home care funding was welcome.

“I am pleased to say overall funding for services for older people has increased to €765 million in 2017,” the minister said.

This allows us to focus in particular on homecare services aimed at supporting people to continue to live in their own homes and also at facilitating discharge of older people from acute hospitals.

Read: Are you a parent? Here’s what Budget 2017 will do for you

Read: Your PRSI will now let you get a free teeth cleaning

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