New rules on how much people with disabilities can earn before losing their medical card come into effect tomorrow. People who qualify for Disability Allowance payments can earn €427 per week without losing their medical card.
The annual income threshold is being increased from €6,000 to €22,000, an increase of more than 250% while retaining their medical benefits.
The Disability Federation says its a big step towards better working lives. “This is a big step forward”, said DFI CEO, Senator John Dolan welcoming today’s announcement. The figure goes from €6,000 a year to €22,000 p.a.
Fear of losing a medical card was identified as “the single greatest barrier” to work in 2017’s inter-departmental report “Make Work Pay”, said Senator Dolan.
“There were 24 recommendations in that report that would make work pay for people with disabilities. We want to see them all implemented so that the basic human right to work can become a reality.”
Two people who have come up against that barrier are Dr Patricia McCarthy and Peter Boyd, both living with disability and working part-time.
Patricia McCarthy is delighted:
“This is amazing. It will enable me to do more”, “as it stands I’m always turning down work. With multiple disabilities there is no way I could survive without my medical card.”
Peter Boyd echoes Patricia’s feelings about the importance of working and contributing to society for a person’s mental as well as physical well-being. However, fear of losing a medical card put people with disabilities in “a horrible bind” said Peter.
Peter Boyd was diagnosed with arthritis when he was 27 and was in fear of losing his medical card:
“Today’s announcement allows me to look to a more industrious and prosperous future. Long term I’d like to see the disregard rise to take account of ALL the extra costs of disability and the fact that many people with disabilities are highly qualified, talented and ambitious.”
- * The Government, Minister for Health and Disabilities, Simon Harris and Finian McGrath respectively, today announced at DFI’s offices that they will raise the earnings disregard for people on Disability Allowance or on Partial Capacity Benefit associated with Invalidity Pension from €120 to €427 per week, or from €6,240 to €22,204 per year.
- * This is an increase of over two and a half times higher or 255.83%.
- * The extra cost of disability has been estimated at between €207- €276 per week.
- * Over 26% of people with disabilities in Ireland live in consistent poverty.
- * 71% of people with a disability are not in work.