Age Action wants pension increase

A weekly rise of €5 in State pensions; a reversal of cuts made in 2012; and an increase in home help hours are among the demands being made on behalf of older people by Age Action.

Age Action wants pension increase

In a pre-budget submission, Ireland’s leading advocacy organisation for older people is calling on the Government to restore the incomes of pensioners after years of cutbacks.

Publishing its top priorities for Budget 2018, the organisation also highlighted the need to invest in home help services and “reablement” — a programme of intensive support for people with disabilities and those who are frail or recovering from an illness or injury.

Justin Moran, head of Advocacy and Communications at Age Action, said: “The income of an older person on the State Pension and the Household Benefits Package today is still less than it was in 2009.

“Cuts to income supports like the fuel allowance and the telephone allowance, combined with rising prices and new taxes, are driving more older people into poverty. CSO figures show a steady increase in poverty levels among the over-65s from 2013 to the latest report for 2015.

“Pensioners are increasingly afraid of being taxed out of their homes or of being forced into a nursing home because there are no home supports available.

“Next month, the Government must deliver a fair budget for older people, one that recognises the contributions made over decades by more than 600,000 workers, homemakers, carers and business people who are now pensioners.”

Among the organisation’s demands are an increase of €5 in the State pension, working towards the Government’s target of a pension at 35% of average earnings; and a €3 rise in the living alone allowance.

It also wants the Government to reverse the 2012 cuts to the state pension and to increase home help hours to provide the service to an additional 22,300 people in 2018.

Age Action also highlighted the need for investment in supports to help people stay in their homes longer.

“Our home care services are in crisis,” said Mr Moran. “Across Ireland, almost 5,000 people are on home help waiting lists and the unmet need is estimated to be over 22,000. Home help hours and home care packages are simply not available in many parts of the country. This means more older people forced unnecessarily into nursing homes, more families struggling to cope without home helps and more pressure on carers.”

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