€1bn social welfare package to ease pressure on families

€1bn social welfare package to ease pressure on families

Outside Government Buildings before presenting Budget 2023 to Cabinet are Fianna Fáil Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath and Fine Gael Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Government has moved to ease the growing pressures on households through a string of one-off payments and measures to tackle spiralling fuel costs in Budget 2023.

Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath announced a €1bn social welfare package, including a series of lump-sum payments to help address what has been described as an "unprecedented" challenge with households under severe financial pressure.

Mr McGrath announced several one-off payments, including electricity credits of €600 for all households which will be paid in four instalments of €200 — with the first due before Christmas, with two further instalments next year.

There will also be a one-off €500 payment to people on disability allowance, invalidity pension, and blind pension, an extra €500 lump sum for those on working family payment, and a €500 payment for those on carer's support grant.

In addition, a one-off €200 payment will be made to those on living alone allowance, alongside a special one-off double week payment to social welfare recipients, as well as the usual Christmas bonus to social welfare recipients to be paid in early December.

There will be a double child benefit payment paid in November, while anyone in receipt of a weekly social protection payment will see an increase of €12 per week, with proportionate increases for qualified adults.

In seeking to address soaring fuel costs, a €400 lump sum for fuel allowance will be paid by Christmas, while those aged over 70 will see the weekly fuel allowance means limit increase to €500 for single people and €1,000 for couples.

From the start of January, the qualifying income threshold for the fuel allowance will increase from €120 to €200 above the relevant rate of the State pension contributory.

"Taken together, the measures we are rightly introducing this year and in 2023 represent very substantial State support for the most vulnerable," Mr McGrath said, offering one example:

"A single pensioner, living alone, in receipt of fuel allowance will receive an additional €2,375 between now and the end of 2023 as a result of the announcements I am making today."

Eligibility thresholds will also change, with the working family payment thresholds to be increased by €40 per week and the qualified child increase for under 12s to be be raised to €42 per week and for over 12s to €50 per week.

Elsewhere, the monthly domiciliary care allowance will rise by €20.50 to €330 per month and will be made available to parents of babies who have to remain in hospital for six months.

Mr McGrath said various tax and spending measures had been put in place in the past year "to alleviate pressure on households and exposed sectors of the economy".

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