People on disability allowance now able to earn 250pc more and still hold on to medical card

People on the disability allowance will now be able to work and earn more while holding on to their medical card.

From the December 1, the medical card earnings disregard for persons in receipt of Disability Allowance will be increased, from €120 to €427 per week and will apply to the assessment process for both single persons and to family assessments.

Health Minister Simon Harris said this increase of more than 250pc means that the earnings of someone in receipt of Disability Allowance that can be disregarded under the medical card assessment process has increased from €6,240 a year to €22,204.

“I am delighted to have overseen the implementation of one of the key recommendations of the Make Work Pay for Persons with Disabilities Report,” he said today.

“This substantial increase in the earnings disregard will address one of the key barriers to employment for persons with a disability – that is the fear or anxiety of the loss of the medical card if an individual takes up employment or returns to work.

“This measure is therefore an important step to ensure that we are continually supporting persons with a disability to take up or remain in employment and be afforded every opportunity to realise their potential.”

The requirement that work be of a “rehabilitative nature” for the medical card earnings disregard purposes is also being dispensed with.

Minister of State with special responsibility for disabilities, Finian McGrath said; “An overriding objective of disability policy is to provide the person with a disability the opportunity to live a full and independent life with their family and as part of their local community.

“Today’s announcement supports that objective as access to paid employment is one of the greatest ways of allowing people to achieve this. I firmly believe that this objective is very important for each and every citizen of this country, and I will continue to work, as Minister, towards removing the barriers to employment for people with disabilities who wish to work.”

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