The fuel allowance will go up by €5 per week to €33 in tomorrow’s budget, and more people will qualify as the criteria is to be changed.
Those on the basic supplementary welfare allowance will only have to wait 12 months before they qualify for the payment instead of the current 15 months under the changes, and the income thresholds for pensioners will also increase, considerably widening the net in relation to who can claim the fuel allowance.
The living alone allowance is also set to increase, by €3 per week.
On top of this, the full Christmas bonus will be paid this year, at a cost of €350m.
Thousands of people caring for loved ones are to receive the carers allowance for the first time as part of Budget 2022.
The Government is set to unveil a significant package for carers that is “reflective of the year and half” that this group has endured.
The means test for the carers allowance will change for the first time in 14 years, meaning thousands of more people, including those who look after elderly relatives or parents who care for children with disabilities, will qualify for the payment for the first time.
Currently, a person can only receive carers allowance if their spouse or partner earns €665 a week or less. That threshold is to be upped to €750 a week.
The cap on savings a person has in order to qualify for the benefit will also increase, meaning people will be able to have around €50,000 in the bank and still receive the support.
It is understood that changes will also be made to the means test for disability supports.
Social protection minister Heather Humphreys has been given an extra €350m to cover across-the-board increases such as the €5 extra on the State pension. A further €200m has been allocated for targeted increases.
Young workers are to benefit from a change in a scheme that provides dental, optical, and aural services. Workers will now qualify for the benefit once they have made 39 weeks of PRSI contributions — a considerable drop on the 260 weeks that is currently required.
Parents will welcome a €10 increase on the back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance. The criteria will also be equalised, meaning single-parent families and two-parent households will have the same income threshold applied. Currently, a couple with one child can earn up to €608 a week and get the back-to-school allowance. However, the threshold for a single parent with one child is capped at €443.
Other measures include:
- An increase in the domiciliary care allowance from three months to six months;
- A €500 grant for wigs for cancer and alopecia patients, under an expansion of the treatment benefit scheme;
- A €1 per hour increase in wage subsidies to employers who take on people with disabilities, bringing the hourly support to €6.50.