Budget 2017: What It Means for You?
Budget 2017 was announced today, October 11th 2016.
To help you identify how Budget 2017 may impact on you, National Traveller MABS have summarised some of the changes below. Some of the changes come into effect immediately. Others take effect in 2017.
Social Welfare Changes
Old Age Pension - Old age pension will rise by €5 a week from March 2017
Carer’s Allowance - Carers allowance is to increase by €5 from March 2017.
Disability Payment - Disability payment is to increase by €5 from March 2017.
Jobseekers' Benefit and Jobseekers Allowance - is to increase by up to €5 from March 2017.
Medical Cards - Medical card coverage will be extended to all children in receipt of the domiciliary care allowance.
Back-to-Education Allowance - The Back to Education allowance will be increased by €5 per week. The allowance will also be made available more quickly and will now be claimable after nine months rather than 12. Additionally parents returning to education will be entitled to a new “cost of education” allowance of €500 a year.
One Parent Family Payment - The one-parent family payment will be increased by €5 per week. The earning disregards for the one-parent family payment will rise by €20, from €90 to €110 per week, reversing previous reductions. The earnings disregard is used when assessing welfare payments- a certain amount of a person’s average net weekly earnings are not taken into account, this is called an earnings disregard. Increasing the disregard means that less will be assessed or taken into account from a person’s income when deciding what the maximum job-seekers’ payment or one-parent allowance claim can be.
Jobseeker’s Transition Payment - The earning disregard for the Jobseekers transition payment will rise by €20 from €90 to €110 per week, reversing previous reductions. The Earnings disregard is used to assessing welfare payments- a certain amount of a person’s average net weekly earnings are not taken into account, this is called an earnings disregard. Increasing the disregard means that less will be assessed or taken into account from a person’s income when deciding what the maximum job-seekers’ payment claim can be.
Christmas Bonus - There is to be an 85% restoration of the Christmas bonus paid to welfare recipients and pensioners. This equates to €159.80 for people on welfare and €196 for pensioners.
Tax and Income Changes
Minimum Wage - The minimum wage is to be increased by 10 cents to €9.25. Workers on the minimum wage will be exempted from Universal Social Charge. The 2.5 per cent rate of USC has been increased to €18,772 to ensure that those on the minimum wage are kept out of the top rate of USC.
The Self-Employed - Self-employed are to receive PRSI benefits for the first time. There is also a tax credit increase for the self-employed of €400, bringing it to €950.
Universal Social Charge - All workers will benefit from a cut in the Universal Social Charge. The three lowest rates of USC will be cut by 0.5pc each. The first €12,012 of earnings will be charged at 0.5% (a reduction of 0.5%). The USC on the next €6,656 will reduce from 3% to 2.5%. The USC on earnings on the next €51,376 will now be charged at 5 %, again a reduction of 0 .5%.
Additional Supports and Services
Traveller Accommodation - Minister for Housing Simon Coveney will detail a 64% increase in the budget for Traveller-specific accommodation, to €9m. This is separate from the general social housing budget.
Increase Investment in Education - Funding has been allocated for the employment of 1,400 new teachers, including resource teachers and special needs assistants. This will not reduce the pupil-teacher ratio but will keep pace with demographic demands.
Increase in Health Budget - The Health budget for 2017 is to be more than €14 billion. This includes funding for the employment of 1,000 nurses. A €35 million allocation has been granted for mental health services. This will include one major capital project, which is understood to be the reconstruction of St Ita's Hospital in Portrane.
Prescription Charges - Prescription charges have been reduced for the people over 70 years of age. The cap on monthly cost for the over-70s had been reduced to €20, from €25.
Childcare Support for Parents with Children Under 3 Years of Age - From September 2017, all parents with children aged between six months and three years of age who are in childcare will be entitled to as much as €900 a year, if the child is in 40 hours per week of childcare. The payment will be made directly to the childcare provider and will apply on a pro-rata basis of a State subsidy of 50 cent an hour of childcare. This would mean a child in care for 40 hours a week would receive an €80 subsidy a month.
The poorest families will receive €8,000 annually under the budget’s childcare arrangement. Minister for Children Katherine Zappone’s plan will see all parents, no matter what their income, receive some subsidy from the State. The targeted subsidies for the poorest will also apply to after-school care for children up to the age of 15.
The Garda Siochána - Funding has been secured for the employment of 800 extra Gardaí.
Cigarettes and Tobacco - A packet of cigarettes is to go up by 50%. From midnight the average packet of cigarettes will cost more than €11. Other tobacco products will also increase in price.