People on disability allowance will be allowed earn €427 a week and keep medical card

Workers can earn up to €427 per week without anxiety of losing medical card

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath:   measures will support people with disabilities to enter into employment or increase their employment capacity. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath: measures will support people with disabilities to enter into employment or increase their employment capacity. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

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People in receipt of disability allowance are to be allowed earn up to €427 a week and still keep their medical card under measures to be introduced today.

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath and Minister for Health Simon Harris will announce changes today to the medical card system to give effect to a key recommendation of the Make Work Pay for People with Disabilities report, which was published in April 2017.

According to the Department of Social Protection, 37 per cent of adults with a disability are in paid employment, compared with 73 per cent of the rest of the population.

The report said one of the key barriers to employment for people with disabilities was anxiety around losing access to the medical card.

Currently, single people on disability allowance lose their automatic entitlement to a medical card at a threshold of €313 a week – made up of a €193 social welfare payment and €120 from what they can earn at work.

An estimated 826 people will immediately benefit from the introduction of the higher earnings threshold of €427 a week.

Measures

Mr McGrath said the measures will support people with disabilities to enter into employment or increase their employment capacity.

The Minister of State and Independent TD for Dublin North said addressing disincentives to work, such as the perceived loss of a medical card, is just one of the many steps to ensure people with disabilities take up employment.

“Work is so much more than a pay cheque at the end of the week or month.

“It helps to connect us, all of us, socially, from the occasional after-work engagement on a Friday evening to, at this time of year, the staff Christmas party,” said Mr McGrath.

“All individuals, regardless of disability, deserve the opportunity to be full, active members of their communities, where they can live, learn, work and socialise through all stages of their lives.

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