A Waterford Councillor says new medical card measures will allow people on disability allowance to earn 250% more.
Workers can now earn up to €427 a week and still keep their medical card under new measures introduced on the first of December.
Fine Gael Councillor John Cummins told WLR News that it’s a significant increase:
“This increase of more than 250% 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. This is something I have engaged with the minister on and I am delighted that my representations which are in line with key recommendations of the Make Work Pay for Persons with Disabilities Report have been taken on board”.
“This substantial increase in the earnings disregard will address one of the key barriers to employment for persons with a disability. There is a long standing fear and anxiety around the loss of the medical card if an individual takes up employment or returns to work. I have met individuals and families in my role as a councillor who have varying levels of disability and in many cases the major impediment to them taking on more work was the fear of losing their medical card which they rely on for medication and various other supports. 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”.
Cllr. Cummins added that another recommendation of the report – to dispense with the requirement that work be of a “rehabilitative nature” for the medical card earnings disregard purposes has also been implemented by the HSE and this is already proving beneficial to those in receipt of disability allowance.
“The overriding objective of disability policy should be 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. I firmly believe last week’s announcement supports that objective as access to paid employment is one of the greatest ways of allowing people to achieve this.”
Cllr. Cummins concluded by saying “All persons in receipt of the payment and who do not currently have medical card eligibility can apply either online or by completing an application form.”