recipients of Disability Allowance and Blind Pension will be able to earn €165 per week and retain their full social welfare payment
up to 15,000 people with disabilities currently in employment / self-employment to benefit
change in thresholds will help put more money in people’s pockets
measure takes effect from first week in January
Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, has today signed regulations to provide for an increase to the earnings disregards for both the Disability Allowance and Blind Pension.
The regulations signed by the Minister today provide for an increase of €25, from €140 to €165, in the weekly earnings disregard (that is income ignored in the means test) for recipients of the Disability Allowance and Blind Pension.
Both the Disability Allowance and Blind Pension have been designed to support recipients to pursue employment opportunities, be that self-employment or insurable employment.
Currently, when a person is in employment, an income disregard of €140 per week is applied. In addition, 50% of earnings between €140 and €375 are also disregarded for the purpose of the means test.
The increase takes effect from the first week in January.
The increase means that:
any person in receipt of one of these payments can enter or return to employment and retain more of their payment
the approximately 15,000 people with disabilities currently in employment / self-employment (while in receipt of one of these payments) can retain more of their social welfare payment
The measure was announced as part of Budget 2023 and follows recommendations made as part of Indecon’s Cost of Disability research.
Example of how a person may benefit from the increase
Jim has a disability. He works part-time and earns €350 a week.
At present he would receive a Disability Allowance payment of €110.50 a week.
The increase in the income disregards, combined with the €12 increase in the weekly Disability Allowance payment, means Jim will receive an extra €24.50 per week from January in his Disability Allowance payment which will increase to €135 per week.
More on the announcement
Announcing the increase, Minister Humphreys said:
"I’m delighted to sign regulations today that will provide for an increase in the earnings for people with disabilities.
"This measure is all about supporting people with disabilities who wish to pursue employment opportunities.
"We anticipate that up to 15,000 people in receipt of either the Disability Allowance or Blind Pension will benefit.
"I’m pleased that this is the third successive Budget in which I’ve been able to increase the disregards.
"Raising the earnings disregards will help more people with disabilities who wish to enter or return to the workforce.”
Disability Allowance is a means-tested payment for people with a disability who are aged between 16 and 66. At the end of September 2022 there were 157,133 recipients of Disability Allowance.
There are approx. 14,800 people in receipt of Disability Allowance in employment or self-employment.
The Blind Pension is a means tested payment paid to blind and visually impaired people. At the end of September 2022, there were 1,049 recipients of Blind Pension.
There are approx. 50 people in receipt of the Blind Pension in employment/self-employment.
Budget 2021 saw an increase of €20 per week applied to the lower earnings disregard, for both payments. Increasing it from €120 to €140 per week.
Budget 2022 saw an increase of €25 per week applied to the upper earnings disregard, for both payments, increasing it from €350 to €375 per week.