Welcome changes which allow self-employed people with sufficient PRSI contributions to access Invalidity Pension came into effect on December 1st last.
The economic crash of 2007 exposed just how vulnerable self-employed people are in terms of the lack of a social welfare safety net and one of my priorities on election last year was to ensure that more provisions were put in place to support self-employed people, particularly in cases where people are no longer able to work.
During the negotiations on the Programme for Government this was one issue constantly highlighted by members of the Independent Alliance and I am delighted to see it coming to fruition this month.
Invalidity Pension is a weekly payment paid to people who are covered by social insurance (PRSI) and who cannot work because of a long-term illness or disability. Invalidity Pension is taxable but those in receipt of it are entitled to a free travel pass and may also get additional social welfare benefits, such as the Household Benefits Package.
Budget 2018 saw the weekly rate of Invalidity Pension increase by €5, with proportional increases for qualified adults. In addition, the weekly rate for a qualified child will increase by €2 from €29.80 to €31.80. These increases will take effect from the week beginning 26 March 2018.
Further measures are needed to support self-employed people and I will continue to press for changes to ensure that self-employed people who have paid into the system during their working lives have supports available in the event that they have to give up work.