I welcome the extension of the “rent a room” relief to people in receipt of Social Welfare who wish to rent out a spare room in their home.
For the next two years a person renting a room in their home to a person who is not an employee, or an immediate family member, will have up to €14,000 of rental income disregarded in the assessment of means to qualify for weekly social assistance payments, increases for qualified adults, the Working Family Payment and Supplementary Allowance.
This will be of particular benefit to older people who can now receive €269.23 in weekly rent for a room, equal to €14,000 per annum, without it having an impact on their Non-Contributory State pension or the spouse or adult dependent of a contributory pensioner.
The Regional Group of Independent TDs put forward a proposal last month, taken up by Government, to change the Social Welfare means assessment to allow Social Welfare recipients, many of them older people with a spare room, to be able to hold on to the rent.
The rent relief for welfare recipients has initially been introduced for a two-year period up to March 2025, and it is hoped it will not only provide vital housing accommodation but may also be of benefit to the older person by providing companionship.