New medical card measures allow Waterford people on disability allowance to earn 250% more

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New medical card measures allow Waterford people on disability allowance to earn 250% more

Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced a significant improvement to the medical card assessment process

Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced a significant improvement to the medical card assessment process which will enable Waterford persons in receipt of a disability allowance payment to have a greater earnings capacity and still retain their medical card.

From December 1, the medical card earnings disregard for persons in receipt of disability allowance will be significantly increased, from €120 to €427 per week and will apply to the assessment process for both single persons and to family assessments. 

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. 

“I am delighted to have overseen the implementation of one of the key recommendations of the Make Work Pay for Persons with Disabilities Report," Minister Harris said.

"This substantial increase in the earnings disregard will address one of the key barriers to employment for persons with a disability – that is the fear or anxiety of the loss of the medical card if an individual takes up employment or returns to work. 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."

Minister Harris was also pleased to note 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 - was implemented by the HSE in May 2017. 

Minister of State with special responsibility for disabilities Finian McGrath said: “An overriding objective of disability policy is 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.

"Today’s announcement supports that objective as access to paid employment is one of the greatest ways of allowing people to achieve this. I firmly believe that this objective is very important for each and every citizen of this country, and I will continue to work as minister towards removing the barriers to employment for people with disabilities who wish to work.”

HSE primary care reimbursement services' Anne Marie Hoey added: "The HSE welcomes the increase in medical card earnings disregard for persons in receipt of disability allowance. 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."

This initiative will be in place in advance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, which has the theme in 2018 of 'Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality'.