Expenditure on pensions and benefits for the elderly has increased by €50 million
Government expenditure on pensions and benefits for the elderly has increased by €50 million as a result of yesterday’s Budget. As a result of an annual €260 increase on pension, this will benefit 93,000 pensioners. Over and above the Government is to spend a further €2.7 million on those elderly with low pension income and those at risk of poverty. TVM spoke with the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry for the Family, Mark Musu’, who explained that since 2017 pensioners have benefited by an increase of almost €600 annually.
As from the beginning of next year pensioners will benefit from a €5 weekly increase with Musu’ stating that pensioners will benefit by €260 annually, that i retired pensioners, widows and those receiving invalidity pensions as well as those receiving a non-contributory pension. He explained this will not be the only benefit for pensioners because entitled to a non-taxable pension will increase to €14,085 while the combined computation for a married pensioner couple will be non-taxable to €17,658.
He said that for a married couple of pensioners previously the addition amount was €2,000 but this has now been increased to €3,600.
He further explained that supplementary benefits for those with low pensions will increase between €70 and €108 annually and this will cover 29,000 elderly persons. In addition, those at risk of poverty are to be given a further supplementary benefit of €150. To enable more elderly to remain in their community, the Budget has also taken care of those who need to have the services of a carer in their home, a measure that wall cost the Government €2 million.
Currently, the subsidy for a carer is €5,291 and this will rise to €6000, an increase of almost €700 annually.
Musu’ said the Budget has also taken care of those elderly without a pension, those elderly with less than five years of NI stamps and these will receive a bonus of €250 and those that have paid over five years of NI will receive a €350 bonus. He further explained that those elderly women born before 1962 that do not qualify for any pension, this has now been adjusted and they will begin received a reduced minimum pension. The injustice of those service employees has also been addressed and these will receive an additional €200 service pension, while widows who were in a civil union or were cohabiting will receive widow benefits.
Over and above pensions, Musu’ also mentioned an increase of beds at San Vincenz de Paule, in private homes for the elderly, the greater fulfilment of those services for the elderly in the community and a free Tal-Linja Card for those aged over 70.