Increased Earnings Disregards for People in receipt of Disability Allowance

Increased Earnings Disregards for People in receipt of Disability Allowance
30 November 2018


People in receipt of disability allowance are to be allowed earn €427 a week without losing their medical card under measures being introduced today by Minister of State for Disability Finian McGrath and Minister for Health Simon Harris.

From the 1 December 2018, 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. 

This change is a key recommendation of the Make Work Pay for People with Disabilities report, published in 2017 – There were 24 recommendations in that report that would make work pay for people with disabilities.


The report found that the single greatest barrier to employment for people with disabilities is anxiety around losing their medical card. The measure being introduced today aims to address this and support people with disabilities to enter into employment.


Currently, single people on disability allowance lose their automatic entitlement to a medical card at a threshold of €313 a week – made up of a €193 social welfare payment and €120 from what they can earn at work.


According to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, 37 per cent of adults with a disability are in paid employment, compared with 73 per cent of the rest of the population.


Census 2016 indicates that the level of labour force participant amongst people with impaired vision in Ireland is only 24.4%. Therefore, less than 1 in 4 people with impaired vision are currently actively participating in the labour force. People with impaired vision have a 60% less chance of being in employment than the general population. These are truly alarming statistics which are completely avoidable.

An estimated 826 people of all forms of disability will immediately benefit from the introduction of the higher earnings threshold.