Anne Egan of Age Action Louth has voiced the advocacy group’s concern at new legislation which changes the eligibility age of and the size of grants available to people wanting to avail of the scheme.
Anne Egan of Age Action Louth says the new legislation could hinder older people who wish to stay in their homes.
The new age for eligibility for the grant is to change from 60 to 66 years of age, while the income threshold for receipt of the grant is to remain at €60,000.
The amount of money made available in each case is expected to be hit. Grants of up to €30,000 are available under the housing adaptation scheme for structural changes. Amounts between €6,000 and €10,500 are available under the other schemes.
Also assessors will now take into account the income of anyone in a household over the age of 18 for means assessment purposes.
“Our real concern is that this will make it more difficult for older people and people with disabilities to remain living in their own homes, especially those who are seriously ill or frail”, says Anne. “It makes sense for people to invest in their own homes, and from a government point of view it is cheaper to have people living at home then in State care in nursing homes.
The details of the cutbacks are set out in a circular from the Department of the Environment from December, it is reported today, and local authorities were told on Monday they were to be be implemented immediately.
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin called for the publication of the circular and said that this was part of an “unacceptable targeting of older people again”.