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IFA Rural Development Chairman Joe Brady has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar, that the Farm Assist income and child disregards reintroduced in last October’s Budget, will automatically apply to all recipients of the scheme from the 8th March next.

Joe Brady said the reversal of previous Budgets decision on the disregards was a welcome boost to low income farmers and avoiding a full means test reassessment at this stage is vitally important for the 8,000 farmers in receipt of this important payment (see county- by-county breakdown below).

Farm Assist will be worth €83m in 2017 and IFA estimates farmers who previously would not have qualified may now be eligible as income qualification limits drop.

The IFA Rural Development Chairman said that the 30% income disregard and the child disregards of €254 for the first two children and €381 for the third and subsequent child will mean a significant increase for some farmers.

As an example, where a farmer’s spouse is not working and they have no children, with an assessed farm income of €10,000, their farm assist increase will increase from €120.50/week to €186.50. This is as a result of 30% disregards, the €5/week increase in the personal rate of Social Protection payment and a €3.30 increase in the dependant rate. If there were dependent children, the payment level would be higher.

Joe Brady has also reminded farmers that 500 additional Rural Social Scheme places are available bringing the total number of places in this important social employment scheme to 3,100.

About Paddy Ryan

Paddy is your run of the mill, mild mannered lad from Tipperary. His love for sport and competing has brought him to Vienna and Padova as well as many other places to take part in marathons. Paddy loves writing about local politics and current affairs as well as claiming to be a sports guru. Paddy set up the Tipperary Times to bring fresh relevant information to the people of Tipperary and those who have left the green pastures of the Premier County but still want to know whats happening at home.