ALONE calls for Budget 2022 to be the budget that finally supports older people now and in the future

Dublin, 7th September 2021: ALONE, the organisation that supports older people to age safely and securely at home, has today launched its Budget 2022 submission, ‘Future-proofing Ireland for Older People’. The organisation has put forward a number of recommendations across social protection, housing, health and loneliness that aims to support Ireland’s current and future older demographic.

Ireland’s over 65 population is expected to reach nearly 1 million by 2031, with ALONE stating increased investment is needed across health, social protection and housing in the long-term. The organisation has highlighted that a lack of investment is negatively impacting quality of life for an ageing demographic.

Speaking on ALONE’s Budget 2022 submission, CEO Seán Moynihan commented; “ALONE has put forward a number of measures that we believe puts in place the necessary supports and plans for an ageing demographic. We believe that Budget 2022 should be the budget that lifts older people above the poverty line, addresses current and future housing needs and supports older people to age in place.

“We know that the recommendations proposed by ALONE are not possible without investment, but these measures are necessary and will save the state in the long-term.

“We believe that Budget 2022 presents an opportunity. It is an opportunity to support ageing. Older people deserve the choice to age at home. Older people deserve a State Pension that provides an income above the poverty line. Older people deserve the right to home care. Older people deserve this much and more.”

ALONE’sBudget 2022 submission recommendations include;

  • Increase the State Pension by €10.50, triple-lock and implement benchmarking. An older person on the Contributory State Pension is €38.18 below the poverty line. ALONE believe that the State Pension should be triple-locked at 35% of average weekly earnings, 2.5% annually, or the rate of inflation, whichever is greater. Triple-locking the State Pension will not only help to ensure that older people can receive an adequate income, but also protects pensions when average earnings drop. There is a commitment to setting the State Pension at 34/35% of average weekly earnings in the Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018 – 2023 and benchmarking pension payments in the Roadmap for Social Inclusion 2020 – 2025.
  • Set the Fuel Allowance season to 32-weeks and increase by €4 per week to minimise the impact of the Carbon Tax and energy supplier increases on households in fuel poverty. The Fuel Allowance eligibility criteria should also be reviewed.
  • Reconfigure the Telephone Support Allowance to a Telephone and Technology Support Allowance to help support older people to access digital technology. This Allowance should also be increased by €5 to €7.50.
  • An Older Person Technology Grant of €250 to help support older people to buy technology such as e-Health devices, voice enabled devices, emergency response alarms, tablets or smart phone devices and smart home sensors.
  • Introduce legislation on a statutory homecare.
  • Keep the pension age at 66.
  • Provide a path towards long-term lease agreements to ensure security of tenure. There are workarounds to perceived constitutional issues. Incentivize right-sizing. 59,462 homes are needed for older people who choose right-sizing which is key to ensuring housing is accessible to all and supports ageing in place.
  • 45,905 supportive housing units are needed through social housing. This is a housing target aligned to the changing demographics over the next 10 years, equating to 4,590 units per year.
  • €84.5 million per year over the next 10 years via the Home Adaptation Grants (through the Housing Aid for Older People Scheme) to support older people to upgrade their homes to age-friendly standards.