A health check of your personal situation could place more money in your pocket.
New Year is traditionally a time to reflect and to plan ahead. I see it as a great opportunity to check that you are receiving the correct Government benefits and reliefs for your personal situation. There were many changes and extensions to entitlements that you may have missed during 2023. I want to make sure that you know what these are. And if they match your situation, you could end up with more money in your pocket.
€500 / €750 Rent Tax Credit
Starting with your housing situation: Are you renting, or paying the rent for a student? There is a Rent Tax Credit available to a maximum value €1,000 per year for jointly assessed couples and €500 for individuals. This is to increase further in 2024 and it is worth following the step-by-step guide on Revenue.ie if this credit applies to you.
Also, for private sector renters and landlords, there is a new tax incentive to encourage small-scale landlords to undertake retrofitting works while the tenant remains in situ. This measure provides for a tax deduction of up to €10,000 per property, for certain retrofitting expenses incurred by the landlord, for a maximum of two rental properties. See Revenue.ie for full details.
Free Warmer Home Scheme
Staying with housing: Do you own your home; does it have a Building Energy Rating of C or below, was it built before 2006 and are you in receipt of a social welfare payment? If yes, you may qualify for fully funded home energy upgrades, known as the Warmer Homes Scheme. Waiting times for this scheme have reduced significantly in recent months, so get your name down - if you’re not on the list you’ll never reach the top of it. The average value of the upgrades provided in 2023 was €24,000 which represents a significant investment in these properties.
Energy efficiency is a great way to save on bills. If you don’t qualify for a free upgrade, remember that you can avail of an up to 80% grant for home insulation. This is a great first step to make towards a warmer, and more economical home. See SEAI.ie for more information.
Go Solar for 2024 with state backed, low interest loan
If you are setting New Year resolutions, consider joining the Solar revolution in Ireland. There are now over 75,000 registered microgenerators across Ireland, most of which are generating their own electricity through Solar PV and saving on their energy bill.
Planning permission has been scrapped for the majority of domestic solar panels, VAT has been abolished on their purchase and households can now sell any excess electricity they generate back to the national grid. Early in 2024, most commercial lenders will offer State backed low cost loans which work in tandem with SEAI grants to help you pay for the initial cost of home energy upgrades and renewable energy installations.
Free GP visits
Moving on to health care, all children up to 7 years are eligible for free GP visits. Recent changes to the eligibility criteria for the GP Visit Card for those aged 8 to 69 years means that many in this age bracket are also eligible. Both your income and outgoings are considered so check out your eligibility on mymedicalcard.ie.
There has been an expansion of the free contraception scheme to include women aged 31. This scheme is open to women, girls and non-binary people, who are ordinarily resident in Ireland and for whom deemed suitable by their doctors.
It is important to let your energy supplier and/or Uisce Éireann know if you are a vulnerable customer. Examples of reasons you may be eligible include if you are particularly vulnerable to disconnection during winter months due to your age or physical, sensory, intellectual or mental health. This particularly applies if you are critically dependent on electrically powered equipment or water supply. You can register as a vulnerable customer with your supplier and Uisce Eireann.
Electricity suppliers are required to ensure that all registered vulnerable customers are on the most economic tariff available for their chosen payment method and billing format. Please keep an eye on my website pippahackett.ie where I will continue to add new information to this list.
Changes That Come Into Effect in January 2024
🟢 From 1st January, carers can get the equivalent of paid contributions (Long-Term Carer’s Contributions) for periods of over 20 years spent caring for an incapacitated dependent. This makes it easier for them to qualify for a State Pension (Contributory) when they reach pension age.
🟢 The age of eligibility for 50% reduction in transport fares increases to 25 years with a Young Adult Leap Card.
🟢 There is a series of social protection payment increases that will take effect from January 1st:
- €12 increase in weekly payments – supporting pensioners, carers and people with disabilities and low income families
- €54 per week increase in Working Family Payment thresholds
- €10 increase in the monthly rate of Domiciliary Care Allowance
- €4 increase for Qualified Child in payments in respect of children of social welfare recipients
🟢 Confirmed €1.3 billion income tax package and range of measures to support businesses will come into effect on January 1st:
- Changes to main tax credit, USC rates and Standard Rate Cut-off point
- Rent Tax credit increased to €750
- Enhancements to Research & Development tax credit, Employment Investment Incentive, Start-up Capital Incentive and Start-Up Relief for Entrepreneurs (SURE)
🟢 New eligibility criteria to the Incremental Tenant Purchase Scheme which enables tenants to purchase the local authority home they live in will take effect from 29 January 2024, meaning those with an annual income of €11,000 will now be eligible to apply.
Need Help in Applying?
If you have any difficulty in applying or need more information, you are invited to contact my team:
We will be monitoring emails and phone calls every day, excl. public holidays and weekends over the start of 2024. Email email@example.com or call
(01) 618 3390.
Remember also that Citizen’s Information runs a wonderful, free service and for anyone with any money concerns as we enter a new year, please consider the very supportive MABS service. Both services are for everybody and are entirely confidential.
Citizens' Information has created a number of guides to entitlements for those over 60 years, those with a disability and school leavers, available here
All that’s left is for me to wish you a very fulfilling new year and I look forward to working with and for you in 2024.