Farm Ireland

Thursday 25 April 2019

Over 6,500 farmers on Farm Assist to get Christmas Bonus next week

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Christmas Bonus will be paid to over 6,500 Farm Assist recipients next week (commencing Monday 3 December), with payments totalling €1.3m being to farmers in the Scheme.

Farm assist is a means-tested income support scheme for farmers. To qualify for the payment, a customer must be a farmer, farming land in the State, aged between 18 and 66 and satisfy a means test.

The 2018 Revised Estimates for the Department of Social Protection provide for expenditure of approximately €74.1m on the farm assist scheme.

Budget 2018 provided for a €5 per week increase in rate of payment for farm assist and the maximum rate increased from €193 to €198 per week.

The means test for farm assist takes account of all income sources with certain disregards applicable to specific income sources.

Different rules apply to income from farming and other forms of self-employment. Income from certain schemes such as the Green Low Carbon Agri Environment Scheme (GLAS), income from employment and income from property and capital are taken into account.

An examination of farm outgoings is also included in the assessment process.

Budget 2017 fully reversed the previous cuts to the Farm Assist means test.

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The changes included that 70pc of farm income is now assessed as means, down from 100pc being assessed as means (which is equivalent to a 30pc income disregard) and an additional annual means disregard of €254 for each of the first two children and €381 for the third and subsequent children.

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