Farm Assist Map of Ireland
The main benefits for farmers from Budget 2017 are the total reversal of cuts to the Farm Assist programme and an expansion of the Rural Social Scheme in Budget 2017.
The reversal in the cutbacks to Farm Assist will be worth as much as €40 per week to farm families. Even though the number of farm families in receipt of the payment is relatively small, it gives peace of mind and reassurance to other farmers, that there is a safety net there for them if they encounter difficulties.
Farm income and other income from off-farm self-employment will be assessed at 70%, down from 100% for Farm Assist, with additional annual disregard of €254 for each of the first two children and €381 for the third and other children.
€5 increase in weekly rate of Farm Assist and €3.30 increase for adult dependant was also announced.
Minister Leo Varadkar announced the provision of 500 more places on Rural Social Schemes, bringing the total number of places from 2,600 to 3,100.
The Invalidity Pension eligibility is being extended to the self-employed, including farmers.
And entitlement to Dental, Optical and Hearing Aid Benefits is being extended to the self-employed including farmers. Farmers will qualify for extended range of Dental and Optical Benefits from later in 2017.