Pensions, inclusive of the cost of living adjustment, will rise by €4.50 per week, the Finance Minister announced in the Budget Speech.
Senior citizens will get a €2.17 weekly increase in their pensions added onto the additional €2.33 weekly they will receive as this year's cost of living adjustment increase.
The measure will benefit 92,000 pensioners and cost the government €21 million. Pensions will be tax-free for the first €13,400 in income.
Minister Edward Scicluna said that service pensions would rise by €200 while an adjustment in their computation will see some enjoy an increase of €11 per week.
Elderly people who did not accumulate enough social security contributions to benefit from a pension will see their allowance increase from the current €150 to €200 and from €250 to €300, depending on their eligibility.
Tax exemptions for third pillar pensions are to rise to €2,000.
The grant of €300 to those aged over 75 will be retained.
Government workers may postpone retirement
Public sector workers eligible to retire before 65 will be given the opportunity to postpone their retirement and benefit from increased pension allowances, as is already the case in the private sector.
The measure, which will bring government workers on a par with their private sector counterparts, follows a ruling by the Ombudsman, which found that the government was discriminating against its own workers in the way it implemented the scheme first unveiled during the Budget 2016 speech.
The Finance Minister said the government will next year continue to issue compensation for injustices suffered by those who used to work in labour corps. €11.4m will be spent for the purpose next year.
The government is also planning to reissue more saving bonds for the elderly, in view of their popularity.
Disability allowances up
Persons with a disability who are unable to work will get a €10 raise in their allowance to €150 per week, with more becoming eligible for this assistance.
The allowance for children with disability will rise by €5 to €25 per week.
The Carers’ Allowance for those who live with their elderly parents will also be raised - to between €90 and €140 per week - with no means testing. There will be no medical assessment when the elderly person being cared for is over 85 year old.
Members of the police, army or civil protection department who are permanently disabled or killed while in the line of duty will find it easier to seek compensation for their loss, with a structured compensation system introduced.
The system was developed after PC Simon Schembri lost a limb in a horrific hit-and-run incident.
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