I have only all good news to declare to get you in a better humour for Christmas.

Christmas Bonus

The Department of Social Protection will be paying out a 25% Christmas Bonus this December to recipients of Carer’s Allowance, Disability Allowance, Domiciliary Care allowance and certain other entitlement payments.

Child benefit

The rate of Child Benefit will increase by €5 to €135 per month for each child from January 2015.

Water Charges

New Domestic Water Charges structure in place starting on the 1st of January 2015. Water services charges are now capped at a maximum annual amount until the end of 2018. Billing will start from April 2015 and bills will normally be issued quarterly. Water services for children is free and a household with one adult will pay €160 per year for water supply and waster services. For household of two or more adult will pay €260. There will be a water conservation grant of €100 per year that will be available through Irish Water.

Medical Card

People who are issued with a discretionary medical card will no longer be subject to scrutiny reviews, before it reaches its expiry date. This government move is part of a promise to make the application process and renewal of discretionary cards more “sympathetic and humanitarian.”

Overall the trend of cuts to entitlements has stopped for now and lets hope 2015 brings back the level of payments we had before the recession.