Minister for Health Simon Harris has said that changes to the Medical Card assessment process for people with disabilities is "good news for society and good news for employers".

The changes remove the barriers to work by allowing people in receipt of Disability Allowance payments to earn €427 per week without losing their medical card.

The change represents a 250% increase on the previously allowed figure of €120 per week.

The new threshold kicks in from tomorrow, 1 December, and applies to both single and family assessments.

Disabilities organisation Rehab Group has welcomed the measure, describing it as a "step in the right direction".

A Rehab spokesperson said: "Ireland has the second highest gap in employment levels for persons with disabilities in the EU.

"We welcome this announcement as a welcome first step in supporting persons with a disability to take up or remain in employment, but there is a lot more to be done to remove the many barriers and open the way for people with disabilities in the workforce."

By Laura Hogan