Cathaoirleach of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection, Denis Naughten TD, has said we must work towards a financial support system for family carers which is “designed around the care that is given and not how must is in the bank account of the husband or wife of a full-time carer”.
“The Social Protection Committee has received evidence of a carer with three profoundly disabled children who is ineligible for the Carer’s Allowance and this clearly indicates to me that the current eligibility test for this payment is little more than a ‘mean test’, denying people financial assistance to support them in providing such vital services to our society,” stated Denis Naughten.
“At present there are 116,000 full time carers in Ireland but only 89,000 are able to access Carers Allowance because the current means test assesses all income coming into the household, not just that of the family carer. Of the 89,000 who get the carers allowance almost half of them do not get the full amount because of other household income.
“Tomorrow the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection will hear direct evidence for the very first time from three family carers, some of whom will be addressing the Committee from their own home because up to now their role as a full-time carers did not facilitate them giving direct evidence.
“The Committee is reviewing the current means assessment system to ensure that Carers Allowance supports all those who make a such vital contribution to Irish society by performing work in acting as family carers.”
Denis Naughten pointed out it is important to recognise that Carer’s Allowance was not designed solely as an income support but to “recognise the importance of supporting as many older people, and people with a disability, as possible to remain in their own homes”.
He added: “This benefit was even more pronounced as a result of Covid-19, and we must ensure that the vital role they played during the pandemic is reflected in a proper support structure to protect our most vulnerable citizens.”
Watch the meeting live here: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/oireachtas-tv/cr3-live/ between 09:30-12:30 tomorrow (Wednesday) in Committee Room 3 or on the Oireachtas smartphone app for Apple and Android.
The following representatives are due to attend:
- Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy – Family Carers Ireland
- Clare Duffy, Policy and Public Affairs – Family Carers Ireland
- John Dunne, Chief Executive Officer – Family Carers Ireland
- Anna Buday, Family Carer – Family Carers Ireland
- Niamh Ryan, Family Carer – Family Carers Ireland
- Damien Douglas, Family Carer – Family Carers Ireland