Dáil debates

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Care Services

9:10 pm

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

My Department provides a range of income supports to full-time carers, including carer’s allowance, carer’s benefit, domiciliary care allowance and the carer’s support grant. Combined spending on these payments to carers in 2022 is estimated to exceed €1.5 billion. A primary qualifying condition for these carer payments is that the applicant provides full-time care and attention to a person in need of such care. The person being cared for must be so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention and be likely to require this full-time care and attention for at least 12 months. However, to support a carer’s continued attachment to the workforce and broader social inclusion, carers may engage in some employment, education or training while still being regarded as being in a position to provide full-time care. In these circumstances they can continue to receive their full payments. The maximum period in which a person may engage in employment, education and training is 18.5 hours per week. I consider that limit of 18.5 hours to represent a reasonable balance between meeting the care recipient's requirement for full-time care and the carer's need to maintain contact with the workforce.

In addition to income supports, my Department has utilised the Dormant Accounts Fund to support projects that promote training and support for family carers. These projects include the provision of structured training, information and support networks, including the development of support groups to assist with transition at the end of the caring role. The projects are selected as part of a competitive process organised by Pobal. The Department provides a wide range of employment-related supports for all jobseekers. These include delivery of the State’s public employment service, which is delivered through the Department’s nationwide network of Intreo centres and by contractors such as the local employment service.


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