Thursday, 5 March 2020
Department of Health
Transport Support Scheme
Two schemes, the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant, were put in place in 1979 and 1968 respectively, for operation by the Health Service Executive (HSE) at a time when there was limited availability of accessible public transport.
The Government decided to close these administrative schemes in 2013, on foot of the reports of the Ombudsman in 2011 and 2012 regarding the legal status of both Schemes in the context of the Equal Status Acts. The HSE has continued to pay an equivalent monthly payment on an interim basis, to those who were in receipt of the Mobility Allowance at the time that the Scheme closed.
Of the 4,700 individuals in receipt of the Mobility Allowance (€9 million per annum) when the Scheme closed in 2013, there were 3,831 people in receipt of the interim payments at July 2019. Of these recipients, 2,030 are in receipt of the full allowance rate of €208.50 per month.
There are improvements in access to a range of transport supports available to persons with disabilities in the State, for example the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers scheme, operated by the Revenue Commissioners; the Free Travel Scheme operated by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection; and CLÁR funding, approved by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, to voluntary organisations providing transport for people with significant mobility issues.
Under the National Disability Inclusion Strategy 2017 - 2021, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has responsibility for the continued development of accessibility and availability of accessible public transport.
While consideration of the issues regarding the provision of transport supports for people with a disability continues within the Department of Health, recent developments which will impact on policy options include the following:
- The ongoing progress by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in providing accessible public transport nationally and that Department's public consultation launched on 14 November last, to review active travel and public transport policy, including accessible public transport; and
- The Cost of Disability Study currently underway which was commissioned by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection as part of Budget 2019. The research, when complete, will inform policy direction in relation to the provision of adequate supports to meet the needs of people with disabilities, including transport costs, from a whole of Government perspective.