Written answers

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Code

Photo of Christopher O'SullivanChristopher O'Sullivan (Cork South West, Fianna Fail)
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114. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will consider a universal basic payment for persons with severe physical or mental disabilities who cannot work as a result in place of the means tested payment of disability allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23559/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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My Department provides a number of income supports for persons with a disability, these supports include the disability allowance (DA) scheme. It is important to note that entitlement to DA is not contingent on the nature of the disability but, subject to a number of other conditions, on the extent to which a particular disability impairs or restricts a person’s capacity for work.

The system of social assistance supports provide payments based on an income need. The means test plays a critical role in determining whether an income need arises as a consequence of a particular contingency – such as disability, unemployment or caring. This ensures that the recipient has a verifiable income need and that resources are targeted to those who need them most.

Disability allowance is a means-tested payment, legislation provides that the means test takes account of the income and assets of the person (and spouse/partner, if applicable) applying for the scheme. The means assessment reflects the fact that there is an expectation that people with reasonable amounts of income or capital are in a position to use these resources to support themselves so that social welfare expenditure can be directed towards those who need it most.

The Department is not currently considering a universal payment approach to replace the means testing of income supports, such as disability allowance.

Any change to the assessment of means for schemes, including for disability allowance, can only be considered within an overall budgetary context.


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