Thursday, 18 November 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
264. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the target month and year she is working to for the publication of the cost of disability research; the reason the report has not yet been published; and the actions that have been taken on foot of the report since she received it. [56625/21]
My Department commissioned Indecon International Consultants to carry out research into the cost of disability in Ireland. The Programme for Government commits the Government to use this research into the cost of disability to individuals and families to properly inform the direction of future policy.
This matter is significantly wider than the income support system which is why a whole-of-Government perspective is being taken. There is not a single typical ‘cost of disability’, rather there is a spectrum from low additional costs to extremely high extra costs of disability, depending on the individual circumstances of the person with a disability. Additional costs of disability go across a number of areas of expenditure including housing; equipment, aids and appliances; mobility, transport and communications; medicines; care and assistance services and additional living expenses.
The report has been received and my Department has been considering it in detail. As part of this consideration, the Department briefed and sought the views of relevant Government departments which have a role to play in the delivery of disability services and supports.
This process is now complete and I intend to submit the report to Government for consideration shortly. A decision regarding the appropriate date of publication will be made once Government has had an opportunity to consider the report fully.
The supports and services for people with a disability are continually reviewed by my Department. As part of Budget 2022, I announced a number of improvements, including specific changes to Disability Allowance and the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS), as follows:
- €5 increase in the maximum weekly rate of Disability Allowance, with proportionate increases for people receiving a reduced rate.
- An increase in the earnings threshold above which means is fully assessed by €25 from €350 to €375 per week, for Disability Allowance (and Blind Pension), effective from June 2022.
- An increase in the general weekly means disregard entry point for Disability Allowance from €2.50 to €7.60. Increasing this to €7.60 will bring the weekly means disregard for Disability Allowance in line with Blind Pension, One Parent Family and Carer’s Allowance. The effect of this measure will be to increase the weekly rate of payment by up to €5 per week for Disability Allowance recipients who have means.
- The Wage Subsidy Scheme base subsidy paid to employers who employ people with a disability will increase from €5.30 to €6.30 per hour from January 2022.
I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.