Written answers

Thursday, 16 November 2023

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Code

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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169. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection to respond to concerns raised in respect of the carers allowance (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [50405/23]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Carer's Allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

In order to qualify, applicants must show that they are habitually resident in the State, that their means are less than the statutory limit, that they are providing full-time care and attention, and that the person being cared for requires that level of care.

Means are any income belonging to the carer and their spouse / civil partner / cohabitant, property, (except their own home) or an asset that could bring in money or provide them with an income - for example, occupational pensions, or pensions or benefits from another country.

The conditions attached to payment of CA are consistent with the overall conditions that apply to social assistance payments generally. This system of social assistance supports provides payments based on an income need with the means test playing a critical role in determining whether or not an income need arises as a consequence of a particular contingency - be that illness, disability, unemployment or caring.

Social welfare legislation provides that, for social assistance schemes, income and capital (such as savings, investments and property other than the family home) belonging to the claimant and his or her partner, where applicable, is assessable for means assessment purposes.

The means test for CA has been significantly eased over the years and is now one of the most generous means tests in the Social Welfare system. As part of Budget 2022, additional measures were implemented to allow carers have a higher weekly household income and a higher level of savings, and still qualify for a CA payment. This included an increase in the income disregard from €332.50 to €350 for a single person, and from €665 to €750 for a couple, effective from 2 June 2022. In addition, the amount of capital disregarded in the means test increased from €20,000 to €50,000.

Once the applicant exceeds the disregard, the amount of CA to which hey are entitled begins to reduce until they no longer qualify. This is not on a euro for euro basis. When assessing means for CA, the gross income is assessed and the following is disregarded:

  • Employee PRSI
  • Superannuation (pension payments)
  • AVC’s
  • PRD
  • Union dues
  • And a €15 p/w travel amount (where applicable)
Please be advised that unless an individual applies for CA, we cannot say for certain if the person concerned would qualify for payment, what they will receive or whether their means is within the statutory limit.

As no application has been received by my Department from the person concerned, a CR1 Application form has been posted to the person. If the person in question wishes to make an application, they should complete and return the application form to Carer’s Allowance Section in the Social Welfare Services Office, Longford, as soon as possible.

I trust this clarifies the position for you at present.


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