REPORTS THAT GOVERNMENT WILL NOT INCREASE PAYMENTS FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES IN BUDGET ARE WORRYING
THE Government will leave people with disabilities behind if they restrict welfare increases to lone parents and older people, according to one of the country’s largest charities.
Rehab, Ireland’s largest independent charity for people with disabilities, says it is worried by reports that Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty will not seek to increase other payments, such as disability allowance, in the upcoming Budget.
Media reports suggest that Minister Doherty will demand a €5-a-week increase in old age pension, and introduce new measures for lone parents, but will not seek to have other social welfare payments increased.
Rehab says that people with disabilities are disappointed and troubled by the reports, which effectively confirms they will see no increase in their weekly social welfare payment in the upcoming Budget.
The organisation, which supports over 20,000 people, says the Government cannot treat people with disabilities like any other person who is unemployed and dependent on social welfare.
Kathleen O’Meara, Rehab’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs, says that while there should be no interest in pitching groups against each other, the position of people with disabilities is now dire.
Ms O’Meara said: “People with disabilities encounter all of the costs that everyone else does, as well as the additional costs of having a disability – things like medication, additional transport costs, extra heating expenses, specialist therapies, and specific dietary requirements.
“Over 119,000 people received Disability Allowance last year. To qualify you must be substantially restricted to undertake work. If Minister Doherty continues with her plans, these people will not get any increase in their weekly social welfare payment.
“Those who are on jobseekers payments have opportunities to secure employment. However, people with disabilities do not have the same opportunity. For those whose disabilities restrict them from working, they are consigned to the same low level of social welfare that applies to a person who is unemployed, but who can expect to find work in a buoyant economy.
“The Government must recognise the difference and provide for people with disabilities in Budget 2018,” Ms O’Meara added.
For additional information, please contact:
Martin Grant –012057268 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Rehab is a charity that champions the value of diversity and inclusion for people with a disability or disadvantage in their communities. Our mission is to help the people we serve to be more independent and to contribute to and be more included in their communities; empowering them with the skills and confidence to be active in the workforce, and supporting them to be in charge of their health and wellness. Over 20,000 people use Rehab’s services – children and adults with disability, people on the autism spectrum, and people with mental health difficulties and people who are disadvantaged in some way in the labour market. More than 3,200 employees deliver Rehab’s services in over 170 locations in Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales and Poland.