Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (654)

Seán Haughey

Question:

770 Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Health and Children the aims and objectives of the mobility allowance; the aims and objectives of the transport grant; if both can be paid by a health board to the same claimant; if a claimant in receipt of a mobility allowance can apply for the transport grant in order to replace their broken motorised wheelchair (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2100/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Health and Children)

The mobility allowance was introduced in 1979 by Circular 15/79 and is payable under section 61 of the Health Act 1970. Mobility allowance is payable by the health boards, subject to a means test, to persons with a severe disability. Applicants must be 16 years or older and under 66 years. The allowance provides financial support to eligible people who are unable to walk or use public transport and is intended to enable them to benefit from a change in surroundings, for example, by financing the occasional taxi journey.

Eligible persons must reside at home or in any long-stay facility. Such eligible persons can continue to receive payment after they reach the age of 66 years, provided they were receiving the allowance prior to their 66th birthday. Persons aged 66 years or over who apply are not eligible. The allowance is paid on a monthly basis.

A motorised transport grant, MTG, of up to 75% of the actual cost of purchasing-adapting a car, which takes into account the trade in value of a car being replaced, may be provided up to a limit of €4,575. Where a person qualifies for both the MTG and the disabled drivers and disabled passengers (tax concessions) scheme, the MTG grant payable should not exceed the net outlay incurred, taking into account the benefit of the disabled passengers (tax concessions) scheme.

The payment of a motorised transport grant is subject to the condition that the health board will not be called upon at any future date to contribute towards the running cost of the vehicle. In this context, a mobility allowance recipient cannot qualify for the motorised transport grant. Similarly, a person who has received the motorised transport grant in the previous three years cannot qualify for the mobility allowance.

Questions Nos. 771 and 772 answered with Question No. 197.