Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (43, 83)

Richard Boyd Barrett


43. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Health his plans to review the mobility allowance for persons over 66 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48892/12]

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Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


83. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the way he intends to address the refusal by his Department of mobility allowance to persons over 66 years of age; if he will immediately remove the age restrictions; if he will provide for retrospective payment to all those entitled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48958/12]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 83 together.

This matter requires further consideration by Government in order to meet the requirements of the Equal Status Acts and to ensure no hardship for those currently in receipt of the Mobility Allowance. The Department of Health is seeking further legal advice as to the options available to the Government.

The Ombudsman is asking the Department to remove the upper age limit as a condition of the Mobility Allowance scheme with immediate effect; authorise the Health Service Executive (HSE) to reconsider the application for complaints in the report without taking account of the upper age limit; and instruct the HSE to reconsider applications since 1 April 2011, which were refused solely on the basis of the upper age limit, without regard to the upper age limit.

The Department is not in a position to amend the circular relating to the Mobility Allowance as recommended in the report. The recommendations, if implemented, would ignore the very serious financial constraints on the Department, the HSE and the State generally. Implementation of the recommendations would create liabilities that the State could not afford.