Conscious of the reports of the Ombudsman regarding the legal status of both the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant Schemes in the context of the Equal Status Acts, the Government decided to close both schemes. Both schemes remain closed.
However, the Government also decided that monthly payments will continue to be made by the Health Service Executive to 4,700 people who were in receipt of the Mobility Allowance at the time that the scheme closed, on the basis that this would prevent hardship and, on an interim basis, alleviate stress, anxiety and uncertainty among a vulnerable group in society.
The Government decided that the detailed preparatory work required for a new Transport Support Scheme and associated statutory provisions should be progressed by the Minister for Health. The Department is seeking a solution which would best meet the aim of supporting people with severe disabilities who require additional income to contribute towards the cost of their mobility needs, while remaining within the available budget and satisfying all legal and equality concerns.
Work is ongoing on the policy proposals to be brought to Government for the drafting of primary legislation for a new Scheme. The proposals seek to ensure that:
- There is a firm statutory basis to the Scheme's operation;
- There is transparency and equity in the eligibility criteria attaching to the Scheme;
- Resources are targeted at those with the greatest needs; and
- The Scheme is capable of being costed and it is affordable on its introduction and on an ongoing basis.