Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (1143)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony


1143. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health the estimated savings in 2019 from the abolition of the rehabilitative training allowance; and the estimated full-year cost of excluding new entrants from it in 2019. [31829/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE’s New Directions policy seeks to reconfigure and personalise HSE funded adult day services to offer a flexible and individualised set of supports to enable each person to live a life of their choosing in accordance with their own wishes and needs.

Rehabilitative Training (RT) Programmes are designed to equip participants with basic personal, social and work-related skills. Approximately 2,300 people attend RT programmes, with 400 new attendees due to start this coming September. Payable in addition to Disability Allowance, the RT Bonus payment is currently payable at a rate of €31.80 per week to attendees of these RT Programmes, who can attend for a period of up to 4 years. The RT Bonus was introduced in 2001, aligned with a similar FÁS Training Bonus. This FÁS Training Bonus later became the Solas Vocational Training Programme payment, which was reduced in 2011 and discontinued in 2012.

Over the next four years, from September 2019, the RT Bonus will not apply to new attendees. The money that would have been spent on the bonus, estimated at approximately €3.7 million over the four years, will be redirected to address unmet need in day service provision for people with disabilities. This measure will have no impact on current participants as their payments will continue until they complete their 4 year programme. Importantly, the phasing out of the RT Bonus will mean that HSE Community Healthcare Organisations will have some funding to reallocate towards increasing the number of days per week available to those who did not receive a full service during the recession, or who are on a waiting list for a day service.

The phasing out of this Bonus payment by the HSE will ensure more people have access to a day service on an equitable basis, consistency in treatment of all day service users and maximise the use of finite resources.