Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (1144)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony


1144. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Health when he was informed of the decision to close the rehabilitative training allowance for persons with disabilities due to start rehabilitative training in 2019; if he approved the decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31830/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE provide Day Services, including Rehabilitative Training, to over 27,000 people. Presently, approximately 2,300 of these people attend Rehabilitative Training for a period of 4 years and can receive a weekly bonus of up to €31.80 per week while participating. This bonus payment was introduced in 2001, aligned with a similar FÁS Training Bonus, which has since been discontinued.

There was minimal or no investment in Day Services during the recession, which resulted in a number of people receiving a part time Day Service or no Day Service at all. From 2015 onwards, there has been annual investment in Day Services for school leavers and those exiting RT programmes, but no investment to support those who had received a reduced level of Day Services in earlier years.

Government’s priority is to provide access to high quality day services to as many people with disabilities as possible. As Minister for Persons with Disabilities, I approved the discontinuing of the RT Bonus Payment for new entrants from September 2019 on 12th March 2019. Savings from the RT Bonus payment are to be used to invest in Day Services and supports for people with disabilities who currently have a partial Day Service or no Day Service. The current recipients of the RT Bonus will not be affected and their payments will continue until they complete their 4 year programme.

It should be noted that most people with disabilities are now in receipt of the Disability Allowance paid through the Department of Social Protection. Historically, this allowance was not available to all persons attending RT. The removal of the RT Bonus will bring equity and consistency between people with a disability attending HSE RT schemes and trainees, including those with a disability, in other State schemes such as further education and training schemes and importantly provide a service to individuals who have reduced or no service.