Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (622)

Martin Heydon


622. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration will be given to increasing the hours a carer can work per week from 15 to 18.5 hours; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39971/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The main income supports for carers provided by my Department include Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit, Domicillary Care Allowance and the Carer's Support Grant.  Spending on these payments in 2019 is expected to exceed €1.2 billion.

Carer's Allowance is a means-tested payment for carers who look after certain people in need of full-time care and attention on a full time basis.  As of end of August 2019, there were 82,223 people in receipt of Carer's Allowance.  The projected expenditure on Carer's Allowance in 2019 is almost €840 million.  

A primary qualifying condition for the Carer’s Allowance payment is that the applicant provides full-time care and attention to a person in need of such care.  However, in order to support a carers continued attachment to the workforce and broader social inclusion, carers may engage in some limited employment, education or training, while still being regarded as being in a position to provide full-time care.  During this time of employment, education or training, adequate provision must be made for the care of the relevant person.  Both the full-time care and attention requirement and the 15-hour limitation are contained in the respective legislative provisions of the Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and Carer’s Support Grant schemes.

As part of Budget 2006,the number of hours per week that carers could engage in employment, education or training outside the home was increased from 10 to 15 hours per week.  

Any further changes to this condition would need to be considered in a budgetary context and would also need to maintain a reasonable balance between the requirement to provide full-time care for the care recipient and the needs of the carer.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.