In Budget 2020, I announced that recipients of Carer’s payments would be allowed to increase the number of hours they can work, study or attend a training course, outside the home, from 15 to 18.5 hours per week. Those in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and the Carer’s Support Grant can avail of this change.
This change will come into effect week beginning Monday 6 January 2020.
Over 1,200 additional family carers are expected to qualify for payment as a result of this change at an estimated cost of €11.6 million. Also, any carer currently working less than 18.5 hours per week can avail of the additional hours.
I prioritised this measure in response to the carers I have met who have told me that they found the current number of 15 hours to be too restrictive. An increase to 18.5 hours will accommodate increased participation by carers in work or training to strengthen their connection with the labour force, while also serving the additional purpose of reducing the social alienation experienced by many carers.
I hope this clarifies the issue for the deputy.