Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Questions (206, 207)

Pearse Doherty


206. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if the rehabilitative training allowance for new entrants will be reinstated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48158/19]

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Pearse Doherty


207. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Health if his attention has been drawn to the inequality new entrants are encountering caused by the decision to cease the rehabilitative training allowance for new entrants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48159/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 206 and 207 together.

This Government is committed to providing services and supports for people with disabilities which will empower them to live independent lives, provide greater independence in accessing the services they choose, and enhance their ability to tailor the supports required to meet their needs and plan their lives. The commitment is outlined in the Programme for Partnership Government, which is guided by two principles: equality of opportunity and improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The payment of the Rehabilitative Training (RT) Bonus came into place on the transition of Rehabilitative/Training Programmes to the HSE following the dissolution of the National Rehabilitation Board in June 2000.

The decision to phase out the Rehabilitative Training (RT) Bonus payment is designed to bring equity and consistency between people with a disability attending HSE funded rehabilitative training programmes who receive the payment, and those attending similar HSE funded Day Services or in other State schemes such as further education and training, who do not.

This action will ensure all HSE funded Day Services are provided on an equitable basis and will also ensure that the use of finite resources is maximised.

The Rehabilitative Training (RT) Bonus Payment is a historical payment, introduced in July 2001, aligned with a similar FÁS Training Bonus. However, during 2011 the FÁS Training Bonus was reduced to €20.00 and then eliminated the following year while to date the RT Bonus Payment has continued to be paid in the Health Sector

It is worth remembering that:

- There is no cut in the number of RT places available

- There is no cut in payment of the bonus - those who have it will continue to receive it for the remainder of their RT Placement

- The majority of attendees of HSE Disability Services, including Rehabilitative Training programmes, qualify for Disability Allowance, paid at the rate of €203 per week, which also qualifies them for a Free Travel Pass.

- No expectation of an additional RT bonus payment has been created by HSE for 2019 participants

The redirected funding (€3.7 m over 4 years), which will be ring-fenced, will facilitate either 148 new full day placements or 370 enhanced day places nationally based on priority need (a mixture of both is likely).

Each CHO will have the flexibility to redirect its own savings to address local service requirements. The HSE will put in place a monitoring system and regularly report the additional placements realised to the Department of Health.