In budget 2019, it was announced that research would be commissioned into the cost of disability as a first step in reaching an in-depth understanding of this complex issue. While the issue has been considered before by Departments, and research has been undertaken in the past on the cost of disability in Ireland, many of the conceptual issues remain unresolved and the empirical analysis is based on data from the 1990s. It is hoped that this current research, when complete, will inform policy direction in relation to the provision of adequate supports to meet the needs of people with disabilities from a whole-of-government perspective.
My Department commissioned Indecon International Consultants to carry out this research and work is currently under way. The research is looking at three main items. It examines the conceptual underpinnings of a cost of disability. It analyses what a reasonable estimate of a cost of disability in varying circumstances would be for people living in Ireland. It examines the implications for public policy and service delivery. The research will provide quantitative estimates of the cost of disability using a number of approaches, including consultation with stakeholders, an international review, and data analysis of the household budget survey and the survey on income and living conditions. Additionally, a survey of 33,000 people with disabilities closed in November and results are now being collated. This is important work which I understand is progressing well and I look forward to receiving the completed report very shortly. The total cost of the report is some €300,000.