Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (396)

Willie Penrose


472 Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the cost to her Department if the carer's allowance was increased to the old age non-contributory pension level at current rates; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3952/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

The carer's allowance is a social assistance payment which provides income support to people who are providing certain elderly or incapacitated persons with full time care and attention and whose incomes fall below a certain limit.

From January the maximum rate of carer's allowance for a carer under 66 years increased to €139.60 per week while a carer over age 66 years may be entitled to a maximum rate of €157.80 per week. The maximum weekly rate of old age non-contributory pension is €154. Thus the 10% of carer's allowance recipients who are over 66 years of age receive a higher rate of payment than recipients of old age non-contributory pension. In addition, all recipients of the carer's allowance receive an annual respite care grant of €835 and the free schemes, and a person caring for two or more people receives an additional 50% on their payment.

The cost of increasing the carer's allowance rates for carers under 66 years to the level of old age non-contributory pension would be in the region of €14 million annually. Such an increase in the rate of carer's allowance could only be considered in a budgetary context.

Question No. 473 answered with QuestionNo. 467.