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Health Service Allowances.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 4 May 2005

Wednesday, 4 May 2005

Ceisteanna (134)

Paul McGrath

Ceist:

161 Mr. P. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the reason the mobility allowance scheme is means tested; if there are plans to review this qualifying condition; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14056/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Health)

The mobility allowance is a monthly payment administered by the Health Service Executive, which provides financial support to severely disabled people who are unable to walk or use public transport and is intended to enable them to benefit from a change in surroundings, for example, by financing the occasional taxi journey.

To be eligible to receive the mobility allowance applicants must satisfy the following conditions: be over 16 years and under 66 years — however, an allowance, once granted, will be continued after the age of 66 as long as the other criteria for eligibility are met; be living at home or maintained by a health board in any long-term institution; be unable to walk, even with the use of artificial limbs or other suitable aids, or must be in such a condition of health that the exertion required to walk would be dangerous; inability to walk has to be likely to persist for at least one year; moving of the applicant must not have been forbidden for medical reasons; and be in a condition to benefit from a change in surroundings.

It is a matter for the senior area medical officer in the relevant Health Service Executive area to decide whether the medical criteria are satisfied in each case. Applicants must also undergo a means test to decide eligibility. The administering of a means test for the purpose of eligibility to the mobility allowance is in line with the qualifying conditions laid down by the Department of Social and Family Affairs for eligibility to the allowances paid by that Department. My Department currently has no plans to review this qualifying criteria.

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