I propose to take Question Nos. 317 to 323, inclusive, together.
The Make Work Pay (MWP) report, published in 2017, made a number of recommendations on how people with disabilities who want to work and can work could fulfil their employment ambitions. A number of its key recommendations related to the need to support young adults through education, training and social inclusion according to their capacity and to reconfigure the qualifying age for disability allowance (DA) and domiciliary care allowance (DCA).
When the MWP report was launched, the then Minister for Social Protection, now Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar T.D., said that there is a legitimate expectation among parents and families that a child who currently receives DCA will qualify for DA at age 16 and has ruled out making any change in this area unless it is supported by the disability sector. He instructed the Department to consult with parents and disability advocates on the recommendation particularly given the sensitive nature of the proposal. Therefore, earlier this month, I, together with the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, launched a national consultation process with people with disabilities, their families and advocates to seek their views on these recommendations. At the launch I reassured people with disabilities that the Government wants to get their views before considering any changes to the two schemes. Therefore, no decision has been made as to how the recommendations might be implemented.
In coming to a decision in this regard, the Government will also consider the impact of the recommendation in terms of the services and supports for people with disabilities, as raised by the Deputy in his questions.
The consultation process will continue until mid-April. It provides stakeholders with an important opportunity to make their views known on this significant issue. I look forward to the outcome of the consultation process in due course.