Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Ceisteanna (317, 318, 319, 320, 321, 322, 323)

John Brady

Ceist:

317. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of plans for the proposed increase from 16 to 18 years of age for a domiciliary care allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13097/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

318. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if services for children over 16 years of age will be extended to take into account private therapies paid for by the disability allowance payment if the age for domiciliary care allowance is increased to 18 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13098/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

319. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the additional social welfare payments paid to disability allowance recipients will be extended to domiciliary care allowance recipients, such as the fuel allowance and free travel, when a child reaches 16 years of age, if the age for domiciliary care allowance is increased to 18 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13099/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

320. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a carer's allowance or domiciliary care allowance will be included as a qualifying payment for the fuel allowance if the age for domiciliary care allowance is increased to 18 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13100/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

321. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the age for domiciliary care allowance is increased to 18 years of age, the health services that will be affected by the extension; if access will remain to currently provided psychology services and occupational therapy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13101/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

322. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if there will be an impact on the disability access route to the education scheme if the age for domiciliary care allowance is increased to 18 years of age in view of the fact that an application could be made before the student turns 18 years of age without a disability allowance decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13102/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

323. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if domiciliary care allowance, DCA, will carry the same weight as disability allowance if the age for DCA is increased to 18 years of age in view of the fact that DCA is based on the level of care and not the actual disability; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13103/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

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.