Through the commitments contained in both the Programme for Government and in the National Carers’ Strategy, the Government recognises the crucial role that family carers play in Irish society and is fully committed to their support through a range of supports and services. The main income supports provided by my Department include Carer's Benefit, Carers Allowance, Domiciliary Care Allowance, and the Carer's Support Grant. Spending on these payments in 2018 is expected to amount to almost €1.2 billion.
Carer's Benefit (CB) is made to insured people who temporarily leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention. The payment may be paid for 6 weeks after the death of the person being cared for after which the person may return to the workforce. The CB payment is an entitlement based on social insurance contributions and any extension to the post care period of continued payment would have to be considered in a budgetary context and in the context of the scheme's objectives.
Carer's Allowance (CA) does not require any social insurance contributions and is a means tested income support payment that draws from the social insurance fund in order to provide appropriate income support for those providing full time care. The principal conditions for receipt of the allowance are that full time care and attention is required and being provided and that the means test which applies is satisfied.
In Budget 2016, the period when CA can be paid following the death of a care recipient was extended from 6 to 12 weeks. The Department's Intreo service is available to carers who wish to consider returning to work after their caring responsibilities ends.
I hope this clarifies the issue for the Deputy.