Thursday, 31 January 2019

Ceisteanna (256, 257)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

256. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to whether councils sent incorrect guidelines relating to assessment for the housing adaptation grant for people with a disability scheme; the number of persons who could be affected across all local authorities; the amount potentially denied to applicants across all local authorities due to councils not applying the correct rules to means testing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4803/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

257. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the reason councils were issued incorrect guidelines relating to assessment for the housing adaptation grant for people with a disability scheme; the number of persons who could be affected by all local authorities; the estimated number that could have been denied by local authorities nationally due to councils not applying the correct rules on means testing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4849/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 256 and 257 together.

The issues raised by the Deputy are being followed up and a reply will be forwarded in accordance with Standing Orders.

The following deferred reply was received under Standing Order 42A
The provisions of the Housing Adaptation Grants for Older People and People with a Disability living in private houses include a number of income disregards that apply to means testing, one of which applies to a relative who is caring full-time for the applicant. This and all other income disregards were correctly set out in the relevant application forms and guidelines for the grants since 2007, but when updated application forms and guidelines were issued in 2014, the income disregard for a relative caring full-time for the applicant, while included in the application form, was omitted from the guidelines.
Given that the application form sets out the disregards correctly, it would be expected that the majority of local authorities were correctly applying all income disregards and enquiries by my Department show that 24 of the 31 authorities were in fact doing so. The issue arising is therefore limited to the remaining 7 authorities, all of whom have commenced reviews to identify the number of applicants affected. 4 of the 7 authorities have completed their reviews and have identified 89 applicants that are due additional payments, varying from €290 to €4,500 generally, with one applicant due €6,750. It is estimated that a further 30 cases may be identified on completion of the review process in the other 3 authorities.
While the number of affected applicants is limited in terms of the approximately 14,700 housing adaptation grants issued over the 2014 to 2018 period, it is, of course, regrettable that any applicant has been affected. Accordingly, arrangements are being made in the local authorities concerned to reimburse affected applicants without delay.