The Make Work Pay report was published in April 2017 following a commitment in the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for people with disabilities 2015 -2024, and was undertaken in order to better identify how people with disabilities could be supported to achieve their employment ambitions.
The report made two recommendations (number 9 and 10) that addressed significant issues around the design of the main income supports schemes. These related to a proposed reconfiguration of the of DA (from the current starting age of 16 to 18 years) and an implementation of the principle of early engagement for young persons on Disability Allowance (DA) and on all illness and disability payments.
To fulfil a commitment made at the time of the report, a wide-ranging consultation exercise was conducted with persons with disabilities, their families and representative groups in relation to these recommendations. This consultation began in September 2017 and continued until June 2018. Outcomes from stakeholder submissions, four regional consultation events (held in Dublin, Cork, Sligo, and Limerick), and online questionnaires/survey were compiled. These outcomes were further considered by a key stakeholder focus group (this group comprises of persons with experience of disability issues, who also helped the Department with the design of the national consultation process).
The national consultation process gathered a large amount of material and a draft report has been prepared by my Department together with the key stakeholder focus group. I am considering the results of the consultation and have asked my officials to consider what implementation issues related to early engagement would need to be addressed before deciding on the next steps.