Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (1531)

James Browne

Ceist:

1531. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Health the cost of the provision of a rehabilitation training allowance for recipients of disability allowance in 2018; the number of persons who received the allowance in 2018; the number of persons who received the allowance in 2018 in County Wexford; his plans to reverse the decision to cease the provision of the allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33284/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE’s New Directions policy seeks to reconfigure and personalise HSE funded adult day services to offer a flexible and individualised set of supports to enable each person to live a life of their choosing in accordance with their own wishes and needs.

Rehabilitative Training (RT) Programmes are designed to equip participants with basic personal, social and work-related skills. Approximately 2,300 people attend RT programmes, with 400 new attendees due to start this coming September.  Payable in addition to Disability Allowance, the RT Bonus payment is currently payable at a rate of €31.80 per week to attendees of these RT Programmes, who can attend for a period of up to 4 years.  The RT Bonus was introduced in 2001, aligned with a similar FÁS Training Bonus. This FÁS Training Bonus later became the Solas Vocational Training Programme payment, which was reduced in 2011 and discontinued in 2012.

Over the next four years, from September 2019, the RT Bonus will not apply to new attendees. The money that would have been spent on the bonus, estimated at approximately €3.7 million over the four years, will be redirected to address unmet need in day service provision for people with disabilities.  This measure will have no impact on current participants as their payments will continue until they complete their 4 year programme. Importantly, the phasing out of the RT Bonus will mean that HSE Community Healthcare Organisations will have some funding to reallocate towards increasing the number of days per week available to those who did not receive a full service during the recession, or who are on a waiting list for a day service. 

The phasing out of this Bonus payment by the HSE will ensure more people have access to a day service on an equitable basis, consistency in treatment of all day service users and maximise the use of finite resources.

As the Deputy's question also relates to service matters, I have arranged for the question to be referred to the Health Service Executive (HSE) for direct reply to the Deputy.

Question No. 1532 answered with Question No. 1113.