The main income supports for carers provided by my Department include Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit, Domicillary Care Allowance and the Carer's Support Grant. Spending on these payments in 2019 is expected to exceed €1.2 billion.
Carer's Allowance is a means-tested payment for carers who look after certain people in need of full-time care and attention on a full time basis. As of end of August 2019, there were 82,223 people in receipt of Carer's Allowance. The projected expenditure on Carer's Allowance in 2019 is almost €840 million.
A primary qualifying condition for the Carer’s Allowance payment is that the applicant provides full-time care and attention to a person in need of such care. However, in order to support a carers continued attachment to the workforce and broader social inclusion, carers may engage in some limited employment, education or training, while still being regarded as being in a position to provide full-time care. During this time of employment, education or training, adequate provision must be made for the care of the relevant person. Both the full-time care and attention requirement and the 15-hour limitation are contained in the respective legislative provisions of the Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and Carer’s Support Grant schemes.
As part of Budget 2006,the number of hours per week that carers could engage in employment, education or training outside the home was increased from 10 to 15 hours per week.
Any further changes to this condition would need to be considered in a budgetary context and would also need to maintain a reasonable balance between the requirement to provide full-time care for the care recipient and the needs of the carer.
I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.