I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. The main income supports to carers provided by my Department are carer’s allowance, carer’s benefit and the carer’s support grant. Combined spending on the above payments to carers in 2020 is expected to exceed €1.3 billion.
The carer’s support grant is an annual payment of €1,700 for each care recipient paid in a single lump sum with no requirement to satisfy a means test and it is not taxable. This is not available for any other group nor is there an equivalent payment for carers in any other country in Europe. The grant is paid automatically to people in receipt of carer’s allowance, carer’s benefit or domiciliary care allowance. Other people who are not in receipt of a social welfare payment but who are providing full-time care and attention are also eligible and can apply for a stand-alone grant.
Despite the substantial extra financial demands due to the Covid-19 crisis, I announced that the carer’s support grant would continue to be paid to carers this year at an estimated cost of more than €237 million. At the end of October, 115,845 carers had received the carer's support grant in respect of 128,610 care recipients. Applications for the 2020 grant can be submitted up until 31 December. Furthermore, as part of budget 2021, I announced an increase of €150 to this grant, bringing it from €1,700 to €1,850.
Any further improvements or additions to these supports can only be considered in a budgetary context, taking account of other pressures in social protection and other Departments and in the light of available financial resources. I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.