The Programme for Government commits the Government to use the research into the cost of disability to individuals and families to properly inform the direction of future policy. My Department commissioned Indecon International Consultants to carry out research into the cost of disability in Ireland.
The report has just been received and my Department is considering it in detail. This matter is significantly wider than the income support system as many of the costs faced by people with disabilities relate to health and other services. The issue will not therefore be addressed through income support actions alone which is why a whole-of-Government perspective is being taken. My Department is therefore sharing the report with and engaging with the pertinent government departments who have a role to play in the delivery of disability services.
Once this process is complete I intend to submit the report to Government and to then host a forum of interested stakeholders to discuss the report's findings and potential approaches to the issues raised. I expect to be in a position to do this later this year.
Separately the income supports and employment services for people with disability are continually reviewed by my Department. In Budget 2021, I introduced a number of improvements, including an increase of €20 in the earnings disregard for recipients of Disability Allowance, a €1,000 Training Grant to help people with disabilities who are seeking employment, and an increase of €150 to the Carer’s Support Grant. Other changes introduced in recent years included establishing a fast-track reapplication process for people with disabilities who take up employment but subsequently lose that employment, enabling people with a long term disability to retain their free travel pass for 5 years if they take up employment and removing the requirement that work be of a ‘rehabilitative’ nature, where a person in receipt of Disability Allowance wishes to undertake employment, has been removed.