My Department provides a wide range of illness, disability and caring related payments. Expenditure on Carer's Allowance amounted to over €930 million in 2021, and expenditure was over €47 million on Carer’s Benefit. The projected expenditure on Carer’s Allowance in 2022 is approximately €990 million, and €48 million on Carer’s Benefit.
Illness Benefit is the main payment provided to those who are covered by social insurance and cannot work due to illness of any kind. Enhanced Illness Benefit was introduced on a temporary basis in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is paid to those who have been diagnosed or are self-isolating with Covid-19.
If a person’s Carer’s Allowance is less than the rate of Illness Benefit or enhanced Illness Benefit, they can apply for a top up payment from the Illness Benefit section, subject to meeting the eligibility and medical criteria for the payment. Illness Benefit is not payable with Carer’s Benefit.
There is a general principle of one person, one payment, which applies across the Irish social welfare system. Given the contingency-based nature of this system, it can happen that a person may experience more than one contingency at the same time, but generally, as these payments are to help them meet their income needs, they can receive only one of those payments. This principle is common to social security systems across the world.
I do not intend to amend the rules that govern the payment of these schemes at this time.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.