INCREASED FINANCIAL SUPPORTS WELCOME BUT UNDULY FOCUSSED ON SHORT-TERM MEASURES AND LACKING IN LONG-TERM STRATEGIC VISION
Measures represent necessary but short-term response to cost of living crisis while still undercompensating family carers for the care they provide
Tuesday 27th September 2022: Family Carers Ireland welcomes short-term financial supports for family carers in Budget 2023 but is concerned that rising inflation means that many of those caring for loved ones will continue to struggle financially.
Acknowledging that the focus of this year’s budget is tackling the ongoing cost of living crisis, the national charity representing Ireland’s 500,000 family carers says the measures announced by Government today, particularly in terms of health, education and transport, lack the long-term vision and reform necessary to tackle the deep-rooted challenges facing those caring for loved ones at home.
Among the measures confirmed are a €12 increase in the weekly rate of Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Benefit, a €20 rise in Domiciliary Care Allowance, a €500 once-off payment in November to those in receipt of the Carer’s Support Grant, a double “cost of living” social welfare payment in October, a €100 increase in the Home Carer Tax Credit and changes to the rules around Fuel Allowance which will address the anomaly affecting those in receipt of half-rate Carer’s Allowance.
Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy, Family Carers Ireland said:
“This budget is particularly focussed on alleviating ongoing cost of living pressures and from a family carer perspective, it has provided some temporary relief in terms of income support. However, the balance of these measures is unduly-weighted towards once-off interventions rather than sustained solutions.
“We are disappointed that the budget did not allow a more fundamental review of how the State categorises, compensates and values family carers as set out in our pre-budget submission, including necessary reform of the means test, but we hope to engage with the Minister on this over the coming months.
“We cautiously welcome additional funding towards respite, day services and residential places in respect of Disability, Older Persons and Mental Health services but await further details on these measures.
“Family carers and their loved ones are all too familiar with the crises in our health service including the scandalous waiting lists for disability services. There is a national crisis in children’s disability services in particular and we firmly believe that the National Treatment Purchase Fund should be extended to include psychology, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy. Denying children early intervention and therapies is denying them the right to reach their full potential. While new funding to improve access to assessments of need is welcome, we believe that the measures announced today are not sufficient to address the national emergency in access to therapies.
“We are disappointed that, once again, the government has utterly failed to bring forward a new support scheme to replace the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant.
“Previous governments have promised to find solutions to the cracks in the system, but action has been slow in this regard. Today’s measures are largely a sticking plaster to counter inflationary pressures and there is an absence of a long-term strategy to properly support, recognise and acknowledge our family carers, without whom our health system would completely collapse."