FCI Welcomes Establishment of Interdepartmental Group to Consider Reform of Carer’s Allowance Means Test

Posted on Tuesday 05 March 2024


Tuesday, 5th March 2024: Family Carers Ireland welcomes the announcement by Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, regarding the creation of an Interdepartmental Group to consider the reform of the Carer’s Allowance means test. Specifically, the group will consider the proposals put forward by Family Carers Ireland and Maynooth University in relation to abolition of the means test and the creation of a Participation Income for carers. The group will also consider related proposals made by the NESC and the Joint Committee on Gender Equality and the Joint Committee on Social Protection, all of which have acknowledged the need for changes to the Carer’s Allowance means test.

Family Carers Ireland has repeatedly called for an overhaul of the Carer’s Allowance scheme, which was first introduced 34 years ago. It has consistently highlighted that the scheme, designed in a different era, fails to meet the current and complex needs of today's family carers, many of whom provide round-the-clock care for extended periods.

Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy at Family Carers Ireland, stated:

"Despite the many plaudits recognising their immense contribution, many full-time family carers of people with complex needs continue to be denied Carer’s Allowance due to the means test. The establishment of this Interdepartmental Group is a step forward, and we are encouraged by Minister Humphreys' announcement.

“The establishment of this group marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to ensure that carers’ payments accurately reflect the invaluable contribution of family carers to our society. For too long, the existing means test system has not adequately addressed the diverse and evolving needs of carers, many of whom dedicate their lives to supporting loved ones with little recognition or support. The income inadequacy imposed by existing social welfare payments must also be addressed to ensure it can sufficiently support the needs of family carers and those they care for.

“We are hopeful that this review will lead to actionable recommendations that will significantly improve the lives of family carers. We stand ready to work closely with the government and contribute our insights and expertise to ensure family carers are at the forefront of this reform.”