One-off €500 disability payment smacks of token gesture

Social Democrats TD Holly Cairns has criticised the Government for failing to address the cost of having a disability in Budget 2023.

Deputy Cairns, who is the party’s Disability spokesperson, said:

“As recently as July, the Government passed my motion calling for an increase in the Disability Allowance by at least €15 per week, as well as supporting the introduction of a weekly Cost of Disability payment of €20.

“Instead, this week’s budget only provided for a €12 weekly rise in core welfare rates and a one-off payment of €500 for disabled people. For many, the costs of living with a disability are lifelong and it is insulting for the Government to suggest that people’s financial needs can be met with a token one-off gesture.

“In our alternative budget, the Social Democrats proposed a €20 Cost of Disability payment, which we believe should be increased every year. We see this as a crucial first step in addressing the significant additional costs of living with a disability, which the Government’s own report put at between €9,000 and €13,000 a year.

“Temporary or one-off payments do not address the systemic issues of poverty, exclusion and disempowerment experienced by many disabled people in this country.

“While I welcome the additional funding of disability services, it still falls short of the amount outlined in the Department of Health’s own Disability Capacity Review to 2032.

“Children’s Disability Network Teams continue to be chronically understaffed and there are major issues with retention and recruitment. These issues must be addressed if the budget is going to make a real impact for children with disabilities and their families.”

September 29, 2022

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