Changes proposed to Disability Allowance for young people.
In 2015 the Government published the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities. The Strategy’s primary aim was to support people with disabilities who are able to and want to work, to get employment.
The existing right of young people with disabilities to apply for Disability Allowance at 16 years of age was seen as something that could discourage some young people from seeking employment, while at the same time the State was not doing enough to support people with disabilities to access further education, training and employment.
An expert group was established to look at barriers in the system for people with disabilities who want to work and at measures that ensured people in work were financially better off.
The expert group published their Make Work Pay Report in 2017, and they made a number of recommendations, including:
Recommendation 9: Reconfigure the Disability Allowance scheme for new entrants to give effect to the principle of early intervention, as follows:
9.a: Support for 16 – 18 year olds with significant support needs, which is currently paid by means of Disability Allowance, to be paid via Domiciliary Care Allowance up to 18 years of age;
9.b: Explore possibilities for the reform of the structure of the Disability Allowance for those between the ages of 18 – 22 to focus on participation in education, training and/or social inclusion according to individual capacity.
Recommendation 10: Apply the principle of early intervention across all illness and disability schemes, adapting existing schemes where necessary to give effect to this principle. Where required, recalibrate the system of supports and benefits to facilitate early intervention for people with disabilities, who have capacity for, and interest in, work.
Now the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is organising an extensive consultation process in relation to how it supports people with disabilities. The consultation aims to engage with people with disabilities, parents of children with disabilities, and other stakeholders to seek their views on proposals in the Make Work Pay Report.
Details of consultation events which are taking place in late February and early March, registration, etc are available here: www.welfare.ie
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