Through our Budget 2018 Campaign we are calling on Government to ensure that no carer is left to care alone, and to use Budget 2018 to make three firm commitments to share the care:
- Invest in homecare now – carers urgently need a right to homecare, and can’t continue caring unsupported while waiting for legislation to be enacted.
- Support all carers to ensure they aren’t financially burdened by their caring role.
- Allocate ring-fenced funding for a refreshed National Carers’ Strategy (2018-2022)
In addition to this, different caring roles require specific supports. Below we outline budget priorities for sub groups of family carers. You can help amplify carers’ budget priorities by joining our ‘Thunderclap’ campaign!
• Reinstate the Bereavement Grant.
• Homes where high-level care is provided should be exempt from the Local Property Tax in line with the exemption given to nursing homes and other centres of care.
• Disregard Carer’s Allowance and DCA in the means assessment of the Differential Rent Scheme.
• All fulltime carers should be given a GP Visit Card and have access to the services offered under the National Screening programme regardless of age.
• Reduce prescription charges for all Medical Card holders.
• Introduce the Transport Support Scheme announced in 2014 as a replacement for the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant.
• Increase Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme funding to 2010 levels of €95m and exclude the income of adult children living in the household from the means assessment.
• Revise the Senior Alert Scheme to include basic telecare and assistive technology supports and extend the provisions of the scheme to include vulnerable adults aged under 65 years.
• Ensure carers can access flexible training options to support them in undertaking their caring role.
Ensure the Cross Border Healthcare Directive and reciprocal arrangements in relation to social security currently in place between Ireland and the UK are protected in Brexit negotiations.
• Increase the hours a carer can study/work while receiving a carer payment from 15 to 18.5 hours.
• Establish an automatic notification system between the Department of Employment and Social Protection and Revenue of a person’s receipt of Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit.
• As a mark of recognition for the contribution carers make, Carer’s Allowance should be tax-free.
• Disregard the Half-Rate Carer’s Allowance in the assessment of means for Fuel Allowance.
• Restore in full the Household Benefits Package, including the telephone allowance.
Carers should be treated the same as all other welfare recipients and be notified 3 months prior to their 66th birthday of the need to apply for the State Pension and informed that may have an entitlement to Half-Rate Carer’s Allowance
• Review the application processes for Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and the Carer Support Grant which force carers of people with an intellectual disability or a mental health difficulty to supply additional evidence not required of other carers.
• Critically ill children who are long-stay patients in hospital should be eligible for DCA. Likewise, their parents who are required to stay with them should be eligible for Carer’s Allowance
• Overhaul the Homemaker’s Scheme to offer more practical interventions for carers such as making voluntary contributions on their behalf; offering generous tax reliefs on voluntary contributions paid by partners; abolishing the 2-year rule and awarding carer credits to all carers.
• Further increase the Home Carer Tax Credit and income thresholds where one spouse or civil partner works in the home caring for a dependent person.
• Address the disparity in tax credits available to single carers and those jointly assessed. E.g. Home Carer Tax Credit is €1,100 whereas the Dependent Relative Tax Allowance is €70 p.a.
• Increase the number of SNAs in schools and review eligibility which is currently restricted to the child having (a) toileting need and/or (b) a physical need, to include children with anxiety.
• Children in receipt of DCA should have an automatic entitlement to a Free Travel Pass.
• Increase funding for age-appropriate respite care for children with a disability and provide the €7.6 million required annually to provide respite care for children with life-limiting conditions
• Support young adults as they make the transition from child to adult disability services, and begin planning at least 3 years prior to the child reaching 18.
• Transport should be provided to and from day care services for all adults/children with a disability.
• Restore disability service budgets which have been cut by almost €160 million since 2008 causing the erosion of vital community supports, significant waiting lists and the de facto privatisation of services by forcing families to fund them out-of-pocket.
• Address chronic staff shortages within the Child and Adolescence Mental Health Service (CAMHS) which are contributing to significant waiting lists and causing the suspension of essential services for children and young people experiencing mental health difficulties.
• Fund the establishment of a ‘Young Carer Development Team’ to deliver targeted outreach activities across the country. The team would liaise with schools and community services in each HSE region to identify and support young carers early in their caring journey.
• Deliver on the commitment contained within the National Youth Strategy to establish a cross-departmental Young Carer Working Group.
• Ensure young adult carers are recognised as a vulnerable group and prioritised in the financial support made available to schools, colleges and universities to access and sustain their education.
Prepare a detailed profile of young carers from Census 2016 as committed to in Census 2011.