Budget 2019 will be announced on Tuesday, October 9th, 2018.
Throughout this year, Family Carers Ireland has invited family carers to share their stories with us as part of our Carers in Crisis campaign. Their experiences show that a failure of the State to provide adequate supports is leaving many burnt out, isolated and unable to look after their own health.
We have heard from family carers who are housebound due to a lack of support or poor respite provision, as well as individuals who have collapsed due to exhaustion or who have had to refuse essential medical treatment for themselves because they can’t find replacement care to look after their loved one. Others have been forced to leave their jobs to provide care, having then had to resort to using up their savings, giving up their homes or relying on family to cope financially.
Today, one in ten people in Ireland is a family carer. By 2030, we will need twice as many to meet the needs of our ageing population and the increasing number of people with a disability or chronic condition.
Unless urgent action is taken to better support family carers and address years of underspending on home care, respite and carer payments, families will be unwilling to take on a caring role and the pressures on our already overburdened health and social care system will significantly increase.
The priorities set out in our pre-budget submission reflect the voice of family carers from across Ireland who have shared their stories of crisis and told us what they expect Government to deliver for them.
10 Priorities for Budget 2019:
1. Urgently address the home care crisis pending the introduction of a statutory home care scheme.
2. Increase carer payments by €20 per week and the Carer Support Grant to €2,000.
3. Increase the income disregard for Carers Allowance from €332.50 (single)/€665 (couple) to €450/€900 respectively and extend allowable deductions.
4. Address the anomaly affecting carers who have no State Pension entitlement.
5. Extend eligibility for Carer’s Benefit to include the self-employed.
6. Extend the Free Travel Scheme to children in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance.
7. Replace the Mobility Allowance and Motorised Transport Grant withdrawn in 2013.
8. Disregard Carers Benefit and Fair Deal contributions in the assessment of SUSI Grants.
9. Reduce processing times for Carers Allowance and establish a centralised Medical Assessment Unit.
10. Publish a refreshed and funded National Carers’ Strategy (2018-2023).