Family Carers Ireland Welcomes Pension Milestone

Posted on Tuesday 20 September 2022

Tuesday 20th September 2022: Family Carers Ireland has welcomed today’s announced changes by Minister Heather Humphreys to the State Pension system in Ireland which will see an enhanced State Pension provision for long-term carers introduced from January 2024.

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

“The announcement today will bring some welcome comfort to many family carers. For many years we have lobbied for an equitable State Pension system that recognises rather than penalises family carers and values the immense ‘contribution’ they make through their years of caregiving, in the same way we value social insurance ‘contributions’ paid through PRSI. We welcome the announcement of a guaranteed pension for long-term family carers who have cared for more than 20 years, and the introduction of a Total Contributions Approach which offers better protections to carers caring for shorter periods. We await clarification on the finer details of this announcement but commend Minister Humphreys for taking this very significant positive step forward in addressing the pension anomaly that has for decades disadvantaged long-term family carers.

“This reform represents an important acknowledgement of the invaluable role family carers play in our society, together with the recently announced dormant accounts funding to support carers in accessing training, education and employment. However, for those carers who cannot work or study due to their caring commitment, we sincerely hope that family carers will continue to be at the front of Government’s mind with the budget next week as they seek to address the cost-of-living crisis and consider those most adversely affected.

“Family carers are particularly vulnerable to all types of rising costs due to the inadequacy of financial supports available to them and costs that they simply cannot cut back on without affecting the safety and comfort of the person they care for. Many family carers have no way of meeting the rising costs and face extremely difficult decisions that are keeping them up at night. Without targeted support, too many carers and the people they care for will be pushed further into poverty, impacting their quality of life which is why we have called for the Carer's Allowance to be increased to a minimum of €325 per week and for the means test to be abolished.”

“We are also calling on the Government to urgently address the gross inadequacy of children’s disability services by extending the NTPF to include psychology, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and physiotherapy.

“Family carers provide the majority of care in this country - they are a key pillar of our health service, yet they are often the forgotten frontline, and many are experiencing true hardship. Without them, our health systems would collapse. The Government must recognise the vital role of family carers and ensure they deliver for them next week.”

-ENDS-

About Family Carers Ireland

Family Carers Ireland is the national charity supporting the 500,000+ family carers across the country who care for loved ones such as children or adults with additional needs, physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental health challenges, or addiction. It provides a range of practical services and supports for family carers through its Carer Support Centres nationwide and through its National Freephone Careline 1800 24 07 24.