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Posted on Tuesday 10 October 2023
Please see below for a list of FAQs arising from Budget 2024.
Tuesday, 10th October 2023: Family Carers Ireland is hopeful that the increase in the Carer’s Allowance income disregard, as confirmed in Budget 2024, will mark an important first step in overhauling a scheme that is outdated and no longer fit for purpose.
The announcement that the income disregard for a single person will rise from €350 to €450, and from €750 to €900 for a couple, will ensure that a large number of family carers, who were previously ineligible for Carer’s Allowance due to the means test, may now qualify for financial support.
Family Carers Ireland had called on the Government to use this budget to initiate a four-year journey, incrementally increasing the income disregard for Carer’s Allowance each year, with the ultimate goal of abolishing the means test and introducing a participation income for full-time family carers by 2027. We welcome the announcement by Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys that she is to establish an Interdepartmental Working Group with the Department of Health to examine and review the entire system of means test for carer payments.
Family Carers Ireland welcomes the announcement of a €400 one-off payment to those in receipt of the non-means-tested Carer’s Support Grant. However, the organisation is keen to see this increase maintained and improved upon in the coming years, recognising its significance as financial support for family carers. This payment will also be extended to those receiving the Domiciliary Care Allowance, which will increase by €10 per month.
While a €12 increase in weekly social payments may provide some relief to those receiving Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit, it falls short of Family Carers Ireland’s call for both payments to be increased to €325. This increase would acknowledge the substantial and unavoidable expenses that caring families encounter.
Among the other measures confirmed are the payment of the Christmas bonus in December, a one-off double social welfare payment next January, a €100 increase in the Home Carer Tax Credit, a €200 rise in the Incapacitated Child Tax Credit, and funding for an additional 1,200 special needs assistants.
Reacting to today’s budget announcements, Catherine Cox, Head of Communication and Policy at Family Carers Ireland, commented:
"We are extremely pleased to see positive movement in terms of reforming the Carer’s Allowance scheme. The increase in the income disregard will mean that many family carers who were unfairly excluded from the scheme, often due to a partner’s income, may now receive some financial support from the State.
“While these budgetary measures are welcomed, they are steps along a longer journey. It is vital that we now build on this momentum in the years ahead to realise our ambition of abolishing the means test completely and introducing a participation income for full-time family carers that provides the financial support and recognition that they truly deserve.
“While there are positives from today’s announcement, respite and support services remain fragmented and inconsistent, making it even more challenging for family carers to access the help they desperately need. We urgently need a more cohesive and coordinated approach to respite and support services generally. This includes improved access, increased funding, and better integration with other healthcare services to ensure that family carers have access to respite when they need it.
“There is so much more to do to ensure family carers are adequately supported. The measures announced today appear to be a step in the right direction, but it is vital that much more is done to ensure that supports and services for family carers and their loved ones are improved upon into the future.
“We need to see far greater commitment to and investment in our care system for there to be any hope of it being fit for purpose.”
Budget 2024 Announcements
Tax Credit Increases