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29 Sept 2022

'Parents caring for incapacitated children should not be means tested,' - Jackie Cahill

'Parents caring for incapacitated children should not be means tested,'  - Jackie Cahill

The parents of incapacitated children should not have to go through the means test system in order to qualify for Carers Allowance, according to the Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary, Jackie Cahill.

Similar to the medical card system, whereby children who are incapacitated do not have to apply through a means test process, the same system should apply for the Carers Allowance. Deputy Cahill made these calls in the Dáil today ahead of Budget 2023.

Speaking on this today, Deputy Cahill said: “I am calling on my colleagues in Government to make this one simple change to the Carers Allowance system for the parents of incapacitated children.

"This is a very minor change to policy in this area that would have very little impact on the exchequer, but would see a much fairer and humane system in place for affected families.

“I have been working with a family in Tipperary for some time now on this exact issue. It is an extremely unfair situation they find themselves in and one that must be addressed to provide a fairer and more reasonable outcome for the parents.

"In this case, one of the parents gave up their full time, well paid employment to care for their child who cannot walk, speak or eat. This is a very demanding role and one that requires full time, round the clock care.

“Their Carers Allowance recently underwent review and it was reduced to less than €50 per week due to the means test that’s in place. To tell a parent who looks after their child 24/7 that their work is only worth €50 per week is insulting.

"The appeals system we went through also failed to take account of considerable household expenses such as mortgage repayments, very high heating bills to keep the house at the appropriate temperature all day for the child while they are at home, and other unique medical and related expenses that a family with an incapacitated child faces.

“To me, this is just wrong. The medical card system already allows for a child who is incapacitated to automatically qualify for a medical card, and the exact same policy should be in place for the parents of children who are applying for carers allowance for the invaluable work they do at home for their child and family.

“I am calling on my colleagues in government to make this one simple change to the Carers Allowance system for the parents of children who are incapacitated, and to remove the bureaucracy and replace it with some decency, compassion and understanding, as part of Budget 2023”, Cahill concluded.

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