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2,000 disabled people to lose EUR6,500 a year

Resource type: News

Irish Examiner |

by Mary Regan AT least 2,010 people with disabilities will lose EUR6,500 a year because of measures introduced in Budget 2009, according to Fine Gael who said this was more confirmation that the most vulnerable have been targeted. The Disability Allowance, which was previously paid to eligible people from the age of 16, will be paid only to those who have reached the age of 18 from January 2009. The allowance is worth EUR197 a week and the Government will save EUR14 million a year by taking it from 16-and 17-year-olds. Fine Gael said the savings are tiny and represent just 0.07% of the entire Social Welfare budget for next year. The party’s spokesperson on disability issues, David Stanton, said: “This shows the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable have been targeted by Fianna Fail’s vicious, cruel budget.” He said figures from the Health Service Executive (HSE) show 4,294 people aged 16, 17, 18 and 19 are currently entitled to the disability allowance. “It is safe to assume that there were roughly the same amount of each age group claiming the allowance and that these numbers will remain constant for children about to become 16. This means that over 2,000 underage children will lose out as a result of this measure.” These children will be entitled to the Domiciliary Care Allowance, but the net loss will still be EUR6,500 a year. “This represents a saving of EURl4m a year to the exchequer. Considering that the overall social welfare budget is EUR19.5bn, attacking children with disabilities saves a mere 0.07% of the overall budget.” He accepted savings have to be made, but said they should not have been at the expense of the most vulnerable, or front line services. “The Government should have scrapped e-voting machines, tackled the banks with a EURl.sbn fee per year for the guarantee scheme, implemented a public sector pay freeze for high earners and stopped supporting irresponsible developers.”

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