IWA launches Pre-Budget Submission
Irish Wheelchair Association Calls for an Additional 500,000 Personal Assistant Hours for People with Disabilities
“10% of all Social Housing Projects Must be Wheelchair Accessible or the Housing Crisis will Escalate for those with Disabilities”
Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) launched its Pre-Budget Submission during a meeting with over 50 Ministers, TD’s and Senators in Leinster House earlier this week. As the leading representative organisation and service provider for people with physical disabilities IWA urged the Government to prioritise the issues facing people with disabilities, in particular the urgent requirement for additional Personal Assistant hours, appropriate and accessible housing for the 4,000 people with disabilities currently on social housing lists and the introduction of a cost of disability payment.
Outlined in the submission are a series of proposals and recommendations which IWA urges the Government to immediately address. Significantly, an additional 500,000 Personal Assistant hours are urgently required so that people with disabilities are not isolated in their own homes or left in emergency situations. The largest service which the Association provides to 1,900 individuals nationwide is the Personal Assistant Service and is an essential service which people with disabilities rely on every day.
CEO of Irish Wheelchair Association, Rosemary Keogh who presented the Association’s Budget 2017 submission to Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath said:
Irish Wheelchair Association welcomes the commitment announced in ‘A Programme for a Partnership Government’ to review a state structure on the delivery to respond to individualised budgets. However, without a serious commitment to increase funding for Personal Assistant hours, people with physical disabilities will remain isolated in their own homes, unable to take up education and employment opportunities or contribute to their communities in a meaningful way.
People with disabilities have a much higher financial burden than their able-bodied peers due to their medical needs, mobility issues, reduced family income and housing requirements. Additional costs on daily living such as household bills and transport expenses are greater for people with disabilities. Previous budgets brought about cuts to the fuel allowance, motorised transport grant and mobility allowance with devastating impact on many individuals, particularly those who live in rural Ireland.
Budget 2017 is a critical budget for this Government. IWA calls on the Government to implement the recommendations outlined in this submission document, with a specific focus on the introduction of a cost of disability payment which should coincide with the promised increases to disability benefit, disability allowance, careers benefit and carers allowance.
explained Rosemary Keogh.
Another strong feature within the submission was the Association’s concern for suitable and affordable wheelchair accessible housing for people with disabilities. People with disabilities are the single largest group of people having a specific type of housing need. The homeless crisis is an ongoing reality for many people with disabilities due to a lack of appropriate wheelchair accessible housing in every local authority area throughout the country.
IWA stressed that as part of Budget 2017 the Government must address the homeless crisis and include people with physical disabilities in all social housing policies and to ensure delivery by insisting that 10% of all integrated mainstream social housing units will be wheelchair accessible and built to an agreed best practice standard design.
IWA is one of Ireland’s largest service providers and leading representative organisations. On behalf of its 20,000 members IWA calls on the Government to address the issues and recommendations outlined in its submission for Budget 2017.