This month, the Irish Government announced Budget 2022. The Irish Wheelchair Association submitted a pre-budget proposal calling on the Government to invest in people with disabilities and the services we need, so that people with disabilities can live their best lives.
So how did the Budget announcement measure up?
€105m extra investment was announced in disability services. This falls far short of the Disability Capacity Review published by the Department of Health in July, which estimated €350m in unmet need in personal assistance, respite, therapies, community services and residential care. Budget ‘22 has allocated below a third of this need at €105m to disability services.
We welcomed the 120,000 PA hours announced as a good starting point towards addressing the unmet need in this area.
Cost of Living:
Social welfare payments are set to increase by €5. But the Department of social protection research ‘Cost of Disability Payment’ was not published before Budget ‘22. Previous research states the extra cost of living with a disability is between €20-€207 extra per week.
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €305 is said to meet the cost of living. Yet, the Disability Payment, including new social welfare increase is only €208, which does not meet the cost of living, let alone added cost of living with a disability. This increase is far below the support needed.
Irish Wheelchair Association welcomes the raise of the income disregard for Disability Allowance to enable people with disabilities to take up employment without losing their Disability Allowance.
€168m extra for housing was announced. But Building Regulations must be reviewed to make housing fully accessible and liveable for people with physical disabilities. This is vital to tackle the housing crisis for people with disabilities.
Our Advocacy Manager Joan Carthy says:
“Irish Wheelchair Association is an organisation made up of people with disabilities, family members, staff, and volunteers. This group of people, in any given year, are strong resilient people finding a way to navigate through a world that classes people with disabilities as ‘vulnerable’.
“People with disabilities are not vulnerable. We are strong. We are innovative. We are leaders. We have voices. We have families. What we need is the right to live the life we choose.
“While there have been some positive developments in this budget, the lack of inclusivity and planning around disability across sectors, such as housing and transport, is continuing to hamper the rights of people with disabilities to live independent lives full of choice. We continue to call on this Government to ensure that it caters for the rights and needs of all citizens as Budget 2022 is put into action. Don’t forget disability.”
Read our full Pre-Budget submission below