Irish Wheelchair Association submitted a pre-budget proposal calling on the Government to invest in people with disabilities across a number of key areas to address the needs of our members as we asked for ‘choice not charity’.

So how did the Budget announcement measure up?

  1. €400 one-off disability payment, which is 100 euro less than last year. Whilst we welcome the payment, it is a stop gap measure. We have called for a monthly cost of disability payment to reflect the extra costs incurred with having a disability which are acknowledged in the government’s own Cost of Disability Report.
  • Social welfare payments are set to increase by €12 which falls far below the estimated €26 uplift needed to support people out of poverty. With this paltry increase, people with disabilities are expected to live on €232 a week. When you consider that the Pandemic Unemployment payment was €350 how is this fair or equal?
  • €2m additional funding in Personal Assistant services has been announced to promote independent living, delivering around 80,000 additional hours. While we welcome the investment, more personal assistant hours are futile without addressing pay parity for Section 39 workers as the sector struggles to retain and recruit staff.
  • All households will receive three energy bill credits of €150 amounting to €450 which is €150 less than last year.  We would argue that people with disabilities should receive additional financial support in this area as they use more electricity on average. Many use medical devices/equipment which need electricity to operate.


At the moment, there doesn’t look to be anything radical in this year’s budget, it’s disappointing to see one-off payments feature again, as they are not long-term solutions. “

“Our members are on the breadline, struggling to make ends meet.  The government itself has admitted in its own report that the cost of having a disability amounts to an additional outlay of between €9,482 and €11,735 a year but yet they fail to introduce a permanent annual cost of disability payment which is a real slap in the face for those on the poverty line,  given the astronomical rise in the cost of living.”

What is also deeply concerning, she said, is that there doesn’t appear to be any funding allocated in Budget 24 to tackle the Pay Parity crisis, affecting section 39 organisations like Irish Wheelchair Association.

“Indefinite strike action is due to commence next Tuesday, October 17. What is the government doing to address this?  They need to prevent the strike from happening as it will have catastrophic consequences for our service users, many of whom are dependent on their personal assistants to get them out of bed in the morning.”

Finally, Joan said that a closer look and detail analysis is needed at where the total investment of €2.8bn in Disability Services for 2024, is going.  “We are also waiting on further clarity from the health budget,” she said.