Carers provide so much care for loved ones in their family, friends or neighbours who are older or with a physical or learning disability including mental illness. Their work allows people to live in their own homes for as long as possible and much of their work is unseen. Many families try to manage looking after older parents in need of support in Galway and rely on carers in their local area. And I would encourage husbands, wives and family members who provide care themselves to apply for this financial aid.
Today we’re seeing the first change to the carers means test in 14 years so more people will be eligible for the payment as well as more eligible for payment of the full rate of Carer’s Allowance. My colleague the Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD is introducing changes which means that many more people in County Galway will now be eligible for the Carer’s Allowance.
The capital disregard for carers will increase from €20,000 to €50,000. Furthermore, the weekly income disregard for Carer’s Allowance will increase to €350 per week for single carers, and to €750 per week for a couple.
Separately, 6,230 carers in County Galway will be paid the annual Carer’s Support Grant from tomorrow (Thursday 2nd June). The annual grant of €1,850 was increased by Minister Humphreys in her first budget as Minister for Social Protection, in recognition of the vital role of carers and the contribution they make to society.
It is available to all carers providing full-time care to an older person or a person with a disability, regardless of their means or social insurance contributions.
It will be paid automatically to those who are receiving the Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and those on Domiciliary Care Allowance schemes.
Fine Gael is working to build stronger, safer communities. Carers make a hugely valuable contribution to local communities all across County Galway and Fine Gael in Government will continue to ensure they are supported.
Commenting on the changes to the means test, Minister Humphreys said:
“Since my appointment as Minister for Social Protection, I have listened closely to the views of carers the length and breadth of the country.
“Our carers have endured a particularly difficult two and a half years, dealing with extraordinary daily challenges posed by the pandemic.
“I am therefore really pleased today to put into effect significant changes to the carer’s means test – the first such changes in 14 years.
“From today, the amount of capital and savings that are disregarded in the means assessment for carers will be increased from €20,000 to €50,000.
“I am also increasing the weekly earnings disregard to €350 for a single person and to €750 a week for a couple.
“These changes are significant and will mean many carers currently on a reduced rate of payment due to means will now qualify for the full rate.
“Equally, thousands of carers who may not have qualified for a payment at all up to this point will now be brought into the net.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all carers in Ireland for the vital and valuable contribution you play in our society and in all our local communities. Your commitment and work in supporting those that need help and support is hugely important and is greatly appreciated.”