Government opens public consultation on replacement for mobility schemes
New scheme to replace axed mobility allowance and motorised transport grant
The Department of Health has opened a public consultation process on a scheme to replace the mobility allowance and motorised transport grants, the axing of which caused controversy in February.
The department has said the purpose of the consultation is to hear the views of the widest possible number of people who have an interest in the schemes, in particular those who are currently in receipt of either fund.
The Government axed the schemes following a 2012 report by Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly which found the HSE and Department of Health were in contravention of the Equal Status Act by excluding people over the age of 66 from the schemes.
Ms O’Reilly recommended the schemes be extended to those over 66, but the Minister of Health, James Reilly, told an Oireachtas committee expanded schemes would be “completely unaffordable”, costing €500 million over three years.
In late February the Department of Health announced that the schemes were closed to new applicants and said alternatives would be devised to replace them within four months.
The department set up a project group to recommend an alternative complying with equality legislation which could be delivered within the available budget of €10.6 million. The group is due to report to the Government by the end of May.
Details of the public consultation process and a submission form are on the Department of Health’s website. Completed forms should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to Mobility Allowance/Motorised Transport Grant Review, Disability Unit, Department of Health, Hawkins House, Hawkins Street, Dublin 2 by 5pm on April 17th.