Mobility allowance not guaranteed beyond October
Payment extended until new statutory scheme for people with severe disabilities set up
The continuation of the mobility grant cannot be guaranteed for recipients beyond October when a new statutory scheme will be set up, Minister of State for Disability Kathleen Lynch said today. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times
The continuation of the mobility grant cannot be guaranteed for recipients beyond October when a new statutory scheme will be set up, Minister of State for Disability Kathleen Lynch said today.
The Government last night announced it would set up a new statutory scheme to provide payments for “people with severe disabilities who require additional income to address the costs of their mobility needs”.
This would replace the mobility allowance and motorised transport grant which the Government had announced in February it would discontinue.
In the interim, it will continue to pay the mobility allowance to existing recipients until October. Payments had been due to end later this month.
The mobility allowance is a monthly means-tested payment of between €104.25 and €208.50 that is paid to people aged under 66 who have a disability and are unable to walk or use public transport.
“We have now got an assurance from Cabinet that we can can continue to pay these people until October until a new scheme will be devised,” Ms Lynch said this morning.
The Government made the decision to extend the scheme “on the basis that this would prevent hardship, and, on an interim basis, alleviate stress, anxiety and uncertainty among a vulnerable group in society and having regard to the exigencies that have arisen”, the Department of Health said in a statement yesterday.
“It is hoped that a new scheme will be devised so we can ensure…a very vulnerable group of people will feel more secure in the payment that they get,” Ms Lynch told RTÉ Radio.
Ms Lynch declined to guarantee the continuation of the grant for recipients beyond October. “I can’t guarantee anything beyond October other than to say that up to this point, we have been very conscious of the needs of that vulnerable group and we will continue to be conscious of their needs ” she said. “I would just like to reassure people ....that they now have certainty until a new scheme will be introduced.”
When the outlines of the scheme are laid out before Government in October, “I think those people again have certainty until then”, she said.
The move to establish a statutory scheme was welcomed by the Disability Federation of Ireland . However, it had a concern that the criteria of “severely disabled” would “restrict the scheme to many people who will genuinely need it”.
It was also concerned that there was no announcement about the interim continuation of the motorised transport grant.
Ms Lynch said the motorised motorised transport grant payment was bi-annual so and did not “have the same sense of urgency” as the mobility grant.
An inter-departmental group chaired by Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be asked to develop “detailed proposals” for the new scheme and would report back to Government by October, the Department of Health said.