Hundreds of disabled people face rise in cost of accommodation

Ministers say revised charging scheme for State-supported housing will be fairer

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath. File photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Hundreds of people with disabilities who are living in State-supported accommodation will have to pay more for their upkeep under new regulations introduced by the Government.

Charges for other residents of long-stay homes will fall under the revised arrangements announced by Minister of State for Disability Issues Finian McGrath and Minister of State for Older People Helen McEntee.

The changes apply to contributions towards maintenance and accommodation costs for residents in long-stay settings, excluding residents supported under the Nursing Homes Support Scheme (Fair Deal).

The Ministers said the revised arrangements will achieve greater consistency and fairness for service users where accommodation and/or maintenance is provided directly by the HSE or by an agency funded by the HSE.

The Department of Health says each service user affected by the changes will be contacted individually over the coming month and provided with an assessment of the amounts they must pay. Additional funding of €1.75 million is being made available to cap the maximum contribution in non-nursing settings at €10 per day, or €70 per week.

Unchanged

The new Residential Support Services Maintenance and Accommodation Contributions will replace existing long-stay charges for 7,000 people, with rates remaining unchanged. They will also apply to about 1,700 people in the mental health and disability sectors who reside in HSE-funded community settings other than nursing homes.

The department says 1,100 of these service users will contribute less. “Residents in such independent living settings, after their contribution to accommodation and daily living costs is made, will be assured of retaining at least €118 of their weekly income for personal use.”

Mr McGrath said comprehensive waiver provisions would ensure that contribution requirements were in line with what people could afford and were tailored to people’s individual circumstances.

The department said actual contributions would depend, as now, on a person’s income and the type of accommodation. Waiver provisions, designed to ensure service users contribute only within their means, will be published by the HSE next month.