Disability welfare payments

Avoiding discrimination

Sir, – Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys is planning an alleged reform of payments for persons with disabilities (“Minister is planning to radically overhaul disability welfare payments”, News, September 20th).

This proposal will involve over 100,000 people being medically assessed as fit, sometimes fit, and unfit for paid work. The use of medical assessments is quite contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Ireland belatedly ratified in 2018.

The convention in its entirety is underpinned by a social model of disability – an interaction between individuals and their environment. Indeed, a large range of public bodies and departments of government have been trying to embrace the social model of disability for at least 10 years.

Among these are the Department of Education, the Revenue Commissioners and many organisations supported by Sections 38 and 39 of the Health Acts operating in support or on behalf of the State.


Assessing individuals on medical grounds may be discriminatory in relation to the UN Convention since Article 12 recognises equality in law between disabled people and others. If the Minister’s proposal is an attempt to ultimately cut public spending, such an intention should be made clear before the consultation on this welfare proposal proceeds any further. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 14.