Ending of allowance for people with disability
Sir, – I must express astonishment at the letter of David Walsh on behalf of the HSE responding to the ending of the Rehabilitative Training Allowance for new applicants with disabilities (Letters, August 22nd). The abolition of the allowance will save just over €90,000 to the State per year. Put another way, the abolition of the allowance will save the State €240 per day. This is a statistically insignificant amount of the health service budget.
Neither the HSE’s policy document New Directions of 2012 nor the Government’s Value for Money Review of Disability Services propose that the allowance should be abolished. It was not part of the Programme for Government; it is not part of the National Disability Strategy and I do not recall it being debated in the Oireachtas. Since the money saved is supposed to be transferred to day services for people with disabilities, Mr Walsh provides no evidence as to the outcomes, if any, for recipients of day services, a matter highlighted in the Value for Money Review (page 167).
In two weeks, tens of thousands of students will enter universities, colleges and institutes to follow courses subsidised by the State and some students will have educational grants for three to four years. This is as it should be.
But school leavers with intellectual disabilities, brain injury and some on the autism spectrum disorder will get no grants for their training. This is not inclusive; it is prejudice. – Yours, etc,