Sinn Féin spokesperson on Social Protection, Claire Kerrane TD, has spoken out about the government’s decision to exclude some recipients of disability-related supports from the lump sum payment due this week.
The forthcoming lump sum payment is being made to recipients of Disability Allowance, Blind Pension and Invalidity Pension later this week. However, it has emerged that people who qualify for those payments but who are currently participating in other schemes will not receive the payment.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“Yet again we are seeing decisions being made by the government which are causing confusion and frustration, rather than providing reliable financial supports to address the Cost of Living crisis.
“It was not initially clear that the lump sum payment will only be paid to people who are in receipt of Disability Allowance, Blind Pension or Invalidity Pension. Only after querying the issue are we finding out that those who are participating in other schemes, through their entitlement to one of these disability-supports supports, will not receive the payment.
“For example, a recent Parliamentary Question response confirmed that recipients of Disability Allowance, Blind Pension or Invalidity Pension who have qualified for the Community Employment (CE) scheme will not receive the lump sum payment. Whilst on CE they are not considering to be in receipt of their qualifying social welfare payment by the Department, despite having an underpinning entitlement to a disability-related payment.
“It appears this decision will also apply to Disability Allowance recipients who are taking part in further education and training courses. These people see their payment changed to a ‘training allowance’ while they are on the course and so will not qualify for the lump sum payment this week, due to this technicality.
“I understand that whilst on the schemes the Department technically does not consider participants to be receiving their primary payment, but this decision is unfair. People involved in Community Employment or education and training courses do not cease to have a disability just because they are taking part in these schemes.
“Once these recipients have completed their course or scheme they will continue to receive Disability Allowance, Blind Pension or Invalidity Pension as they did before, so there is no logic to excluding them from the lump sum payment.
“As well as this, the government have made various commitments around addressing the additional Cost of Disability. Yet, this action does little to suggest that they are serious about ensuring that people with disabilities have access to social welfare supports which are adequate, reliable and responsive.
“Those people who are in receipt of Disability Allowance, Blind Pension or Invalidity Pension and who are currently involved in other schemes should be included in the lump sum payment later this week.
“I am calling on the Minister to see sense and ensure the payment is made to all who have an entitlement to it.”