Disability Federation of Ireland calls on the government to close the gap and invest in people with disabilities in Budget 2024

June 29 2023

DFI Budget 2024 Graphic

Press Release - Thursday 29 June 2023

Disability Federation of Ireland calls on the government to close the gap and invest in people with disabilities in Budget 2024

  • People with disabilities live with high levels of poverty and exclusion, despite the growth of the domestic economy and strong finances
  • Government needs to take action on the crisis affecting services for disabled people to ensure their sustainability

The Disability Federation of Ireland (DFI), is calling on the government to close the gap and to invest in people with disabilities in Budget 2024.

In their Pre-Budget Submission, published today, DFI outlines the high levels of poverty and exclusion that people with disabilities continue to live with. This is despite the growth of the domestic economy and strong finances.

DFI is calling for a range of interwoven measures in Budget 2024 to ensure disabled people have an equal opportunity to live independently in the community, with choices equal to others. This includes appropriate housing, adequate income and individualised social care supports with access to timely integrated healthcare.

DFI is also calling on the government to take action on the crisis affecting the very services that disabled people avail of. These services are under threat and funding is needed to ensure their sustainability, to increase pay by 15%, and to re-instate the link to public sector pay for disability organisations.

Speaking at the launch of the Pre-Budget Submission, DFI’s CEO John Dolan said, “The current government has just two Budgets left to deliver on its significant Programme for Government commitments to disabled people and their families. Measures must be introduced to reduce the extremely high rates of poverty and to support meaningful inclusion and improved quality of life for disabled people.

“The government also needs to progress Ireland’s UN CRPD implementation plan. While some progress has been made we have had slow progress in many areas such as the Disability Capacity Review Action Plan.

“It’s past time now to close the gap, to address the cost of disability by properly investing in people with disabilities and their families.”

In addition, DFI calls for a fully clear Budget Day announcement so disabled people can understand the implications of the budget for them - particularly in the areas of health and housing.

DFI’s Director of Advocacy and Inclusion, Dr Emer Begley, said, “Previous budgets have not been clear or transparent about the funding allocated. This has been further exacerbated by delays in the publication of the HSE National Service Plan which this year was not published until March. This creates additional uncertainty and a disruptive time lag in clarity about service allocations.

“Disabled people and critical services are left in the dark on changes to funding and subsequent service provisions for months following the Budget announcement.”

The Pre-Budget Submission is available on the DFI website www.disability-federation.ie/Budget24

DFI’s specific asks in Budget 2024 are:

Poverty/Cost of Disability

  • A recurring Cost of Disability Payment of, at a minimum, €40 a week, building on the Cost of Disability one-off grant announced in Budget 2023.
  • An increase in the Disability Allowance, and other core disability payments, of at least €27.50 a week. This is the absolute minimum needed to keep pace with inflation.
  • Ensure supports for energy costs are set at an adequate level: increase the annual value of the fuel allowance by €680.40 to restore its purchasing power.
  • Continue to support disabled people with the cost-of-living crisis including addressing energy poverty in Winter 2023.

Community Inclusion and Participation

Independent living and inclusion in the community requires much greater collaboration across all local agencies. DFI is calling for:

  • A Disability Inclusion Fund for all local authorities to support their specific disability inclusion requirements in line with the UN CRPD and Public Sector Duty. Total cost: €7m.
  • Investment in increased accessibility and frequency of Local Link Transport services to disabled people living in the community.
  • Urgent establishment of a Transport Support Scheme to replace the Mobility Allowance and other transport schemes.
  • Funding of €2m for assistive technology supports.


Delays, up to June 2023, in the publication of the Implementation Plan for the National Housing Strategy for Disabled People 2022-2027 mean that sufficient resources are necessary to enable immediate action. To ensure the positive ambitions of the Housing Strategy are realised it must now be rigorously implemented.

DFI is calling for:

• Funding for Local Authority Disability Friendly Housing Technical Advisor positions, to be dedicated, standalone roles. Cost: €1.8m.

• Increase the Capital Assistance Scheme funding to €150m.

• Provide funding to build a sufficient percentage of universally designed and wheelchair liveable (i.e. Universal Design ++) housing.

• Increase the Housing Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability to €60m and urgently reform the scheme to support adaptations of private homes.

• Maximum grants are not keeping pace with rising construction costs and must be increased to €60,000.

• In addition, the income threshold for the Grant should be increased and only the income of the disabled person/primary carer in the household should be assessed for the means test.

• Increase the Disabled Persons Grant and Improvement Works in Lieu Schemes to €40m to support adaptation of social housing.

• A top-up Capital Investment Fund should be provided in 2024 to support disability upgrading and future-proofing of private and Local Authority homes which were not adapted in recent years due to insufficient funding within existing grant schemes.

Notes to editors:

Photographs from the launch are available from photographer Conor O’Mearain (086 845 3858) and will be circulated to media this afternoon. 

Some key statistics:

• Disabled people live with extra costs of €8,700 - €12,300 a year, not covered by existing social welfare provision (Indecon, 2021).

• Ireland ranks 24th of the EU 27 for disability poverty, and lowest in the EU for disability employment rates and the disability employment gap (Roadmap for Social Inclusion Progress Report, EDF 2023).

• One in two disabled people who are unable to work (44.3%) live in deprivation (CSO SILC, 2022).

• 1,250 people with disabilities under the age of 65 are inappropriately living in nursing homes (RTÉ via FOI, 2023)

• The number of disabled people on the housing list declined by half as much (5%) as those without disabilities (10%) in recent years. (2020 Housing Agency, Summary of Social Housing Assessment).

• Upwards of 70% of disability services are provided by the voluntary sector.

• 64% of the HSE Disability Services budget supports about 8,300 people with disabilities in residential services (Disability Capacity Review, 2021).


For media contact: Brenda Drumm, Communications Manager, Disability Federation of Ireland, 086 076 4114 brendadrumm@disability-federation.ie.