DFI Prebudget Submission to Department of Social Protection for Budget 2022
Issued on July 13 2021
DFI made a pre-budget submission to the Department of Social Protection to inform Budget 2022. Our submission highlights the unacceptably high poverty levels that people with disabilities live with. Ireland continues to have some of the worst poverty and employment rates for disabled people across the whole EU.
The past year has shown the important role Ireland’s social protection system can play. The PUP protected hundreds of thousands of people, and their families, from poverty and debt. However, the creation of the PUP also created a two-tier social protection system, leaving disabled people feeling like second class citizens. The gulf between the €350 PUP payment and the €203 Disability Allowance rate is stark.
Budget 22 gives an opportunity to address this inequality. It must commit resources to reduce poverty, particularly amongst those unable to work due to disability. It must also provide sufficient resources to improve employment possibilities for those who wish to work but experience recurrent barriers.
In Budget 2022, DFI calls on the government to:
- Increase core social protection rates by €9.80 per year, until 2026, to ensure income adequacy.
- Publish the Indecon Cost of Disability report and make financial provision in Budget 22 to implement its recommendations.
- Introduce a €20 per week cost of disability payment for those on Disability Allowance and Blind Pension as an interim measure.
- Address issues of digital poverty which COVID has highlighted by reviewing and updating Household Benefits package and Telephone Support Allowance to include support for internet services, broadband and hardware such as laptops and tablets.
- Raise the €350 threshold on earnings disregard for Disability Allowance by €20.
- Ensure all budget decisions are subject to equality proofing, specifically assessing their impact on disabled people, including taking into account the cost of disability.
- Ensure employment supports for disabled people are not deprioritised, make the Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant more flexible, consider creating a ‘Working from Home’ grant, implement recommendations of other disability organisations.
- Work together with other Departments to invest €1.5 million in an Assistive Technology (AT) passport.