DFI Pre-Budget Submission to the Dept. of Social Protection for Budget 2023

Issued on July 27 2022

Budget 2023: Action required to prevent disabled people being pushed further into poverty

Disabled people continue to live at extreme risk of poverty in Ireland. Last year their poverty rates increased significantly, while the national average reduced. The experience of both the pandemic and the cost of living crisis spotlighted income inequality and the insufficiency of core welfare rates, when the state provided a much higher level of social protection to people unable to work due to the impact of the pandemic, as compared to those unable to work due to disability and chronic illness.

This policy choice exacerbated the already long-standing deprivation people with disabilities endure. The cost of living crisis and inflation spiral has made things much worse, creating a perfect storm which is pushing people further into poverty. 1 in 5 people who rely on Disability Allowance to survive live in consistent poverty, while 2 in 5 are at risk of poverty. Ireland is one of the worst performing countries in the EU for both poverty and employment rates of disabled people. This can’t be allowed to continue.

Budget 2023 must prioritise targeted measures to reduce poverty amongst those unable to work due to disability.

  • Increase core social protection rates by €20, to keep up with inflation and prevent a rise in inequality and poverty.
  • Additional to the above, introduce a cost of disability payment of at the very minimum €20 a week for those on Disability-related payments, as an interim measure to start to address the cost of disability.
  • Pay a Christmas Bonus-style double payment before the end of October, along with other measures targeted at those on the lowest incomes to address the cost of living crisis.
  • Ensure all budget decisions are subject to equality and poverty proofing, specifically assessing their impact on disabled people, including taking into account the cost of disability.
  • Raise the income disregard for Disability Allowance by €25 and increase the weekly means disregard to €15.
  • Act on the recommendations of disability organisations to the review of the Reasonable Accommodation Fund and provide sufficient funding.