(1) Second Report of the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare – Review of Budget 2012 proposals regarding Disability Allowance and Domiciliary Care Allowance(2) Report on the review of the Domiciliary Care Allowance Scheme
The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton T.D., today (Thursday, 11th April 2013) released the Second Report of the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare on the issue of the Budget 2012 proposals regarding Disability Allowance and Domiciliary Care Allowance, along with the Report of the Review Group on the operation of the Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) Scheme.
The Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare was established in June 2011 with the aim of harnessing expert opinion and experience to examine a number of specific issues. In December 2011 the Minister asked the Advisory Group to examine and report on the policy objectives underpinning the Budget 2012 proposals regarding changes in eligibility criteria and rates of payment for Disability Allowance and the increase in the age threshold for payment of Domiciliary Care Allowance.
The Minister said “I welcome the publication of this Second Report of the Advisory Group, which will be a valuable contribution to the policy debate in relation to young people with disabilities. My colleagues in Government and I are carefully reflecting on the findings of the Advisory Group and will further consider the recommendations contained in the Report taking into account future developments in terms of the budgetary and fiscal situation as well as other work underway. In this regard, I understand that the Advisory Group is currently examining the issue of working age supports and that the Group will be considering the appropriate payment rates and the equitable treatment of all people of working age.”
The review of the DCA scheme was announced by the Minister in May 2012, with a review group being set up to examine the operation of the scheme, its current administration, medical assessment and appeals processes and to make recommendations by the end of 2012.
Speaking about the review report, the Minister said “I am pleased to publish the report of the DCA review group and commend the group on the scale of the review and the consideration it has given to the scheme in the short timeframe. I believe that the recommendations made will result in an improvement in the level of service provided to our customers and will assist in ensuring that those people who meet the qualifying conditions for the payment receive it in a timely manner. It is my intention that the administrative improvements recommended in the report should be implemented as quickly as possible.”
The report on the review of the scheme also includes policy and legislative recommendations and the Minister stated “As in the case of the Advisory Group report, my colleagues in Government and I are carefully reflecting on the policy findings and will further consider the recommendations taking into account the prevailing budgetary and fiscal situation.”
Copies of the reports are available on the Department of Social Protection website www.welfare.ie.
Note for editors – Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare
The Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare was established in June 2011 in line with commitments contained in the Programme for Government. The Advisory Group is chaired by Ms Ita Mangan, a barrister with considerable experience in public policy. In line with a practical, problem-focused and evidence-orientated approach, members of the Advisory Group have expertise from economic and social policy and other relevant areas and include individuals with a mix of experience from within and outside the public sector.
Under its Terms of Reference, the Group examines and makes recommendations on key issues, including child and family income supports, working age income supports, the appropriate unit of assessment and interactions in the tax and social welfare codes and issues concerning social insurance for self-employed people. The Group was also asked to look at the Budget 2012 proposals regarding Disability Allowance and Domiciliary Care Allowance.
The Group’s overall method of working is based on producing modular reports on the priority areas identified in the Terms of Reference, which allows for the Group to bring these reports to the Minister for her consideration on a regular basis.
Note for editors – Review Group on Domiciliary Care Allowance
The Domiciliary Care Allowance Review Group met for the first time in July 2012, following the announcement of a review of the scheme in Dáil Eireann in May 2012. The Review Group met on seven occasions between July and December and was chaired by Ms Sylda Langford, Former Director General in the Office of the Minister for Children. The membership of the Group comprised representatives of the Department of Social Protection, other relevant Government Departments, the National Disability Authority, Parent and Advocacy Group representatives and others with expertise in the area.
Under its Terms of Reference, the Group examined all areas of the operation of the DCA Scheme, considered a wide range of options and has made recommendations on key issues, including the application, assessment, communication and appeal processes. In addition a wide ranging public consultation was undertaken, with every family in receipt of the allowance contacted and invited to make a submission to the group. In addition newspaper advertisements were placed seeking submissions and a customer survey of a sample group of recipients was undertaken.