Ireland’s Green Paper on Disability Payments: Update from ILMI Consultations
In a recent development, Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) has played a pivotal role in driving discussions on the Green Paper for Disability Payments. These discussions were inundated with disabled people eager to work together on this pressing issue. ILMI has actively engaged with the community and stakeholders, and the input from the participants has been nothing short of incredible. A huge thank you goes out to all who participated, as your contributions have been invaluable.
Ireland is no stranger to the ongoing debate surrounding disability rights and support for its disabled citizens. On Wednesday, 20th September, the Irish Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, unveiled a Green Paper on reform to Disability Payments. The Green Paper is not a set policy but rather a proposal for focused discussions on potential changes to disability payments in the future. No concrete decisions have been made yet, and the department emphasised that, through consultation, no changes might ultimately be implemented.
The main objectives outlined in the Green Paper are two-fold:
1. To encourage higher employment rates among disabled people, aiming to enhance their participation in society and reduce the risk of poverty and deprivation.
2. To provide better protection for disabled people who cannot work, reducing the risk of poverty and deprivation.
However, the proposed changes have been met with mixed reactions. The Green Paper suggests three key modifications to disability payments:
1. Introduction of a Three-tiered Personal Support Payment:
– Tier one: “High support – Very low capacity to work” with a proposed payment rate equivalent to the State Pension Contributory rate.
– Tier two: “Medium support – Low to moderate capacity to work” with a lower payment.
– Tier three: “Low support – Moderate to high capacity to work” with the lowest proposed payment rate.
The Green Paper also outlines a linkage between these payments and the obligation to utilise public employment services.
2. Introduction of New In-Work Supports:
– The existing system of disregards would be replaced with a working-age payment model.
– The proposed approach aims to establish in-work supports based on a percentage of the income difference, ensuring an increase in income when additional work is taken on.
3. Addressing Inconsistencies in Eligibility:
– The Green Paper proposes to unify medical and age criteria for new contributory and non-contributory payments.
In our discussions, it is clear that many disabled people have concerns about these proposals. The increased payments in Tier one and Tier two still fall short of the actual cost of living for disabled people, as highlighted in the Department’s Cost of Disability Report. Additionally, the “obligation” to engage with public employment services raised concerns, with parallels drawn to the controversial “Work Capacity Assessments” in the UK.
The controversy surrounding the Green Paper persists, and it is crucial for Ireland to strike a balance between cost-effective solutions and ensuring the rights and well-being of its disabled people.
How policy is developed in relation to supporting disabled people into employment will have a significant impact on the lives of many in the country. As discussions continue, it is vital that disabled people find their voices through their DPOs and through direct participation in this process to build a system that genuinely supports disabled people in Ireland.
ILMI will be unveiling the finished Green Paper submission document/points in the very near future watch this space and again, a heartfelt thank you for all the Disabled People who took part in our oversubscribed discussion sessions.
The Department of Social Protection is holding a series of in-person meetings in Dublin, Athlone and Cork in November. As was requested in our consultations, ILMI will be issuing a summary of the main points raised in our consultations online to provide some analysis for members who wish to attend. These meetings are as follows:
9 November 2023, 10.30am to 3.30pm
Hibernia Conference Centre, Dublin Castle This is a hybrid event
10.30am to 3.30pm 9 November 2023
14 November 2023
Rochestown Park Hotel
10.30am to 1pm
23 November 2023
Sheraton Athlone Hotel
10.30am to 1pm
Submissions are also being accepted by the Department up until the 15th of December. For more details on the consultations or the submissions process, see the Department website here
For more information on the Green Paper proposals, read the ILMI analysis here
Calling All Dublin Disabled People
ILMI, a cross-impairment DPO, uniting people from all walks of life, including those with invisible impairments, wheelchair users, and more. Join us on November 7th, from 12:30 to 4pm at Carmichael, 4 North Brunswick Street, Dublin, D07 RHA8, to be a part of the conversation that matters. We’re coming together to explore the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of establishing a Dublin DPO (Disabled Persons Organisation). Your voice, your perspective – they’re essential. Let’s make our city more inclusive, starting with you. Please share your accessibility or dietary requirements and register simply email email@example.com
#jobfairy “Disability Inclusive Climate Justice Lead” with CBM Ireland more details on this link
Online information sessions about the upcoming NUI Certificate Community Work in a Changing Ireland Feminist Climate Justice, the sessions take place via Zoom on;
8th November, 7.45pm – 9pm,
15th November, 12.30 – 1.30pm
Full info on this link
Brought to you by Community Work Ireland and the National Women’s Council of Ireland