Carers allowance must be reformed in Budget 2024

06 July 2023

Questioning the Minister for Social Protection in the Dáil today, Labour Health spokesperson Duncan Smith demanded a fundamental change to the structure of the carers allowance.

Deputy Smith said:

“Carers across the country carry out trojan work to look after loved ones. Carers look after their loved ones in their home, often with little to no help from the State. Family Carers Ireland estimates that carers save the State approximately €20 billion. Despite this, Government simply does not value the work they undertake fairly.

“Labour is urging a fundamental rethink of the carers allowance in Budget 2024. The payment and structure is outdated. It undervalues vital care work that they undertake, work that the State would have to subsidise should they fail to do so. It forces carers to rely on their partner for financial support, should they have one. It is deeply flawed and with an ageing population, it needs serious attention.

“It’s time to care for the carers. We need to look at the make-up of carers nationwide and ensure that the scheme works for them. While we note a slight increase in the allowance last year, it simply has not kept pace with the financial need of people in light of the cost of living crisis.

“The Government must conduct a study of the income and living costs of carers, to ensure that income supports are sufficient to ensure all carers can attain a decent minimum standard of living for themselves.

“One in nine people in Ireland juggle paid employment with a family caring role. Much of this work is undertaken silently. Carers are always the unsung heroes of the State and they have been left behind. It’s time Government wake up to their reality and ensure proper supports are in place for carers.”

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