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Written Answers. - Services for People with Disabilities.

Tuesday, 3 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 4

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[1092]

 292. Mr. Boyle Information on Dan Boyle Zoom on Dan Boyle  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  when it is intended to publish the report of the working group on variable costs of disability payments. [24813/02]

 293. Mr. Boyle Information on Dan Boyle Zoom on Dan Boyle  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  if payment on the variable costs of the disability payment scheme can be introduced by July 2003. [24814/02]

 294. Mr. Boyle Information on Dan Boyle Zoom on Dan Boyle  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the position in relation to the working group on variable costs of disability payments. [24663/02]

Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Mr. T. O'Malley): Information on Tim O'Malley Zoom on Tim O'Malley I propose to take Question Nos. 292 to 294, inclusive, together.

The working group on the feasibility of introducing a cost of disability payment is currently operating under the aegis of the Department of Health and Children. In order to come to conclusions on the feasibility of introducing such a payment the working group has agreed with the National Disability Authority the research projects that need to be undertaken. These are inter alia: identifying the cost of disability elements of the current Irish statutory system of invalidity and disability payments, examining added costs of living expenses incurred by people with disabilities, trans-national experience, and independent needs assessment methods.

The working group is also undertaking examination of existing benefits and allowances with a view to amending or augmenting them to provide for a cost of disability payment, the tax code to see if it could provide for a cost of disability payment, and the feasibility of introducing a new cost of disability cash payment. The working group has commenced an examination of the operation of the disability living allowance which operates in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland with the assistance of the Department of Social Development in Northern Ireland. The working group is unlikely to report before the summer of 2003.


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