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Written Answers. - Disabled Person's Grant Scheme.

Wednesday, 18 December 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 559 No. 6

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 238. Ms O. Mitchell Information on Olivia Mitchell Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  asked the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the disabled person's grant schemes have run out of money and in many local authorities are no longer operational; if this critical scheme could be 100% funded by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26884/02]

Minister for the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Cullen): Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen The administration of the disabled person's grant scheme is a matter for individual local authorities. Local authorities receive a combined capital allocation from my Department for house purchase and improvement loans and disabled person's and essential repairs grants. The breakdown of these allocations between the different schemes is a matter for individual authorities in the light of local circumstances.

Apart from these allocations, my Department's involvement with funding for the disabled person's grants scheme relates primarily to the recoupment of up to two thirds of local authority expenditure on the payment of individual grants. The grant scheme is funded at local authority level from the authorities' own resources and within the amounts included for that purpose in the local authorities' own estimates of expenditure.

Significant improvements have been made to the terms and conditions of the disabled person's grant scheme in recent years and this has resulted in an increased level of activity under the scheme. The effective maximum grant has been increased from €10,158 in 1997 to €20,320 currently. In [1603]addition, the grant now covers 90% of the approved cost of the works compared to two thirds in 1997. The recoupment rate from my Department to local authorities in respect of grants paid has also increased, from 50% to two thirds, and a disabled person's new house grant of up to an effective maximum of €12,700 has been introduced.

I propose to make allocations to local authorities in respect of the operation of the disabled person's and essential repairs grants schemes in 2003 in the light of, inter alia, the information returned by authorities on the operation of the schemes in 2002. I have no proposals at this stage to change the funding arrangements of either scheme, but these will continue to be kept under review.


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