Working disabled allowed to draw welfare
PEOPLE with disabilities will be able to draw reduced social welfare while returning to work for the first time under a new scheme which came into force yesterday.
Social Protection Minister Joan Burton announced she was introducing a new allowance, known as the Partial Capacity Benefit, which between 2,000 to 3,000 people may avail of.
People who are in receipt of an invalidity pension or illness benefit for more than six months can opt to be assessed to measure their capacity to work.
If they get a job, they can continue to draw social welfare. Their payments would be cut by between €48.70 and €96.75 depending on the assessment.
Ms Burton said: "A person on illness or invalidity payment currently receives an amount known as a personal rate (typically €188) plus additional amounts in respect of adult and child dependents.
"Under the Partial Capacity Benefit scheme, the personal rate of payment will vary and will depend on the person's level of capacity for work."
She pointed out that under the existing illness or invalidity scheme, people with disabilities are not, in general, allowed to earn any income from employment except where it is short-term or rehabilitative.
Based on 2012 rates, a person assessed as having a severe restriction on his or her capacity for work would receive €145.10 a week in invalidity pension, a reduction of €48.40 a week. Somebody on illness benefit, assessed as severe, would see their weekly rate fall to €141 a week, a fall of €47.
Somebody regarded as having a moderate restriction on their capacity for work would get €96.75 a week, a fall of €96.75. Somebody on illness benefit would get €94 a week, a drop of €94.
There is no reduction where there is a profound restriction on the capacity to work.
Ms Burton added: "Nobody will be stuck in the scheme. If a person has to revert to their full illness or disability payment, this will be done without the requirement for further assessments and there will therefore be no delays involved."
"More generally, the scheme is seen as a long-term option for those with partial employment capacity," she added.