Tuesday 20 February 2018

Budget voices: Welfare rise welcomed but specific action needed for disabled

Caitriona Kenny believes that much more needs to be done for people with disabilities
Caitriona Kenny believes that much more needs to be done for people with disabilities

Jane O'Faherty

wheelchair user Caitriona Kenny would have liked to see more specific measures for people with disabilities.

Caitriona (30) is originally from Bayside but now lives in Clontarf in an independent living apartment in the Irish Wheelchair Association's campus.

Born with cerebral palsy, Caitriona has been using a wheelchair all her life.

Caitriona said a €5 increase for those receiving disability allowance was "obviously, a very good thing".

But she said issues like accessible housing now need to be addressed by Government.

Caitriona says the ongoing housing shortage in Dublin can make it difficult for those with disabilities to move.

"It's always the case, when you're looking to move out, you have to think about where you are going to go," she said.

"It's not the same as going out to rent a place. You have to make sure it's fully accessible and there aren't many options out there," she added.

Caitriona is currently on a waiting list for accessible housing, but she has yet to find it.

She also wanted to see cuts to the personal assistants being restored.

"Personal assistance is the way a lot of people are assisted to live their lives at home," she said.

"It makes a huge difference to people like me," she added.

"It means I can get out of bed in the morning. It means I can do my own shopping."

Caitriona welcomed the announcement that 10,000 children on the domiciliary assistance scheme would receive medical cards.

But she feels the Budget could have addressed people with disabilities more.

"If you are working for over 19.5 hours a week, your medical card could be taken away," she said.

"Things like a wheelchair and specialised shoes are very expensive, but are really necessary and you can buy them with a medical card, she added.

"For my specialised shoes, you'd be talking about €300 a pair.

"For a motorised wheelchair, you would be talking about €10,000."

Caitriona believes the cap on hours for disabled medical card holders should be reviewed, to encourage those with special need to seek employment.

Irish Independent

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