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Saturday 22 September 2018

Probe after 'unexplained' surge in people claiming disability allowance

There are currently 126,000 in receipt of the disability allowance
There are currently 126,000 in receipt of the disability allowance

THE Government is probing an "unexplained" surge in people getting disability allowance in the past decade.

In an exclusive piece in today’s Irish Independent, Charlie Weston writes that in the past 10 years there has been a jump of more than 42,000 getting the payments.

As it stands, there are 126,000 in receipt of the disability allowance - a 50pc rise from 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, the cost of the allowance has leapt to €1.3bn.

Some of the increase is explained by changes in medical assessment, as well as demographic changes - but many recipients are young.

There are concerns that a minority of disability cheats are skewing the figures and claiming taxpayers' money.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform recently produced a report calling for further investigation of the matter.

However, the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty has denied that her Department has "dragged its heels" on probing the "unexplained inflows" of recipients.

Officials at the Department are now investigating why the number of people claiming the disability allowance has increased so quickly.

Applicants' own GPs are required to complete a medical report, something other countries are now abandoning in favour of a more uniform, independent evaluation system.

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