Varadkar: Thousands entitled to carer's grant
Thousands of people entitled to carer's support grants are not applying for the State funding, says Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar.
Mr Varadkar is urging people to apply for the 2016 Carer's Support Grant as he this week prepares to pay the fully restored payment to carers around the country.
The payment previously known as the Respite Care Grant was fully restored in the last budget after been reduced by €350 during the recession.
Full-time carers are now entitled to €1,700 a year for every person they have in their care. The grant is not means tested and paid to all carers providing full-time care and attention to an older person or a child or adult with a disability.
In a statement to be released today, Mr Varadkar will urge all carers who do not automatically qualify for the payment to apply for the grant as there is still time to make an application.
"The 2016 Carer's Support Grant which will be paid this week has been fully restored to its previous level of €1,700," Minister Varadkar said. "This is an important grant which is paid automatically to carers who are already in receipt of schemes like the Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit and Domiciliary Care Allowance.
"Other full-time carers who are not eligible for these schemes can also apply for the grant, and I would urge them to make an application. Carers who provide full-time care for more than one person may also be entitled to €1,700 for each person that they are caring for," he added.
The Department of Social Protection will also make €500,000 available to help carers transition from full-time caring roles. Budget 2016 also provided for the Carer's Allowance to be paid for 12 weeks from January 2016, after the death of the person being cared for. Previously this payment was paid for six weeks.
There are around 7,000 carers currently taking care of two or more people. The full restoration of the care grant to post-crisis levels in this year's budget cost €30m.
Total expenditure on all State-supported carer allowances is estimated to cost over €911m this year.