Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has today published his party’s proposals to tackle the difficulties faced by Carers in accessing social protection supports.
Speaking on publication of the document, Teachta Brady said:
“The National Carers’ Strategy was published by Government back in 2012. It committed to supporting and empowering Carers yet it is the Governments’ own policies which prevent this.
“It is not enough to complement Carers and the work that they do every day. Instead, we need to tackle the very issues that they have consistently raised.
“The very fact that our social protection system does not support and assist Carers should ring alarm bells when its very purpose is to do just that.
“Far too many Carers are receiving no State support for the care that they provide day in and day out.
“This is despite the fact that they save the State billions of euro every year. Those that do receive either Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit are prevented from managing their own time as regards being able to supplement their payment with employment outside the home for any more than 15 hours.
“Many of them are punished at retirement unable to access an adequate State Pension after years of caring for another person.
“We are proposing an end to the 15 hour rule, specific and intensive supports through existing job activation schemes to assist Carers when their caring role ceases and absolute certainty that they will not be punished with a reduced State Pension because of their years spent in a caring role.
“We also want to see changes to the way in which means are assessed for Carers Allowance, an increase in the Carer’s Support Grant and access to secondary social welfare supports for Carers who are currently denied these additional supports.
“This week is National Carer’s Week. It needs to be about more than showing our appreciation for Carers; it needs to be about listening to them, taking action and making their lives that little bit easier.”