Cost of Disability Report must be published by Government
Together with five leading disability and mental health umbrella organisations representing hundreds of thousands of people, Mental Health Reform have called on the Government to publish its report on the Cost of Disability, to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
The research was first announced in October 2018 and was commissioned by the Department of Social Protection. It looks in detail at all of the extra day-to-day costs faced by people with disabilities, previously put at over €200 per week.
In early 2021, an extensive survey incorporating feedback from thousands of disabled people across Ireland was completed by Indecon and a report was submitted to the Government. Each Government Department has since examined the report and we are told that the report will be presented to Cabinet by Minister Heather Humphreys in due course. However, three years after this research was first announced, the report remains unpublished.
Disability Federation of Ireland CEO, John Dolan said,
“Ireland has one of the worst rates of social exclusion for people with disabilities in the EU. The clear evidence is that the cost of having a disability in Ireland is very substantial. The Irish Government has never recognised this, despite this issue being well-documented over the past 25 years, since the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities (1996) originally recommended the introduction of a Cost of Disability payment and research by Indecon in 2004 made the same recommendation.
This is a report that examines the issue in detail and that thousands of disabled people took the time to contribute to. As every day passes, disabled people can justifiably feel that they are being left behind and that their inclusion is not important. Our Government hasn’t published the report and did not use it to inform its financial planning for 2022.
This delay has meant that the Budget for 2022 contained no specific cost of disability social welfare payment, and those people with disabilities who rely on the state for their income got the same €5 increase that everyone got, despite their substantial extra costs. Indeed, disability campaigners had been looking for a minimum of €20 per week in Budget 2022 to establish the principle of a Cost of Disability payment.
The most meaningful action the Government could take on International Day of Persons with Disabilities is to finally publish the report. What exactly is it afraid of?
It is time we saw the evidence that is contained in the Government’s own report so that a plan can be put in place in time for next year’s Budget. Without it, the challenges facing disabled people in Ireland will continue to go unrecognised, and they will continue to live in significant poverty. We can’t leave disabled people behind for yet another year.”
The Six Disability/Mental Health Umbrella Organisations are: