Make Work Pay for people with disabilities - findings and recommendations of the interdepartmental group
Minister for Social Protection, Leo Varadker, Minister for Health, Simon Harris and Minister with special responsibility for disability, Finian McGrath today (6th April) launched the ‘Make Work Pay’ Report.
The report presents the findings and recommendations of the Make Work Pay interdepartmental group set up last year and chaired by Prof Frances Ruane.
The group was set up to implement one of the strategic priorities contained in the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities – to make work pay for people with disabilities.
The Make Work Pay group examined some of the barriers to work that people with disabilities experience, such as the loss of benefits like the medical card and the Free Travel Pass.
The report makes a number of recommendations, gives timeframes for their implementation and assigns responsibility to specific departments and agencies.
The recommendations include:
- Raise the medical card income disregard from its current level of €120
- Abolish the requirement that work be of a ‘rehabilitative nature’
- Allow people to retain the Free Travel Pass for a period of three years after they take up employment
- Address the access to and affordability of medical aids or appliances that might be required to support people to work
Speaking at the launch of the report today, Minister Varadker gave a strong commitment to implementing the recommendations contained within the report as soon as possible.
The Minister announced that some of these commitments are to be implementing immediately. Effective from today, people moving from a long term disability payment into employment will be able to retain their Free Travel Pass for 5 years, according to the Minister.
Minister Harris reiterated this commitment to the prompt implementation of the recommendations, stating that he intends to substantially increase the earnings disregard for retention of the medical card this year and within the current HSE budget.
Speaking at the launch today, Minister Harris stated that “raising the earnings level disregard will ensure that those with long-term disabling conditions who have modest earnings will still be eligible for a medical card and this will address what the report finds is the single most significant barrier for people with disabilities”.
The report also makes recommendations on ensuring that people with disabilities can access information on employment. As part of this commitment, the Group have published the report in a range of formats including plain English and easy to read.
You can read the Make Work Pay report here
The plain English report here
The Easy to Read report here
Inclusion Ireland's submission on 'Make Work Pay' in September 2016 is here