Dáil Éireann - Volume 621 - 14 June, 2006
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.
Mr. O’Shea Mr. O’Shea
Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs his proposals in the case of a spouse in receipt of carer’s allowance who is also the adult dependant of the other spouse who is in receipt of old age contributory pension to allow for both carer’s allowance and old age pension adult dependant payment to be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22884/06]
Mr. Brennan Mr. Brennan
Mr. Brennan: The carer’s allowance is a social assistance payment which provides income support to people who are providing certain elderly or incapacitated persons with full time care and attention and whose incomes fall below a certain limit.
The primary objective of the social welfare system is to provide income support and, as a general rule, only one weekly social welfare payment is payable to an individual. Persons qualifying for two social welfare payments always receive the higher payment to which they are entitled.
In Budget 2006, I provided for a significant increase in the rate of carer’s allowance. From January this year, the rate of carer’s allowance increased to EUR200 per week for carers aged 66 years and over. This rate of payment would be higher in many instances than the rate of old age pension or qualified adult allowance payable to a person.
In addition, from June 2005, the annual respite care grant was extended to all carers who are providing full time care to a person who needs such  care regardless of their income. Those persons in receipt of other social welfare payments, excluding unemployment assistance and benefit, are entitled to this payment subject to meeting the full time care condition. This arrangement was introduced to acknowledge the needs of carers especially in relation to respite. Provision was made in Budget 2006 to increase the amount of the respite care grant from EUR1,000 to EUR1,200 from this month.
I am always prepared to consider changes to existing arrangements where these are for the benefit of recipients and financially sustainable within the resources available to me. Those recommendations involving additional expenditure can only be considered in a budgetary context.
Dáil Éireann 621 Written Answers. Social Welfare Benefits.