THE decision to scrap the rehabilitative training allowance, a weekly payment of €31.80 a week made to people with disabilities who undertake training programmes, has been criticised by a Cork TD.
The payment, first introduced in 2001, is to be phased out from the beginning of September. School leavers with a disability who take up training programmes will no longer receive the payment although anyone currently attending programmes will continue to receive the allowance until they complete their programme.
“This decision is thoughtless and harsh. It will affect the most vulnerable the most – and the savings will be minimal,” Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Disability, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony said.
A number advocacy groups have also criticised the move, including Inclusion Ireland, the National Association for People with an Intellectual Disability, and AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation.
AONTAS called for ‘a full reinstatement of this allowance which is an essential financial support that contributes to increasing participation in lifelong learning.’
“The allowance is designed to help people with disabilities develop life, social and basic work skills so that further education and employment options are more accessible to them,” Ms O’Mahony added.
“Minister Finian McGrath claims that the money that would have been spent on the bonus, estimated at approximately €3.7 million over four years, will be redirected to address unmet need in day service provision for people with disabilities.
“I cannot understand how the Minister with responsibility for Disability can believe that robbing Peter to pay Paul is an appropriate way to help people with disabilities.”
Ms O’Mahony suggested the minister should instead seek additional funding to properly resource day service provision.