National Federation concerned around limited funding made available in Budget 2023 to provide new service and support developments for people with disabilities

(27 Sep 2022)

The National Federation has welcomed the Cost of Disability payment introduced in Budget 2023 but expressed significant concern around the limited funding made available to provide new service and support developments for people with disabilities - which have been identified as being urgently needed under the Government’s Disability Capacity Review.


We are very concerned about the limited level of funding provided to support the development of new services, which are urgently needed. With respect to disability service funding, Minister McGrath announced; “Substantial investment in our health and social care services, including: "Funding of €138 million including €29 million for new developments to strengthen disability services, though the provision of additional respite, day service and residential places in line with Disability Capacity Review”. The figure of €29million falls far short of the levels of investment needed as outlined in the Government’s Disability Capacity Review published in July 2021, and for which the Action Plan was due to be published recently. The Disability Capacity Review identifies an additional amount of between €80million (to meet demographic need) and €350million (to meet demographic and unmet need) of new supports required from 2022 onwards to 2032, with that figure rising in subsequent years.


Our own pre-budget submission identified more than 1500 people with intellectual disabilities living with a primary carer over the age of 70, with more than 485 of these carers being over the age of 80. There are more than 2,400 people with disabilities who remain living in congregated settings. These are the people who are waiting for the supports that the Disability Capacity Review quantified. We await further clarification on the breakdown of investment in residential, day supports, respite, PA and home help and community services with the figures announced today.     


The National Federation welcomes the introduction of a Cost of Disability Payment to people on Disability Allowance (€500) and to family carers announced in Budget 2023, whilst noting the need for this to be an ongoing payment and to be increased to meet the requirements set out in the Government’s Cost of Disability Report. The payments announced recognise that the cost of living crisis now present for all citizens, has been experienced by people with disabilities and their families for a very long time. The Government’s Cost of Disability Report details the significant ongoing extra costs for people with disabilities - for example additional heating and transport – and so the payment will need to be ongoing to provide the required support into the future.


Inflationary pressures on electricity, fuel, food are significantly increasing costs for the delivery of frontline essential disability services and therefore these costs need to be addressed as a matter of urgency. The expectation that inflation rates will remain at 7% means this will be a medium term problem for providing appropriate services.  The announcement of a substantial funding package to support the community and voluntary sector is very welcome in this context, and we look forward to receiving further details on how this funding will be allocated to support services to people with disabilities.


Minister Donohoe set out the context of high levels of employment currently being experienced nationally. Whilst high levels of employment are very welcome, they also come with significant challenges for staffing in disability services, where recruitment and retention is at crisis levels. It is essential that a workforce planning strategy is put in place for disability without delay. This will be required for Section 38 and Section 39 service providers to be able to meet the urgent and pressing needs of people with disabilities set out in the Disability Capacity Review. 


In developing the new housing stock to meet the needs of our citizens, it is important that the Housing Strategy for Disabled People is implemented so that people with disabilities are not left behind and that the housing developed is accessible to meet the considerable housing needs of people with disabilities. 


The measures quantified in the Disability Capacity Review are required for people with intellectual disability to access their rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to live and be included as equal citizens in the community, with supports where needed. We are calling on Government to take these responsibilities very seriously and to bring forward an action plan that sets out clearly how these targets are to be achieved, for citizens with disabilities and their families.   



Dr Alison Harnett 

National Federation of Voluntary Service Providers 

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