Carers in Cavan Monaghan and Meath affected by 16 week backlog for carers allowance – Smyth

Discussing issues like Brexit, the Health Service, Ibrahim Halawa and Console on RTE's 'The Week in Politics' on Sunday July 3rd with Minister for Health Simon Harris and Roisin Shorthall TD.
Discussing issues like Brexit, the Health Service, Ibrahim Halawa and Console on RTE’s ‘The Week in Politics’ on Sunday July 3rd with Minister for Health Simon Harris and Roisin Shorthall TD.

System to be in place to grant carers free access to GP care on September 1st 2018

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan Niamh Smyth has been informed by the Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty that there is a 16 week waiting time for carer’s allowance at present.
Deputy Niamh Smyth said, “I find it quite worrying that such a backlog was allowed to happen. I have had a number of concerned applicants contact my offices throughout Cavan, Monaghan about a delay in the processing of their carer allowance application.
“I have queried this with the Minister. As of the end of June 2018 Carers Allowance applications were taking 16 weeks to process and Carers Benefit applications were taking 11 weeks to process. These people are doing great work, behind closed doors. It goes unnoticed daily and there shouldn’t be any delay in providing financial support to them.”
“Carer’s Allowance (CA) is a means-tested payment, made to a person who is resident in the State and providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that they require that level of care.  An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people. Carer’s benefit (CARB) is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a child or an adult in need of full-time care and attention, explained Deputy Smyth.
Deputy Smyth said, “Could you imagine, if we hadn’t these great people doing what they do in the homes of people throughout Cavan and Monaghan. Our already stretched health service would collapse. The Department say they have worked on a new Carers Allowance application form which may make the process faster. I am appealing to Minister Doherty to temporarily hire more staff to deal with the backlog.”
Separately, I have been informed by the Minister for Health Simon Harris that following the passing of the Health (General Practioner Service) Bill 2018 n July 11th, 14,000 additional carers are now to receive Free GP Care.  The bill means that those in receipt of Carers Allowance and Carers Benefit will be automatically eligible for a GP Service free of charge.  I was delighted to support this important piece of legislation to support carers. I have been informed that it is expected that this system for applications will be in place by 1st September 2018.

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For Written Answer on : 24/07/2018
Question Number(s): 2518 Question Reference(s): 33647/18
Department: Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Asked by: Niamh Smyth T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

REPLY

Question No: 2518                        Ref No: 33647-18

To the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection

To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the waiting times for processing carer’s allowance and carer’s benefit applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Niamh Smyth.

*    For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 24th July, 2018.

R E P L Y

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Regina Doherty T.D):
My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.
Carer’s Allowance (CA) is a means-tested payment, made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that they require that level of care.  An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.
Carer’s benefit (CARB) is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a child or an adult in need of full-time care and attention.
At the end of June 2018 the average waiting time for new CA application was 16 weeks while it was 11 weeks for a new CARB application.
Before a decision can be made on entitlement CA, evidence must be provided to establish whether the person being cared for has such a disability that they require full-time care and attention, whether the carer is providing full-time care and attention, whether the carer is habitually resident in the State and, finally, whether the carer satisfies the means test.
To qualify for CARB a person has to show that they have the required level of PRSI contributions, that they have left full-time employment, that they are providing full-time care and attention and that the person being cared for has such a disability that they require full-time care and attention.
In general, social welfare schemes with a number of complex qualifying conditions can take longer to process. This is compounded if the documentary evidence provided at initial application stage is incomplete or insufficient; this is sometimes the case with carer’s applications.
The Department recently launched a re-designed carer’s allowance application form. The new form includes a Care Report section which has been arrived at through consultation between officials and medical assessors of my Department and representatives and members of Family Carers Ireland.
It is expected that the new form will allow carers to provide more information on the type and level of care they provide, with an aim to providing Deciding Officers with the information they need to expedite decisions on entitlement.
The CARB form is currently being re-designed in a similar way.
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
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______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 24/07/2018
Question Number(s): 1676 Question Reference(s): 34069/18
Department: Health
Asked by: Niamh Smyth T.D.
______________________________________________

QUESTION

To ask the Minister for Health when carers are expected to receive a free general practitioners visit card following the passing of legislation recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY

In December 2017, the Government  announced that additional funding would be provided to enable all carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance to qualify for a GP visit card. Government approval was given on the 11 April to provide GP services without fees to persons in receipt of either full or half rate Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit and to draft the Heads of Bill to legislate for this provision.

Following the passing of the Health (General Practitioner Service) Bill 2018 on July 11th, 2018 , 14,000 additional Carers are now to receive Free GP Care.

The Bill means that those in receipt of either full or half rate Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit will be automatically eligible for a GP service free of charge.

Following the passage of the legislation, the HSE will now undertake the necessary operational requirements so that applications for the new services, in both paper and online format, will be in place by 1st September 2018.

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