DFI Statement on Budget 2020

Press Release from the Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI.

People with disabilities now the forgotten “vulnerable”.

Budget 2020 continues a shameful neglect of disability which will see further increases in the 26% who live in consistent poverty, said the Disability Federation of Ireland, DFI.

“The 13.4% of the population living with disability have seen Budgets in good years and bad. For people with disabilities, Brexit is just this year’s excuse for failing to stop a marginalisation which makes us the forgotten “vulnerable””, said DFI’s Head of Policy, Dr Joanne McCarthy.

“At this point no one is more “vulnerable” than people with disabilities who have seen poverty rates more than double since 2011 (from 11% in 2011 to 26% in 2016). Of course, they will suffer the ill-effects of Brexit, housing and health shortages like every other citizen. But they remain uniquely exposed and unprotected as the spiralling poverty rates clearly show”, said Dr McCarthy.

We’ve heard a great deal about how this Budget would have measures that targeted “the vulnerable”. Surely an increase in Disability Allowance, is urgently needed?

People with disabilities have been forgotten both in their own income and in those of the community services they depend on. Our member organisations provide many of these essential services which are subject to an annual rolling deficit of at least €40 million.

“It is alarming that so far in Budget 2020 we see no measures to address either this or rising levels of unmet need in the disability services programme”, said Dr McCarthy.

DFI’s mission is to ensure equality for people with disabilities. We have laid out what needs to be done in successive Pre-Budget Submissions. For example, we need a multi-annual investment for community services. His would cost €211 million over four years.

Given the unique vulnerability of people with disabilities, special targeted measures are urgently needed. We have seen that more generalised increases across the board fail to address the decline in both living standards and disability services.

We do welcome:

  • Investment of €1.9 million in special needs education
  • Improvements to the drug payment scheme
  • Improved access to pre-school for children with disabilities
  • Increases in home carers’ credit
  • Support to 1600 school leavers with disabilities
  • Funding for the Autism Plan
  • Increase in respite allowance.