Friday, January 10, 2014

Disgraceful cuts to home adaption grant will force some old people into state homes - Kelly

A Wexford Councillor has strongly criticised the new cutbacks to the home adaption grant, which exists so that elderly and disabled people can go on living at home instead of moving into residential care.  Sinn Féin Cllr Anthony Kelly said that the new changes to the scheme were callous and accused the government of attempting to sneak them in under the radar.

Cllr Kelly said;

"These new cutbacks affect three very important grants: the housing adaptation grant for people with a disability, housing aid for older people and the mobility aids grant.  These grants exist so that people can avoid going into residential care.  As well as benefiting the recipients, the grants have also benefitted the state by stopping our residential care units from being over-ran.  Spending on the grants has halved over the past three years showing this governments monumental lack of vision and concern for the well being of our most vulnerable citizens."

"On top of this, Fine Gael and Labour attempted to sneak these changes in under the radar.  These changes were not announced in the budget and local authorities were only informed to make them effective from last Monday."

"Applicants for the housing aid grant for older people will now have to be at least 66 years old rather than 60 and the maximum grant amount has been cut from €10,000 to €8000.  Income bands for the grants are also being reduced so those in the lowest band of €30,000 per annum or less will now have to contribute 5% of the costs themselves.  Of course many will not be able to afford this and will be forced into state care."

"This government has also been responsible for restricting old peoples access to Fair Deal nursing home beds so what we are faced with here is an already stressed system being unable to deal with a greatly increased amount of patients looking for beds.  This is a callous cut and I would call upon Ministers Howlin and Kehoe, and Deputy Twomey to make their voices of opposition heard within the Dail immediately.  They cannot stand over something that so blatantly disrupts the lives of the elderly and disabled of County Wexford."

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