Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection, Willie O’Dea TD, has slammed Minister Joan Burton and her Department for overseeing an 80% refusal rate for the disability allowance.
Deputy O’Dea commented: “Information provided to me by Minister Burton’s officials reveals that 80% of those who applied for the disability allowance this year have been refused. This is an extraordinary and appalling statistic and I just wonder what Ministerial directive the people processing these applications have been given.
“Of the 6,014 applications received between January and April of this year, 4,823 have been rejected. It represents another attack on the disabled, poor and less well off and reflects a very cynical approach, where the Minister claims that there has been no change in policy, but is forcing a very different approach in practice.
“While the Minister for Health performed an embarrassing but welcome climb down on his assault on personal assistants for the disabled, this does not take away from the fact that this Government continues to put disproportionate pressure on the most vulnerable section of society.
“Despite the hand-wringing, the Government seems intent on standing by its decision to slash 600,000 home help hours and cut 200 home care packages per month, while the Department of Social Protection is now on course to reject over 16,000 applications this year based on meaningless desktop exercises in Dublin.
“Minister Burton needs to be open and honest about what she is doing with disability allowance – pretending that there is no change while many thousands of families struggle is disingenuous and needs to be confronted. The Government needs to stop treating the disabled and the vulnerable as a soft touch,” concluded Deputy O’Dea.