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Disability Payments Review



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,813 ✭✭✭sunbeam

    If implemented, the plan seems to be to move all existing claimants over to the new system over a period of about five years.

    But yes, it's just a discussion document for the moment. The public consultation on this is open until December 15th.

  • Registered Users Posts: 606 ✭✭✭hawthorne

    The whole thing is a proposal. It will be discussed in the coming months. Folks can make an input. It will drag on- and on- and on. We all know how many years it took to get the pension reform taking shape. Even now there has no legislation passed the Dail in that matter.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,973 ✭✭✭✭Dempo1

    I do agree it's only up for discussion and will likely drag on. Disability advocacy groups already not happy on Twitter. It appears to be a solo run by the Minister & Fine Gael & their track record on Social Welfare well known.

    I can not see how they could mess with Invalidity Pension but could certainly see them trying to reduce the amount of people on DA.

    The current system of eligibility for IP for those on DA and whom have worked all their lives very unfair. Essentially if a person awarded DA and not on Illness Benefit for 2 years prior to being awarded DA or on a CE scheme or Jobseekers prior to being awarded DA, they'll never reach eligibility for IP & Will likely be on DA Until pension age.

    DA is also subject to review where as IP is not.

    I think a Certain Age Cohort on DA might be left as is, but I can see many considered level 1 or 2 in a certain age category being "Encouraged" of DA

    I may be wrong but this is where I see this going if it gets passed the discussion stage.

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.

  • Registered Users Posts: 872 ✭✭✭doc22

    Invalidity Pension for life and Questionable DA claims need to be reviewed and rules applied consistently(half the DCA claimants don't meet DA requirements at 16 for example when the claim comes for review for perhaps the first time ). The proposed system just creates a new point for appeal, once to get in payment and another for the tier

  • Registered Users Posts: 40,291 ✭✭✭✭Gatling

    I think the fact there's been increases in the thousands of people being awarded, DA the bill is 1.4 billion per year now and increasing, I'd take disability out of the title too ,that itself suggest it's a permanent situation,but not everyone on DA is permanently disabled and unable to ever work again,I can't see them going after an older cohort of people

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  • Registered Users Posts: 872 ✭✭✭doc22

    I'd agree, the notion of DA was easier to get in the past kinda doesn't make sense when there was 50k claimants in 2000 versus 160k in 2022 while Invalidity only increased from 50 to 75k. I will say the Pre-Retirement Allowance which looked after the older cohort before 2007 and reduction in IB may account for some of the difference

  • Registered Users Posts: 40,291 ✭✭✭✭Gatling

    It was definitely easier people could apply and get it in weeks where as now people from my personal experiences could be looking at 12-18 months to get a decision due to the Amount of medical documentation required to back up a claim now where before it was signed off by your gp now you need specialists and consultants backing your claim,

    Which doesn't make sense considering the increases over the last few years,I get the feeling COVID may have had some kind of knock on effect

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,248 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    What is the issue?

    People who are genuinely disabled should absolutely have their payments increased.

    Those who engineer themselves to get signed off on disability so that they aren't subject to the same requirements as regular dole should not.

    There are plenty of the former and plenty of the latter. They should be distinguished

  • Registered Users Posts: 872 ✭✭✭doc22

    I've no idea about claims today, but I'd expect more then a gp signin a few boxes for a long term claim.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,973 ✭✭✭✭Dempo1

    Currently there's a lot more than a GP ticking boxes, numerous questions asked of GP + Medical reports. I just went through the process

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8 PineappleSoup

    I'm not directly impacted by this but I really hope the idea of anything similar to the UK isn't entertained. I have a lot of engagement with people with disabilities around the world, so that's the perspective I'm coming from.

    In the UK, people are regularly reassessed for their "level" by people who often have no experience of the condition that person is dealing with, and they generally don't bother to request information from GP/Consultants etc. who are actually familiar with the individual. Someone can be assessed as being on one end of the "level" system and then reassessed and found to be on the other end with no change in condition or ability - the only change is the person conducting the assessment. People who have long term, life limiting conditions requiring full time care are routinely reassessed.

    If the problem is actually that people who feel they could work are afraid they'll lose their payment, why not set up a scheme that anyone on disability can avail of that supports them going to work. We all know "invited to engage" is likely to mean pressurised or forced to engage under threat of losing payment, and the added stress that causes can have a detrimental impact on a persons health. The vast majority of people want to work if they are able, particularly with income being a big issue. Something similar to sick pay could be done where the disability payment goes via the employer while the person is working, and if they are later unable to work they immediately revert to receiving their payment directly.

    I notice the Green Paper says that we have a lower number of people with disabilities in the workforce, but then a little note that we have a lower number of people with disabilities overall. That means we may have people with disabilities in the workforce who just aren't classified as having a disability here but would be elsewhere. So the problem that they are proposing a solution to probably isn't a problem.

    I'd also be curious about how healthcare plays a role. How many people are experiencing disability as a result of being left waiting for the healthcare they need? How does that compare to the rest of the EU? How many extra staff would be required to implement such a system? How many of them would be healthcare staff who are needed far more in our hospitals? What is the real cost versus benefit? What are the potential harms to those people most impacted?

    I note Cherry Blossom mentioned how difficult it was finding an employer who offered suitable employment. Perhaps this is something that needs to be looked at, more investment in training and helping employers provide reasonable accommodations to those who need them. In some cases people apply for disability after a great deal of struggle coping in the workforce - maybe dealing with the issue at the source would help.

    Sorry that's such a long rant, but I think it's important to offer thoughts and insights. Might give other people some thoughts or ideas and encourage submissions for/against the idea with different solutions.

    I will be making a submission myself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 872 ✭✭✭doc22

    "If the problem is actually that people who feel they could work are afraid they'll lose their payment, why not set up a scheme that anyone on disability can avail of that supports them going to work."

    A type of scheme exists

    With DA disregards,medical card, travel pass etc What more is needed?

  • Registered Users Posts: 60 ✭✭Altreab2

    Like most things the devil is in the detail. The disregards are good but If you are living with another person also on disability or another means tested allowance the new income will affect them as well. Means tests are based on household income not just the means of the individual. Medical cards are also assessed on income. This does and will lead to the grey areas in eligibility for the medical card. Travel pass is only of use if there is dependable accessible public transport available. In most places in this country (Including urban areas) that is not the case if you are a wheelchair user.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,009 ✭✭✭Gusser09

    I think it's a good idea. I have a son, 14, who will never work or have the prospect of getting work due to his disability. The idea that he has to survive on the current rate of payment is worrying. Although the tier 1 payment is only an extra 40 euro or so it is a decent increase.

    In all I don't think it's acceptable that we compare the prospect of someone who is temporarily disabled with some who is permanently disabled.

    Also you would hope that this means people who are capable of work will be incentivised to engage with the employment services and get back out into the workforce. The money saved here could be diverted into other schemes for severely disabled and their families such as respite.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 PineappleSoup

    Well the proposal is for requiring some people on disability to take up training and employment - likely something similar to JobPath. I'm saying that instead of forcing people onto such schemes which can actually be detrimental to a persons health, we provide training and supports that people can opt in to if they are able. Encouraging and supporting people generally has better outcomes than forcing them. And there are probably many instances where people are unaware of what is available, maybe localised email mailing lists that advise people of training and supports in their area. Think occupational therapy type support as opposed to "work here or lose your payment". Help people to identify what accommodations they need in order to succeed in the workplace.

    I think you maybe meant to link to the EmployAbility scheme, which requires being job ready. Maybe some people aren't or don't quite feel job ready but would like to be and feel that they could be - what other supports could be added? How many employers engage with that service? Why don't more of them engage? Why don't more people engage? What are the experiences like for those people and how could it be improved? I don't know all of the answers to those things, but if this problem exists then obviously whatever is currently in place isn't working as intended and more is needed. Some people might think the solution should be forcing people into the work force, but having seen the impacts this has on people, I disagree.

    According to the article The Department believes up to half of those on disability payments would be in the level 3 category and that they "would like to work but are precluded from seeking employment as they could lose their payment". If we take the quoted at face value, why do they need to be required to enter the workforce? Surely changing the system so that the fear is removed, where payment is immediately restored if someone later cannot remain in the workforce, would align as a better solution given the claim.

    The UK system isn't fit for purpose. It is designed around the idea that making it as difficult as possible to apply for and receive support prevents people gaming the system, when in fact the people who would game the system have the energy to jump through hoops, while the majority of applicants who are genuinely disabled don't have that same energy. Those most in need are punished and harmed by such a system.

    What is actually being proposed here is forcing half of people on disability payments into the workforce with a medical card. The increase is much needed and I'm sure would be very welcomed, but the rest of it is a horrific idea. In the UK, 90 people a month die after being deemed fit for work (what we're proposing as level 3). Research has linked the work capability assessment with 600 suicides over 3 years. (Sorry, can't post links yet, but it's not hard to find)

    This really isn't a system we should be mirroring. If half of those on disability would like to work, why not ask them directly what would help enable them to do so? An anonymous survey of those on disability so people don't fear being penalised - do you feel you could engage in the workforce, to what degree, what supports would help you to do so? I somehow doubt many will answer that being forced is what they need.

  • Registered Users Posts: 26,973 ✭✭✭✭Dempo1

    Is maith an scáthán súil charad.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,813 ✭✭✭sunbeam

    Agree wholeheartedly PineappleSoup.

    At a very basic level, why not ask people what supports they need to improve their lives? For some it might be greater access to OT so they can be helped to manage the basic activities of daily living, which aren't always easy if you have a chronic and exhausting condition. For others it might be access to part time or online third level education, with grants for fees- not just generic one size fit all courses. And many other things.

    The UK system is likely to get worse, as their government is seeking to drastically reduce the numbers in the support group, which would be group 1 under the proposals here. Just because someone is severely disabled doesn't mean that they will always be protected under a system like this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,768 ✭✭✭thomas 123

    I saw a documentary on this - in the UK it’s private companies doing these assessments who are incentivized to get people “back into the work force” I believe the focus of the documentary was to highlight life on benifits in general not just disability so the case studies shown were questionable - however the same tactics applied to someone genuinely disabled or unable to work would be cruel and demeaning especially if it was to be on a regular basis like shown in that doc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,813 ✭✭✭sunbeam

    More information about the latest aspect of benefits reform consultation in the UK:

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,433 ✭✭✭✭gormdubhgorm

    Works both ways it could help integrate the disabled into society, give confidence mental well being etc etc etc.

    Or such people are taken advantage of and used as dogsbodies - and it is work for the sake of it. Not real employment. Licking envelopes or filling out spreadsheets.

    Normally in such schemes there is financial incentive to work on top of benefits. They will just think up a new name Community Employment/Jobbridge etc It just seems like a political equivalent of a rebranding.

    Guff about stuff, and stuff about guff.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,248 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    Some great solutions on here - just ask the claimant what they want and then blindly take their word for it.

    I have a good friend who is trying to live with a debilitating disease and survive on next to nothing. The resources that should be there are getting soaked up by chancers whose only effort made in life was to get themselves onto disability. They know that once they have that, they are secure for life.

    What was the fella down the country who was criticised by a judge there a couple of months back - only in his early 20's and on disability for something like having mild diabetes. Was he done for robbing houses or something like that?

    Edit: Actually, I found it. He was lactose intolerant!

    Some posters on here would appear to categorise that man the same as a wheelchair bound person. No fu^king way. Take it off him and give it to the genuine ones

  • I’m retired myself from the public service, originally a bit early on health grounds, but I have my secure modest pension. I now have progressive MS and in the midst of a GP Medical Card application process, which I may or may not be granted.

    Overall it must be really difficult for a professional to actually quantify disability. In some cases it’s clear cut and permanent, if you lose (or use of) 3 limbs, well they are not going to be restored within our current realm of medical science and it’s obviously within the most severe category, and a “small” (but significant to the individual) stable disability, like limitation of the use of a hand, can be easily quantified.

    Between that there are cases like myself with an ever changing pattern of MS symptoms. I already have my pension, but supposing I were still working in the private sector, I would have been forced to give up because when I wake up in the morning I can’t ever be sure if my legs will work that day sufficiently to get me out of the apartment, and sometimes out of bed. I let go of things out of my hands, sometimes start to choke on food, or faint in a seizure if I stand up from sitting. Some days I’m a lot better than all that, other days bedridden. Quantifying disability in somebody like me all depends on the day, sometimes the hour in the day, sometimes the weather outside, and that’s not taking into account the mental health & cognitive fog aspects that come & go. So it must be anything but easy for a doctor to be specific about how well anybody with a range of conditions can typically function.

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,248 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    Nobody would question or argue with an MS diagnosis or similar. You should be automatically entitled to the top tier and that should be high enough for you to live on properly. Not down where it is today. If it is such that you can still work and can find a job which suits, then maybe you can elect to a lower tier that allows you to work and retain etc. (general "you")

    A vague claim of a "bad back" or similar that cannot be definitively diagnosed with tests should (unfortunately for ones who are genuine in such claims) be subject to a different category. Similarly for "lactose intolerance" etc.

    Post edited by Paul on

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 PineappleSoup

    Please do quote the post here for us that equivocates lactose intolerance with someone who is wheelchair bound. If you can't, please don't make up nonsense. Nothing wrong with having differing opinions, discussing those like reasonable people often helps inspire solutions that might actually work. You're using an extreme example that represents the minority who abuse the system. No one here is advocating for those people. Share your thoughts and insights, don't put words in the mouths of other people to do that.

    The issue is that sometimes policy makers try so hard to create obstacles and barriers to those people, and those obstacles harm the people who are genuinely in need, and often do not actually deter the chancers. The chancers have the time and energy to fill in 50 pages of documentation, they can travel 90 minutes and are willing to lie their way through an assessment. That isn't so easy for the genuine people. In the UK for many people, if you don't travel to your appointment to be assessed because you aren't able, you are penalised for not showing up. If you show up (often 90 minutes from home) it's used against you because you were capable of travelling to the appointment. Yes, you are supposed to be able to get assessed at home where needed - I know of people who are wheelchair bound requiring 24/7 care who have been refused at home assessment.

    And I'm not saying just ask people what they want and blindly take their word. The department made a statement that 50% of people want to work and are afraid to for fear of being cut off their payment. Do you not agree it's worth asking those people for their input on what would actually help instead of deciding for them? Maybe 80% of those who feel able to work will say they need reassurance about what will happen financially if in a few weeks or months they are struggling. Maybe 60% of the people who want to work will express that workplaces aren't accommodating their needs.

    I remember someone breaking their leg and not being able to come to work at their desk job because it was considered a hazard - how do policies like that impact those with long term mobility issues? Accessibility plays a big role. I encountered a woman having a great deal of difficulty navigating a shop in her wheelchair a few days ago. I've seen a few people with mobility issues have falls on the buses because the drivers have no consideration for letting them get steadied before speeding off. I'm planning to take a friend for lunch and the only way to get from her house to the local restaurant is by walking down the road because the paths have huge trees which prevent a wheelchair, pram etc. from passing.

    And those are just a few examples I have recently encountered, and I am speaking as someone able bodied, I'm sure there are many challenges I am completely oblivious to because I'm not experiencing them first hand. So yes, I think we should ask people who are impacted what is preventing them from accessing employment. Maybe they're awaiting a surgery, maybe they don't have suitable transportation, maybe the employers aren't accommodating, maybe other staff aren't accommodating, maybe they are concerned they wont cope and will be cut off from any financial help, maybe they need some education or training to build confidence - but let's not ask about any of that because there was that one guy with lactose intolerance.

  • Lactose intolerance is a bit of snowflakery. It means you predictably get osmotic diarrhoea after consumption of avoidable lactose. Nobody needs much of a payment for that. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (which I had prior to colectomy & ileostomy) is a different beast, it can land you in hospital and could even kill you via sepsis if untreated. Most “bad backs” are now managed with physio and exercise, occasionally surgery, but I’ve occasionally known people to take the p1$$ over them, eg when double-jobbing. A good thorough physical assessment ought to be able to evaluate how the person with the bad back, whose scans are normal, can function, and should be directed to employment which would suit them. With medical technology developments and approval of their use I’m sure there will be better ways of assessing pain responses in the future, so that if somebody claims to be in great pain doing x or y, it can be determined that they are well exaggerating and could, with adjustments easily put in a day’s work.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 PineappleSoup

    31% of those who apply for PIP in the UK are refused, and people with MS there do also get put into the equivalent of the proposed level 2 and 3 tiers - not just level 1. So while what you're saying should be true, it doesn't mean that's what happens in reality unfortunately. And sure, one can hope we'd do a better job here but that is by no means likely.

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,071 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78

    very disturbing stuff alright, it ultimately shows the serious lack and willing of the government to understand the true causes of such outcomes, im sure this will include the critical need of psychological supports for those affected, as they transition to these new payment structures!

  • Registered Users Posts: 40,291 ✭✭✭✭Gatling

    But something like 1 million people came off disability payments before the assessments even began that's alone shows the UK system was being abused,there was one particular case where a family was claiming for a family member who was in a vegitive state at home, hospital bed, oxygen, monitors ,

    Turned out there was nothing wrong with the chap,

    Even on here you will find threads where someone was diagnosed with a condition not necessarily life threatening and to be told you they can longer work so they must apply for disability,but yet they have been in employment for most of their adult life, having a condition or several doesn't exclude you permanently from the work force, we need to brake away from Disability means your actually permanently disabled, it just means a condition or illness will last longer than a year,

    We do need oversight and proper reviews including into is someone actually trying to help themselves and improve their health situation,

  • Registered Users Posts: 29,071 ✭✭✭✭Wanderer78

    ...many on disability in fact have undiagnosed, therefore untreated psychological disorders, which has in fact lead them to this situation, i know of people that were welfare assessed, but the assessment process is largely physical assessment based, and had virtually no psychological element to the assessment. effectively forcing these people back into employment would more than likely lead to catastrophic effects for everyone, of course in particular the individuals themselves, i know many on da, that if placed in this position, would more than likely end up requiring serious psychological treatment due to the breakdown induced!

    ....on a lighter note, this government truly is fcuked, it has no clue what many citizens actually need, and their approaches are simply gonna keep failing, they ll get slaughtered in coming elections due to such proposals!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 8 PineappleSoup

    I haven't said we don't need oversight. But we have a much lower appeals rate than the UK with a 50% success rate. Their appeals rate is 15x higher and they also have a 75% success rate for appeals which indicates that the system they are using isn't working very well for those it's designed for. I think we actually have quite good oversight here. Sure, historically we didn't, but that could equally be helped by reassessing people who have been on disability long term - maybe not people who are missing 3 limbs but anyone who was awarded on the basis of a bad back or any conditions which may have improved. Get some documentation from their GPs that the condition is still present and being treated, with additional assessment as appropriate.

    I have several conditions myself (including lactose intolerance) - so do many, many people, and most of us are working without remotely entertaining the idea of disability. One of the big issues in the UK is that they generally don't look for anything from the applicants actual doctor(s). Here, your GP needs to sign off on your application - which I imagine drastically reduces the ability for people to falsely claim things like being in a vegetative state. (Although if someone told me that a person in a vegetative state was required to come in for an assessment I wouldn't be shocked.) In the UK the people making these assessments have never met the applicants, they don't know their history, and they may not even be remotely familiar with the condition(s) the person has. That isn't good oversight, it just doesn't work or make sense. It is easier to abuse for those who are well enough for work but just taking advantage of the system, but far more harmful to those who really do need support.

    If you have a source for the 1 million people coming off benefits before the system was introduced would you pass it on to me please? Had a look and I'm getting results about them trying to get 1 million off benefits by 2027 instead of what I'm looking for. Thanks!

    I would also wonder if the man with lactose intolerance was being entirely honest about why he was receiving disability, given he was found dead in prison aged 23 with no foul play involved. Might be the case but it does strike me as odd given how difficult it is for people to get disability.

    I'm all for helping people get back into the workforce, but doing this by force to those most vulnerable isn't helping. It's harmful. It's also hard to quantify how many people and up needing further medical intervention due to harms caused by being forced into the workforce when they actually aren't well enough, resulting in a deterioration of their condition. That has a cost too - both to the individuals and to the state.

    I'm not in any way saying we shouldn't have oversight, I'm saying we shouldn't import a system that has proven itself to be beyond broken. And it's a system that worsens the problems instead of solving them.

    Ireland has one of the lowest rates of people with disability in the EU. Ours is 11.8%, the EU average is around 25%. Odds are, we don't magically have less people with a disability, they just aren't being categorised in the same way. So when other EU countries are saying the disabled there have a 40%+ labour force participation and ours is 37% - that's likely because the majority of the other half of our people with disabilities are working and aren't being considered as having a disability. According to the National Disability Authority, looking at those with a disability who are able to participate in the labour force, we're at almost 50% - the EU average. If we're going to identify problems, we should be using proper data that is comparable - not making assumptions off skewed data. And we should be verifying what the problems are (including abuse of the system) and come up with targeted solutions to those problems - not using an idea from elsewhere that doesn't work to begin with.