Cuts to Disabitily Allowance

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Below is a letter to relevant Government Ministers and local TD's from the Branch, requesting them to do all in thier power to reverse the recent severe cuts to the Disability Allowance.

Dear Minister,

The Louth /Meath Branch of Down Syndrome Ireland represents over 250 families whom have a family member with Down syndrome in Counties Louth and Meath. The Branch would like to express our utter dismay at the recent announcement of savage cuts to the Disability Allowance for future applicants by the minister of Public Expenditure, Mr. Brendan Howlin on Monday 5th December. This measure aimed at bringing consistency across all age groups in receipt of social welfare, neglects to take account of the reality that young people with Down syndrome are in a somewhat different position to job seekers in the general population. The Disability Allowance helps support the young adult with Down syndrome who may never find full time employment due to his/her disability and the lack of meaningful State programmes to aid young adults with Down syndrome  in the work environment.
 
In the future new applicants including young adults with Down syndrome aged 16 to 18 years of age will no longer be entitled to the Disability Allowance, in its place the parents of these young adults will be entitled to the Domiciliary Allowance. The difference per month between the Domiciliary Allowance and the Disability Allowance is €506 or a 62% reduction in State support for the young adult and their family. Young adults aged between 18 and 21 years face a cut of €88 or a 47% reduction in State support for the young adult. Young adults aged between 22 and 24 years face a cut of €44 or a 24% reduction in State support for the young adult with Down syndrome.
 
The committee of the Louth /Meath Branch believes these cuts completely contradict the Governments policy that the most vulnerable in society would be somewhat protected in these times of economic crisis. Cuts of up to 62% in social welfare entitlements for young adults with Down syndrome are draconian in the extreme and will cause extreme hardship and further exclusion of people with Down syndrome in society.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Niamh O’ Reilly,
Chairperson.
 
Brendan Stephenson,
Secretary.
 
John Brophy,
Treasurer,
 
Louth/Meath Branch,
Down Syndrome Ireland