Make Work Pay: Update
In 2015, the State launched the Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015-2024. This strategy sets out a ten year approach to ensuring that people with disabilities, who are able to, and want to work, are supported and enabled to do so. A key strategic priority within the Comprehensive Employment Strategy is to ensure that work pays for people with disabilities.
The Department of Social Protection was charged with establishing an interdepartmental expert group, with an independent chair, to examine the complex interactions between the benefit system, including the Medical Card, the additional costs of work associated with a disability, and the net income gains in employment. In addition, the group was charged with considering practical solutions to ensure that people with disabilities who are interested in working can compare their take-home pay to their welfare entitlements and can be reassured that benefits will be seamlessly restored if the employment does not work out for them.
In April 2017 the government released a report called make work pay. The report makes 24 recommendations and under the make work pay initiative, if you move from a long-term disability payment (see list below) to a job, you can keep your entitlement to Free Travel for a period of 5 years, provided you have a registered public services card.
Partial Capacity Benefit (from Invalidity Pension)
Disablement Benefit paid along with Incapacity Supplement
Transfer from Disability Allowance or Invalidity Pension to a Community Employment, SOLAS or Back to Work scheme
However, we have been made aware that in at least one case that a disabled person who moved from a long-term disability payment to securing full-time employment subsequently lost their free travel until they raised the issue with the Department of social protection. This resulted in the reinstatement of their free travel entitlement for 5 years after under the make work pay initiative.
Employment is a huge issue for disabled people. A report by the ESRI showed that only 31% of disabled people are employed compared with 71% of the general population. If policies like Make Work Pay are going to have an impact, we as a national representative disabled person's organisation need to develop our collective analysis of where the system is failing disabled people.
Employment is one of the four pillars of independent living and a key strategic campaign issue for our new strategic plan . Over the course of 2018, we supported members to engage in consultations across the country in relation to engaging younger disabled people on employment as part of the Make Work Pay strategy.
ILMI will create a discussion space in due course on employment in order to build a strong collective analysis.
For more information email our policy officer firstname.lastname@example.org