Ireland: Government Publishes the Cost of Disability Research Report

Europe, Misc., December 14 2021

Social Protection Minister, Heather Humphreys, has announced the publication of the Cost of Disability Research Report.

The cost of disability can be measured by the costs faced by people with a disability in their day-to-day lives that others in society do not face (the ‘direct costs’ approach).

It can also be measured by the amount of additional income a household containing a person with a disability would require to achieve the same standard of living as a comparable household that does not contain a person with a disability (the ‘equivalence’ approach).

In order to get a better understanding of the extent and composition of these costs, and the way they affect people differently, the Department of Social Protection commissioned Indecon International Research Economists to conduct an independent Cost of Disability study.

The Programme for Government commits the government to using the research to properly inform the direction of future policy.

The research finds that there is no one cost but that rather a spectrum of costs that varies across a number of dimensions, including the age of the individual, the severity of disability, as well as the nature of the disability and household type.

While some of the costs reported through the survey are already met by the State, further improvements cannot be delivered through income supports alone but requires a broader perspective covering areas such as employment, housing, transport, education and health.

The report will now be referred to the National Disability Inclusion Strategy Steering Group – chaired by Minister of State with Responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte TD – to consider what actions should follow.

On publishing the report, Minister Humphreys commented:

“I am pleased to publish this long-awaited research into the Cost of Disability in Ireland. This research will assist policy makers in making decisions that affect the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

“As part of this research Indecon conducted a survey of people in receipt of Department of Social Protection disability payments.

“In total, 4,734 responses were received – one of the largest surveys involving people living with disabilities ever taken.

“I am pleased to announce that the report will now be considered by the National Disability Inclusion Strategy Steering Group, which includes representatives of people with disabilities. Recommendations arising from the report will be monitored in conjunction with the various stakeholders through this steering Group.”

Additional costs of disability cross a number of areas of expenditure including:

  • equipment, aids and appliances
  • mobility, transport, and communications
  • medicines
  • care and assistance services
  • additional living expenses

Indecon, using both a direct costs approach and an income equivalence approach and estimated that the overall average annual costs of disability in Ireland ranges from €9,482 per annum to €11,734.

The government has committed to using this research into the cost of disability to inform the direction of future policy.

Rather than establishing a new forum or process to consider the report’s findings the government has agreed that the National Disability Inclusion Strategy Steering Group, will consider actions required by government departments on foot of this report.

The next meeting of the group is on 15 December and Indecon International Consultants will present on the report to the key stakeholders.

The National Disability Inclusion Strategy Steering Group is chaired by Minister of State with Responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte TD.

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