The Carers Association Offaly has launched its Pre-Budget Submission 2012 imploring Government not to introduce further cuts to vital social welfare payments and services for Offaly’s family carers.
Despite being the only group who work for their social welfare payments, Offaly’s family carers have experienced serious cuts to payments and services since Budget 2009. The Carers Association is imploring Government to consider the cumulative effects of these cuts. Family carers also have to survive with these cuts in a climate of increased costs in health related services combined with the ‘hidden costs of caring’ including increased heating costs, medical and hospital bills, transport, dietary and incontinence costs.
“The provision of family care in Ireland is in a state of crisis. Family carers are being forced to make huge sacrifices, cut back on essentials and, in some cases, skip meals in order to make ends meet. Finding ways to support family carers, not take essential payments and services away from them, is a win-win approach for the care recipient, the family carer and the public purse.
If family carers stopped providing care in the morning, the cost to the state to replace this work would be almost €4 billion per annum yet it pays about €540 million through Carers Allowances.
At the moment this difference represents a notional benefit to the state, but if family caring becomes economically unsustainable it will become a real cost” says Sheila Kinsella, Centre Manager The Carers Association, Tullamore.
In its Pre-Budget Submission 2012, titled ‘If you don’t care, how can we?’, The Carers Association is asking Government for two priorities
* To safeguard family carers from further cuts to social welfare payments and services
* To publish the National Carers Strategy, as promised in the Programme for Government.
The Carers Association is calling on Government to fulfill this commitment before the end of 2012 and set out realistic steps to improve the lot of family carers in relation to income supports, healthcare, training, the labour market, transport, housing and information services.
“Offaly’s Family carers implement Government’s own policy of supporting care in the home. They are Ireland’s invisible workforce, many continuing to provide full-time care in spite of their own health problems, both physical and mental, and the lack of state support. Family carers work long hours and save the state billions. We have family carers calling our centres terrified about what this budget will bring and are appealing to Government not to implement further cuts to carer’s payments and services” says Sheila Kinsella.
The Carers Association’s Pre-Budget Submission 2012, titled ‘If you don’t care, how can we?’ is available to download at www.carersireland.com under Library of Documents.