* To ask the Minister for Health if and when a replacement for the Mobility Grant will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan T.D.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 23rd June, 2015.
Conscious of the reports of the Ombudsman regarding the legal status of the Motorised Transport Grant and Mobility Allowance Scheme, in the context of the Equal Status Acts, the Government decided to close both schemes. The Government decided that the preparatory work required for a new transport support scheme and associated statutory provisions should be progressed by the Minister for Health. The Department is seeking a solution which would best meet the aim of supporting people with severe disabilities who require additional income to contribute towards the cost of their mobility needs, while remaining within the available budget and satisfying all legal and equality concerns.
Work is ongoing on the policy proposals to be brought to Government for the drafting of primary legislation for a new scheme. Once policy proposals have been finalised and approved by Government, the time frame for the introduction of a new scheme will become clearer. The Health (Transport Supports) Bill is included in the Government’s legislative programme for 2015. On foot of a Government decision, monthly payments have continued to be made by the Health Service Executive to 4,700 people who were in receipt of the Mobility Allowance at the time that the scheme closed, on the basis that this would prevent hardship and, on an interim basis, alleviate stress, anxiety and uncertainty among a vulnerable group in society.