On Wednesday 20th September, the Department of Social Protection published a Green Paper which looks at possible reforms to social protection payments made to people with disabilities and carers. The Green Paper is part of a wider commitment to reform our social protection system made by the Department within the Programme for Government. It follows on from similar processes seeking to introduce a Pay-Related Jobseekers Benefit which is linked to a person’s PRSI contributions, and to the Reasonable Accommodations Fund which supports disabled people to find work and to gain access to employment in the open labour market. AsIAm contributed to both these consultations, and you can find them in the Submission on the Reasonable Accommodation Fund as well as the AsIAm Submission on Pay-Related Jobseeeker’s Benefit
On October 18th, AsIAm attended a briefing led by the Minister of Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, Department officials, and a range of public sector and civil society organisations who work to support the disability community, which corresponded with the launch of the Green Paper. The central idea of this Green Paper is a ‘Strawman proposal’, which is an idea that the Department of Social Protection and officials have for making medium-term changes to the social protection system. This aims to give people an idea of what a potential future change could look like in practice, rather than necessarily a concrete plan or policy. This is with the intention of generating a discussion of the idea’s benefits and disadvantages, for identifying what parts of the initial proposal they would like to keep and what to change with the outcome of developing more comprehensive proposal that will take shape at the end of the process. This is to support a Public Consultation which the Department also launched on the same day which they would like to hear from members of those who may be affected by such changes, and to support more people to take part in the consultation process.
You can read our explanation in full below or click here to download