Belfast Telegraph

Government slammed on welfare limit

The Government acted above the law by imposing an age limit on a disabled welfare payment to balance its budget books, it has been claimed.

Health chiefs now face the potential for massive compensation payouts after Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly revealed they knew the age cap was against the law since 2008 yet failed to correct it.

Disability Federation of Ireland said the Government was more concerned about balancing the books than its responsibilities to vulnerable people in need.

Chief executive John Dolan said it was incredible that vital services were being denied, and that all credibility had been lost.

"The Government knows they are contradicting the laws of the land - the laws they put in place," said Mr Dolan.

"Yet they expect people to obey the law and to be tax compliant. They have no credibility."

The Ombudsman said a ban on severely disabled people over 66 getting up to 208.50 euro a month to help them get about has been in place for 12 years.

She said health bosses were aware of its illegality but continued to impose it, contrary to the law.

Meanwhile, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore insisted the Government did not wish to withdraw payments.

"The Government will be seeking legal advice as to how we can proceed in a way that is reasonable, sustainable and does not cause undue distress to those in receipt of the allowance," Mr Gilmore said.

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