Cuts 'will trap young disabled'
Massive cuts in welfare payments to young disabled people will effectively lock them up in their homes, campaigners have warned.
Disability allowance has been slashed from 188 euro to 100 euro for 18 to 21-year-olds and from 188 euro to 144 euro for 22 to 24-year-olds.
John Dolan, chief executive of the Disability Federation of Ireland, said the reductions "came totally out of the blue" and will stop young disabled people who are already struggling to meet a high cost of living from going out.
"Any effort or intent they would have to participate in their local community, to get out and about, all of that will go," he said.
"This will actually drive people back into their homes and into exclusion. It will lock people up inside their own doors."
Rates for 18 to 21-year-olds cared for by a qualified adult will also be cut from 312.80 euro to 200 euro, and from 312.80 euro to 268.80 euro for 22 to 24-year-olds. Benefits will remain unchanged for those over 25.
Domiciliary care allowance, which was paid to the family of a disabled child until the age of 16, has been extended until they are 18 years old.
Mr Dolan said thousands in their late teens and early twenties will be hard hit by the benefits cuts.
"People with disabilities have extra costs to their day-to-day living than someone without a disability - whether it's their diet or mobility," he said.
"We are talking about young people with all types of disability, they could be physically disabled, blind or deaf, anything, and many of them are disabled from birth, with progressive conditions."