"Almost 70,000 carers to receive Respite Care Grant this year - €658 million will be spent on schemes to support carers in 2011"

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Almost 70,000 carers are due to receive the Respite Care Grant, the majority of them this week.  The annual grant of €1,700 is available to all carers providing full-time care and attention to an older person or a person with a disability, regardless of their means or social insurance contributions.  

Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, said: “The Respite Care Grant is paid to full-time carers in the first week in June each year. It helps carers to get some respite for themselves or for the person for whom they are caring.  This year the amount of the grant is being maintained at €1,700 in respect of each care recipient and the estimated expenditure on the Respite Care Grant scheme in 2011 will be in the region of €130 million” 

The Grant is paid automatically to carers in receipt of schemes, such as Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and Domiciliary Care Allowance. The scheme is not means-tested and other full time carers who are not eligible for these schemes may apply separately for the grant.  

Minister Burton continued: “Carers who are providing full-time care for more than one person may be entitled to €1,700 in respect of each person that they are caring for. For example, a person giving full-time care to two people with disabilities may be entitled to €3,400.   

“This year my Department is providing €658 million in payments to support carers through the Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit and Respite Care Grant schemes. An additional €105.6 million has been allocated to the Domiciliary Care Allowance scheme.”  

Figures from the Central Statistics Office indicate that approximately 49,000 people provide care for more than 29 hours per week. The Department currently pays over 51,000 people a Carer's Allowance. This includes approximately 21,000 people who receive the half-rate Carer's Allowance, in addition to another social welfare payment, giving them a maximum weekly payment of €349.80.  Another 1,700 carers will receive the insurance based Carer’s Benefit and 23,500 will receive a Domiciliary Care Allowance. 

Recipients of Carer’s Allowance also receive the Household Benefits package of schemes which includes the Electricity/Gas Allowance, Telephone Allowance and free TV Licence.  These carers also receive Free Travel and the annual Respite Care Grant. The rate of Carer’s Allowance for carers over 66 years of age is €239 per week while the weekly rate of Carer’s Allowance for someone under 66 is €204.

Editor’s Note:

Further information on the Respite Care Grant is available:

  • at  'www.welfare.ie',
  • from all Social Welfare Offices and
  • at LoCall 1890 66 22 44 (from the Republic of Ireland only) 9.30 a.m.- to 5.00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Last modified:02/06/2011