Covid-19 sees Government create 'two-tier' welfare system, says Hanley

Councillor alleges pandemic has 'underscored double standards for people with disabilities'

Social Democrats Galway City East councillor, Owen Hanley.

Social Democrats Galway City East councillor, Owen Hanley.

Those who have lost employment or income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and who receive welfare allowance support, get 50 per cent more than those on the usual payment, resulting in "a two tier social welfare system".

This is the view of Social Democrats councillor Owen Hanley, who has accused the Government of creating an imbalance in the system, one that particularly discriminates against those with disabilities.

Cllr Hanley pointed out that the €203 per week allowance originally offered was, "rightly criticised as not being sufficient" to meet the cost of living and support people and families, and he supports the Government's introduction of a higher rate of pay remuneration for lost income.

However he pointed out that €203 is the maximum personal disability allowance an individual can receive. "There are other allowances for living alone or dependence," he said, "but fundamentally this is the long-term amount we as a society have expected people to live on."

He has also criticised the situation where, if a person lost their job a week before COVID-19 took hold, they are also only entitled to €203 per week.

"What this situation highlights is that the welfare support level for those with disabilities is, and always has been, inhumane and does not match the cost of living," he said. "The entire COVID-19 saga has been an unprecedented crisis. But if nothing else let us learn so that we can build a better future like we always have, and let compassion and well-being be our priority."

 

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