A Tuam mother has today addressed the joint Oireachtas committee around the unfair means test being applied to families seeking to claim carers where there is a child in the house with profound disabilities.

Anna Buday has 5 children and her youngest, Ester, has a diagnosis of Down Syndrome and also has a heart defect which requires regular attendance in Crumlin and may require surgery. Anna lives in Tuam but is a member of the Mayo branch of Down Syndrome Ireland.

The discussion that's happened is the inequality that the carer's allowance means test causes to families where the parent working earns more than €750 (new figure from the 1st June 2022) a week.

Once this amount is gone over, they reduce the carer's allowance payment so far as removing it completely. This is especially seen in cases where one parent cannot work because of the profound and life-long needs that their child has due to their disability.

The major issue is that this €750 figures is based on gross pay and takes nothing into consideration such as rent, mortgage, living expenses, travel (where travel is needed for the child being cared for), etc; everything that you would expect to be deducted to establish how much disposable income a household actual has.

In Anna's case, there isn't even an allowance that the household has 5 children; the means test is set at €750 and that is that.

In Anna's case she was awarded approx €12 a week carers allowance but is now having this removed as carers are saying that the household income actually exceeds the means test.

She has been speaking to Midwest News.

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