The Unaffordable Welfare State


He is kinda right in one sense, that is regarding the dangers of having a for-profit company running this scheme and incentivised to declare people fit to work.

On the other hand, he has once again made himself look a bit of a tit (in my eyes, at least) by refusing to consider the possibility that there is a genuine concern that we’re spending a lot of money to subsidise the lifestyles of those who don’t actually have a work-inhibiting disability.


The problem is that if you are sanctioned for a disability payment, the payment is FOR LIFE!

Obviously certain medical conditions are life-long while others are not. People can get a disability payment owing to depression for example, which is often a treatable illness.


The “Carer’s Allowance” was first introduced in the mid-1990s - just before the disability rates shot up. (No connection, of course!)


Poverty and unemployment are very bad for your health.


Apparently a carer’s allowance is bad for your health.


Do you get more on disability than the standard dole + RA? Actually really hard to find an answer to this…


If you are under 26 you do. Job seekers allowance is €100 a week for 18-24 year olds, and €144 for 25 year olds. It then goes to €188. Disability allowance is €188 from age 16. Invalidity pension is €193.50 a week, but you have to have worked for at least 5 years. is quite good for information on payments.


You could swap the carers allowance for a few thousand public health nurses, but I doubt any of the poverty cops around here would like that.


Not sure if it was mentioned before -

As I am sitting on the Enterprise Ireland Train, and looking at the age profile, I was surprised to discover that old-age pensioners don’t pay anything at all for travel on Irish Rail or Dart. Also, as a (almost) daily Dublin bus user, it is surprising how many people seem to not have to pay for the ticket.

Any reason why you couldn’t introduce some sort of ticket price for this?

I am feeling rather disgruntled given that I am paying 1,760 euro a year for the privilege of being able to chose between bus and dart to get to work.
(But still having to pay full price if I dare to use the Luas).


don’t be challenging sacred cows.


There is an extraordinary number of people of all ages with free travel passes.

And until recently there was a major scam with forged travel passes.


And don’t forget that many on “disability” get the free travel pass plus they can take a travelling companion with them, also free of charge. There are a lot of disabled junkies and their buddies (sorry, carers) travelling around the place without it costing them a cent. We are the Welfare capital of the world.


Even a sacred cow is essentially just a meal on 4 legs.

Are there any numbers available in terms of how many free travel passes are issued and to whom?


Are you serious? There are over 200,000 people in Ireland officially providing round-the-clock care for for others and likely many more who aren’t counted. Carer’s allowance, which is difficult to get, is a pittance compared to the amount of unpaid work most people do.


Well I think the point is that there seem to be people receiving it who don’t actually legitimately care for a disabled family member. This of course reduces the pot of money available to pay the people who actually do.

So it shall always be with social welfare benefits in Ireland – people take the piss, the state doesn’t care, the public don’t report them, and legitimate claimants are stigmatised.

It wouldn’t be that hard to perform spot checks to see how many hours work the people claiming carer’s allowance actually do, not to mention how disabled the people claiming disability actually are. As you say, legitimate carers do far, far more than they are compensated for.

Worth noting that the private sector already does this reasonably efficiently. Just look at the investigations of dodgy insurance claims.


How effective is that in Ireland? Seems like there’s a pretty big question mark hanging over it at the moment?


Absolutely. Having done it too, it’s a huge amount of work for nothing. Unless you are caring round the clock, you get nothing - if there’s a family of you doing it (taking turns) you get nothing. And anyway it’s small beer. I can’t bear to work out what it ends up being at an hourly rate.

The public health nurses are in the main part useless. Mostly nice and well-meaning, but able to spend on x amount of time per patient per task. Which leads to quite a lot of distress among those being cared for.

Of course it’s abused, but not by the majority. I surprises me little those who advocate minority rule…


A good question. A lot of publicity at the moment about some cases and how people are snared. I wonder if stats are published by the industry?


My point exactly. Most threads on the pin that deal with public service degenerate into a cynical whinge about the poor pulling a fast one on the pillars of society that pay tax. We are getting to a critical mass of really low information posters.


jaysus, the banks cost us €30bln+ … but chancers using the free travel pass is the real problem