The Unaffordable Welfare State


@DD you are talking complete nonsense. I (sadly) have some personal experience here. The means test for the carer is extremely strict. The medical assessment is also quite strict, although it depends somewhat on your doctor.

Nursing home care is frightfully expensive, as is domiciliary care. In my own situation care by a family member saved the HSE easily a five-figure sum over 8 weeks.

As for the allowance rate, it is somewhat above social welfare, but I know people who have given up well paying jobs to care for a relative.


It is a bit mad, isn’t it? I’m sure people like RBB mean well, but on the one hand, they complain about the poor, ill educated and precariously employed being marginalised and then on the other, immediately say they should be pushed into ghettos. A resistance to logic can be found across the entire political spectrum. :unamused:


Interestingly enough from the late 90s many people who self-identified as middle class were only able to afford former local authority properties.


IM not making the point you think I am, rather I’m pointing out how cynical and narrow-minded many of our esteemed posters are when they judge any kind of welfare provision (even the pittance provided for carers) as a scam and an affront to citizens such as themselves who don’t sit around playing video games all day/. See hifi’s point above where he conflates the bank bailout with disability provision. It’s all the same… lo-info opinions.


Except none of that happened in this thread. At no point has anyone called carer’s allowance a scam, nor did HiFi make anything resembling the point you try and attribute to him.

Let’s start small: do you think welfare fraud is a significant issue in Ireland? By significant I mean a double-digit % of claimants.


Well, at least that’s a once in a generation cost. The welfare bill is constant.

Disability benefit has basically been turned into a minimum income for a lot of people who don’t have the ability to engage with the economy. Pretend you have depression or a bad back and the state won’t bother you any more.

In the long run it’s probably the cheapest thing to do, it would cost us more to hassle them into work that doesn’t really exist. Providing meaningless work to them seems a bit pointless too. May as well pay them to play the Xbox.


Mantissa, you’re being willfully blind.

Here’s the massive generalisatoin I referred to

It’s like something out of a Texas school board meeting, a permissive ‘culture’ of single parent families destroying society for all the good people. Disability and single parents creating a so called housing crisis, now if only we could shoe horn a few Muslim immigrants in there we could al start wearing our uniforms again. How much tax fraud si there in ireland, car insurance, prescription drug? It;s an absolutely irrelevant question unless you are attempting to buttress some sort of baseless prejudice or half bit ideology. It’s just punching down though, bad politics.


Well I don’t know what HiFi’s interest in single-parent families has to do with it but otherwise he’s not wrong about welfare fraud being a serious issue. When you see disability cases jumping up when a new allowance is introduced you have to ask serious questions. Again, it’s not that all or even most claimants are fraudulent but if even a decent-sized minority are faking, it needs to be tackled. Tougher screening of applicants (i.e. not letting their own doctor certify them as permanently disabled) seems like a smart thing to do, and would not impose an undue hardship on legitimate applicants I would think.


Not true. Most of welfare is spent in the economy so flows back to state and supports aggregate demand.

Welfare recipients tend not to hoard large swathes of money in companies in Panama. They buy coffees and pints, rashers and chicken, an Evening Herald and a cinema ticket.

(Always important to remember that the neoliberal doctrine was a lie and Keynes was right.)


Is that you Joan!
Sure if we increased welfare by 100%, think of the growth this would engender in the economy :laughing:
Win Win


The brain trust are in town.

Of course if you did slash welfare you would shrink the economy and probably create a recession. Even if you accompanied it with a large tax reduction … because as I point out above demand would shrink.

Just to add, I am not a supporter of broad welfare payments but rather that Government should provide employment of last resort. This was Minsky’s realisation – poverty is solved through jobs not welfare. (Obviously there are still people who cannot work and they should be supported by the State.)

Of course, Minsky is famous for his instability hypothesis - which turned out to be correct and I presume would be supported by the broad number of posters on the Pin…

He is similarly correct about government being employer of last resort… but somehow I expect the same “broad support” will not be enjoyed…


There is no ‘massive welfare bill’. There are three kinds of payments:

Virtuous, uncontroversial:** pensions, unemployment payments for short-term unemployed, carer’s allowance, illness benefit, maternity benefit**. One can quibble about the rates but no one seriously argues that this kind of redistribution should be abolished in a developed society.

Questionable, uncontroversial: child benefit. This is simply taxing everyone to give money back to everyone.

Questionable, controversial: income supports for very long-term unemployed, some disability payments, family income supplement, CES, BTEA This is where the issues are in the Irish system. You can stay on benefits for a very long time without facing financial sanction. Disability claimants have increased a lot in recent years, anecdotally it is easier to get medical approval than in the past. Family income supplement is nice but it helps employers keeps wages down. CES and BTEA sound lovely but there is zero evidence that they have done anything to help the employment prospects of their recipients on average.

Fraud inevitably exists, you read about people collecting their dead brother’s pension for years.
More commonly it’s probably possible to scam the system at the edges and for periods of time, but nothing systematic and for very long. The main cause of the welfare bill is the conditions of the schemes and the rates of payment.


This is not really fraud. It is just people meeting the legal definitions of the scheme. It just so happens that nowadays it is medically acceptable to have self-reported affective and/or musculoskeletal symptoms that cannot be falsified by external evidence.

Update: from what I can gather on the DSP website a disability claim needs supporting evidence from the claimant’s own doctor. There is then a desk review of this by a DSP doctor, but no independent face-to-face assessment.


Fair enough. I still consider that fraud though. Same as getting a sick note when you’re not really sick is fraud. You lie to the doctor who doesn’t really care and writes your sick cert in exchange for €65.



We have one the highest levels of lone parenthood in Europe…that creates extra demands on social housing. (I won’t go into all the other problems and issues it raises - the figures are there for anyone to see.) … 86345.html
Surprising new figures from Eurostat show nearly a quarter of Irish children live in one-parent homes (23.2pc), much higher than the European average of 13.6pc. Children here are up to three times as likely to live in single-parent homes as children in other traditionally Catholic countries such as Spain (7pc) and Italy (11pc).

Our disability levels have gone through the roof. … disability
Over the past few years an extraordinary development has occurred in Ireland, which has gone broadly unnoticed.* Tens of thousands of people have left the labour force due to disability. *This has occurred despite the fact that the workforce, in general, has become younger and healthier on most measures and despite the fact that there have been significant positive steps towards reducing discrimination against disabled people in the workforce.

We have very high rates of jobless households. … -1.2384126
*A striking aspect of the Irish economy is the high level of jobless households, at over one in five (23.4 per cent). **This is by far the highest in the EU and over twice the EU average *of 10.7 per cent. Even in 2008 the number was very high at 13.7 per cent (almost one in seven).

I’m less interested in fraud than I am in the system itself. We are way out of line with most EU countries and I believe all of the above are due to our very generous and (more crucially) little, or no obligation welfare system, which encourages dependence and discourages training, education and participation in the workforce. I’m happy to hear any alternative views or solutions but throwing more money at the problem by simply raising rates is clearly not the answer. (And don’t get me started on the scramble for a “massive social housing program”…talk about creating a monster.)


This for me is a concerning powder keg not far down the demogrpahic road which came to my attention when researching the last referendum aka the gay marriage ref.

Also having spoken to a teacher who works with a lot of children with extra needs at primary level (often from large single parent families, in the worst of socio economy areas). I was dismayed how forlorn they had become about the future of these children’s future. I hadn’t seen this person like this before, but anyone would find that a difficult prospect to walk into everyday. Especially if they were of a very caring nature. I’m not sure what changed over the last few years. Maybe more of the kids are coming on stream. I might ask again. They had resigned themselves that many were already lost. This is a person who has a big heart, calm spirit very and trained to work in this area with enough personal experience to qualify them more than most.

It was put to me in no uncertain terms (I wish I was making this up) that in one example having six children provided a very good dependable income over time. This was a valid choice as allowed by the State institutions and therfore society. So here we have a situation where without much debate and thus insidiously, the State, the Irish State has become the father. The State is Da, Daddy & Dad. Fills the boots as the provider by proxy to nearly a quarter of Irish children.

Now I don’t know about anyone here but I find that truly truly truly alarming and first and foremost for the children and then how society as the veritable Father, will be forever inextricably linked in I fear, a terribly destructive manner that will come at a heavy price. I’d like to be wrong. Have I reacted to strongly? Is it hyperbole I engage in? Please. I’d really like someone to say look OW you’re gone off the charts there, it’s not this bad, calm down. Hifi was only winding yis all up!


You’ll probably find a few on here who think the State replacing the traditional family unit is a sign of modernity for Ireland


These savage lone parents and their feral, fatherless children will destroy us all!

To the lifeboats, (married/co-habiting) women, and children (with two involved parents) first!

I don’t get the hysteria, or what horrendous experience befell HiFi at the hands of a coven of single mothers that causes the apparent fixation, single parents are people too and in many cases the wee offspring might well be better off than if the father were to be a presence throughout their childhood. Demonising them and lumping them all in as a problem cohort is in no-one’s interest.


Sigh…if I’ve time in the morning I’ll provide a ton of stats and research on the subject…there are so many, it’s incredible anyone would even argue the case at this point. And it doesn’t matter if some kids are better off without their drug addict/violent dad around, or that most single parents do the very best job they can under difficult circumstances. It’s still bad for society to have so many in this situation.

And no-one is demonising anyone. It’s very tough being a lone parent and, in the majority of cases, the kids are at a huge disadvantage in so many ways. That’s simply a fact. My point is - it shouldn’t be encouraged by the State. … SI2013.pdf
Living in a single-parent family is negatively related with children’s educational
performance compared to living with 2 biological parents. Although all children at schools with a high share of children from single-parent families perform less well than children at schools with a low share of children from disrupted families, the educational performance of children from single-mother families is even lower at such schools, compared to children from two-parent families. Accordingly, the difference is smaller at schools with a low share of single-parent families. So, children from divorced or separated parents are even more disadvantaged when many of their fellow students also have divorced or separated parents, compared to children living with
two biological parents.


Don’t forget that there is huge conflation with lower income families and lone parents. That can make it difficult to pick apart the causative reasons sometimes. In addition in Ireland people are given large financial incentives to pretend they are lone parents even if they are not.

I think it’s widely accepted that the more parents you have the better (hence it was odd seeing the resistance to the gay adoption bill “for the sake of the children”). But it does not follow that only having one is going to be really bad for you to the extent that it’ll do long-term societal damage.