Carer’s Support Grant

The Respite Care Grant (RCG) will be increased by €325 per annum, from €1,375 to €1,700 in 2016. The name of the Grant will change from Respite Care Grant to Carer’s Support Grant.

Recipients will benefit from a RCG payment of €1,700 in 2016, which represents an increase of €325.

The respite care grant (RCG) is a non-means tested grant, paid annually to carers to assist them in caring for a person requiring full- time care and attention. Such an annual payment, in a single lump sum, with no requirement to satisfy a means test, is not available for any other group nor is there an equivalent payment for carers in any other country in Europe.

Carers can use the payment in a manner that best suits their individual circumstances.

The RCG forms part of a range of supports provided to carers and those for whom they care, and is an important supplementary support to carers. The grant was reduced by €325 in Budget 2013. In order to protect the core weekly payments which people receive, including disability payments, pensions and carer’s allowance, the Government had to look very carefully at other additional payments, including the respite care grant. Given the pressures on the expenditure of the Department at that time the primary focus was on ensuring that the core rates of social welfare payments were protected. In this regard, Ireland is amongst the best performing EU countries in reducing poverty through social transfers. Given the improvement in the overall economic position the RCG can be increased to €1,700.

The respite care grant (RCG) forms part of a suite of illness, disability and carer supports provided by the Department of Social Protection to people with disabilities and those who care for them. The RCG is paid automatically to people in receipt of carer’s allowance, carer’s benefit, domiciliary care allowance or prescribed relative’s allowance. Other people who are not in receipt of a social welfare payment but who are providing full time care and attention are also eligible and can apply for the grant to a standalone RCG section. The RCG is paid annually on the first Thursday in June.

There is no obligation on carers to use the respite care grant to access respite services.

These carers who are not in receipt of one of the above payments must be: Aged 16 or over, Ordinarily resident in the State, Caring for the person on a full-time basis, Caring for the person for at least six months – this period must include the first Thursday in June, Living with the person being cared for or, if not, be contactable quickly by a direct system of communication (for example, telephone or alarm).

The stand-alone grant is not subject to a means test. However, applicants will not be eligible for the grant if they are working more than 15 hours per week outside the home, if they are getting an unemployment payment or if they are signing on for unemployment credits. If a person is caring for more than one person they will receive a grant for each recipient of care.