The adverse effects of the Housing adaption grant and mobility grant cuts on the people of Carlow

With Catherine Cox – Communications Manager with the Carer’s Association

The recent announcement that there are to be further cuts to the Housing Adaptation Scheme and mobility grants for older people has put enormous pressure and stress on people who are caring for loved ones at home in inappropriate circumstances in Carlow.

There are many families waiting for long periods to hear whether they will receive funds to adapt their homes to the needs of their loved ones by installing vital facilities such as downstairs toilets or even simple aids such as handrails in the shower or bath or on steps which would ensure the safety of their dependents in their own homes.

The Carers Association represents some 187,112 family carers – some 2,156 that reside within County Carlow. Of these local carers, 500 are providing 24-hour care to their loved one in their homes, many of which require some form of adaptation in order for the care of their loved one to be continued on a long term basis.

The Carers Association has been constantly voicing its concerns about the administering of the Housing Adaptation Grant Scheme through the local authorities, as to date there have been several cuts to the grants leaving local authorities with little or no budget to continue offering the scheme.

Last year the Carers Association contacted all 34 local authorities to establish the status of the Housing Adaptation Scheme as of April 2013. At that point in time, Carlow Local Authorities were only processing priority applications and no other standard applications were being considered. Research also highlighted that there were only 25 Housing Adaptation Grants approved in Carlow in 2012 in total.

The most recent announcement sets out new criteria for the eligibility of the grants now determining that many family carers are ineligible.


From now on applicants seeking the Housing Aid Grant for Older People must be over the age of 66 – where previously applicants needed to be 60 years of age. Also the income of all household members is to be considered in means assessment for grants – up until now only the income of the applicant and the spouse was assessed. Also under the Housing Adaptation and Housing Aid Schemes, households in the lowest income band with an income of €30,000 or less will only receive 95% of the costs and not 100% as was previously the case. The upper income limit to be eligible for both schemes has been reduced by €5,000 to €60,000 and finally applicants for grants must also prove they have paid their property tax.


This criteria puts undue hardship on very vulnerable families who are already stretched to their limit with costs associated with caring for a dependent. For many providing 24 hour care, it means that they cannot work outside of the home. In fact they cannot leave the home unless there is someone present to care for their dependent.  For others it means they have the unsustainable task of carrying loved ones up and down the stairs to use the bathroom as they have no downstairs facility. For many, these tasks have become overwhelming and carers have been forced to let their loved ones be cared for within state institutions such as a nursing home. This is not what anybody wants – least of all the government as it is such a costly measure. However, some carers have had no choice as the funds for adapting their homes to make them suitable for living with a dependent relative are simply not forthcoming.


At this stage, when we at the Carers Association see the strain that our members are under, we feel we must point out once again that already family carers are saving the state over four billion euro every year by caring for their loved ones at home. People who are now ineligible for these grants may now have to take the difficult decision to have their loved ones cared for by the state simply because they cannot afford to have their homes modified to keep them there safely.


On behalf of our members we ask the government to begin delivering the Housing Adaptation Grants and Mobility Grant scheme at full capacity once again and keep dependent loved ones at home rather than in costly state care.