Deputy Pauline Tully, speaking on the Housing Adaptation Grant Bill said that it is vital that people with a disability and older people receive a timely decision on their housing adaptation grant application, to enable them to live as independent and valued members within their community.
Teachta Tully said:
“Today, along with my colleague Patricia Ryan TD, I initiated the Housing (Adaptation Grant for People with a Disability) Bill 2021.
“The purpose of this bill is to ensure that local authorities administering the housing adaptation grant for people with a disability shall as far as its practical, process applications for the grant within a period of not more than four weeks from the date of receipt of the application.
“I am bringing the bill forward as I have been made aware that many disabled people and older people require adaptations made to their home as a result of an accident or an illness and often are unable to live in their own homes until the required works are carried out.
“Regularly this requires an extended stay in hospital or having to relocate to a nursing home for a period of time which can be costly on the person themselves and their families.
“As well as placing an additional cost on the state from the extended stay in hospital, it also takes up hospital beds that other people are waiting on.
“In Cavan General Hospital, for example, during the period of November 2019 to October 2020 there was an average of 9.5 delayed discharges per month which resulted in an average of 303 bed days lost per month.
“As an aside I am aware that the lack of contractors and the additional costs of construction material is having an additional and adverse impact on this grant and I’m hoping that budget 22 will address this and see the grant increased to meet these additional costs.
“Many people who have made an application for this grant have been forced to wait months for approval.
“I am aware of one woman who is unable to use the bath in the house as a result of knee problems and therefore is required to wash herself at a sink or go to a relative’s home if she requires a shower.
“I know of another woman who is petrified of getting into the bath as she has an issue with her balance and her eyesight and has already fallen and hit her head getting out of the bath previously and therefore requires a level access shower. She has been waiting months for approval.
“The Covid pandemic has undoubtably increased waiting times and this is unacceptable. This is again having an unfair and disproportionate impact on older people and disabled people. “This needs to be addressed urgently. Many people are struggling on a day to day basis and something like a stair lift or a level access shower could make such a difference. People need to be enabled to live an independent life.”