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Carers protest after last year's Budget Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland
Budget 2014

Carers plead for Household Benefit Package to be protected

Reports over the weekend suggested that some cuts to packages for family carers could be in tomorrow’s Budget, but carers say that would be the wrong move.

A REPRESENTATIVE GROUP for family carers has said that any cuts to carers allowances will “greatly affect the lives of vulnerable carers”.

The Carers Association has called on the Government to protect the Household Benefit Package in tomorrow’s budget, saying that the support is a “lifeline” for under pressure carers.

Last year saw a cut to a number of supports for carers and Catherine Cox of the Carers Association says that no further cuts can be taken.

“Given the disproportionate cuts family carers received in Budget 2013, particularly with the almost 20 per cent reduction to the Respite Care Allowance and extra prescription and fuel charges, reports that the Household Benefit Package may receive further cuts is very frightening.

We are appealing to the Department of Social Protection not to touch the Household Benefit Package which will greatly affect the lives of vulnerable family carers. Family carers are at the end of their tether and, facing another winter, this threat is very stressful and one we are receiving anxious calls on from carers across the country.

Mum of four, Rosemary Kratschmar from Walkinstown in Dublin is one family carer affected by last year’s cuts to the Household Benefit Package.

Rosemary provides full time care for her son Sammy (20) who has Down Syndrome, is ADHD and has recently been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, Sleep Apnoea, for which he needs to use a special machine each night that delivers air pressure through a mask placed over the nose.

“Last year’s cuts to my Household Benefit Package made a huge reduction in our monthly income which I really miss. We were particularly affected by cuts to the gas and phone allowances and that, coupled with other cuts and increased prescription charges, left us down significantly each month.”

Read: ‘The Budget will not be easy’: Howlin and Noonan’s video preview of Budget 2014

Read: Outside Dublin: How Budget 2014 will affect us all

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