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Mobility Allowance

Information

The Mobility Allowance is a means tested monthly payment payable by the Health Service Executive (HSE). It is paid to people who are aged 16 and over and under age 66, and who have a disability and are unable to walk or use public transport and who would benefit from a change in surroundings; (for example, by financing the occasional taxi journey). If an allowance is awarded, it will be continued beyond the age of 66 but you may not apply for the allowance if you are aged 66 or over.

There is no specific legislation in Ireland providing for Mobility Allowance. Instead, this Allowance was introduced in 1979 by the Department of Health and is payable under Section 61 of the Health Act, 1970.

On 26 February 2013, the Department of Health announced that the Mobility Allowanced scheme was closed to new applicants. An alternative scheme is being devised to replace it.

On 11th June 2013, the Department of Health announced that Mobility Allowance would continue to be paid to those already receiving it until the scheme is replaced.

Rules

You are eligible for a Mobility Allowance if you meet the following conditions:

  • You are unable to walk, even with the use of artificial limbs or other suitable aids, or your health is such that the exertion required to walk would be dangerous
  • The inability to walk must be likely to last for at least a year
  • You must not be medically forbidden to move
  • You must be in a position to benefit from a change in surroundings
  • You must be living at home or in a long-term institution
  • You must pass a means test.

The decision on whether or not you meet the medical criteria is made by the Health Service Executive (HSE) Senior Area Medical Officer for your area.

Assessing income

To determine the amount of Mobility Allowance you will receive, you calculate your total assessable income. Some income is not assessable (see Non-Assessable Income below). In the case of a couple both your incomes are added together. Any amount in excess of the appropriate weekly social welfare payment for your family is deducted from the maximum amount of weekly Mobility Allowance payable to you.

The appropriate social welfare payment is Disability Allowance where you are under age 66 and State Pension (Non-Contributory) where you are over age 66. The appropriate weekly payment depends on whether you are a couple and have dependent children or not. To calculate the maximum weekly Mobility Allowance, you multiply the monthly rate (see Rates below) by 12 and then divide by 52.

In the case of a couple where both of you are eligible, half of any amount in excess of the appropriate weekly social welfare payment for your family is deducted from the maximum amount of weekly Mobility Allowance payable to you.

Non-Assessable Income

The following payments are not taken into account in accessing your means:

  • Blind Welfare Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • Foster Care Allowance
  • Higher Education Grants
  • National Fuel Scheme Allowance payments
  • Living Alone Allowance
  • Over 80 Allowance
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Income up to the maximum amount approved by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) from employment of a therapeutic or rehabilitative nature
  • Monies received from charitable organisations other than remuneration
  • Special compensation awards that are exempted by legislation, for example, Thalidomide
  • Travel and meal allowances paid to participants on Government-approved schemes
  • Repayments received under the Health (Repayment Scheme) Act 2006
  • The benefit of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme

Carer’s payments

If your spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is receiving Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit, the payment is ignored. Instead, your income is assessed as being your primary payment plus any increases for qualified children, plus the Supplementary Welfare Allowance increase for a qualified adult.

Where Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit is paid in respect of you to someone who is not your spouse/civil partner/cohabitant, it is ignored and you are assessed on your own assessable income.

Capital

The formula used in the assessment of the income from capital is the same as that used by the DSP in the means test for Disability Allowance.

Motorised Transport Grant

If you receive a Motorised Transport Grant, having previously received the Mobility Allowance, you will no longer receive the Mobility Allowance. This is because the payment of a Motorised Transport Grant is subject to the condition that the HSE will not be called upon at any future date to contribute towards the running costs of the vehicle.

You will not be eligible for the Mobility Allowance again until three years after the date of payment of the Motorised Transport Grant.

Appealing the refusal of Mobility Allowance

There is no statutory appeal scheme for Mobility Allowance. In other words, if you have been refused Mobility Allowance by your Local Health Office, your right to appeal is not set down in law. Where an applicant is refused, the HSE will formally notify you of their decision (in writing) and include details of how to appeal this decision.

Appeal procedures for Mobility Allowance can vary from one Local Health Office to another. Some Local Health Offices for example, will conduct a review hearing' where independent Senior Medical Officers will meet the applicant and review their application, including the medical evidence. Other Local Health Offices may refer the appeal to their Appeals Office for review. Contact your Local Health Office for information on the appeals process in your area.

Rates

The allowance is paid monthly. The lower rate is payable to those who are availing of the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers (Tax Concessions) Scheme. The rates are:

High rate Low rate
€208.50 per month €104.25 per month

How to apply

You can contact your Local Health Office. Applications are no longer accepted for new applicants.

Page updated: 24 July 2013

Language

Gaeilge

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Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.