As part of Budget 2023, the Social Protection budget announced several measures designed to assist people with Cost-of- Living increases. These measures included the provision of a one-off €500 Cost-of-Living lump sum payment. This payment was received today by thousands of recipients of the Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Invalidity Pension and the Carer’s Support Grant across the country.

It came to light last week, following confirmation by the Department of Social Protection, that students of National Learning Network and other training courses across the country were deemed ineligible for the €500 Cost-of-Living lump sum payment.

This decision was based on what we saw as a discriminatory technicality. Because NLN student’s Disability Allowance transfers to a Training Allowance for the duration of their training it rendered them exempt from the scheme,

We immediately made representations on behalf of NLN students to relevant ministers, including Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys. In addition, we contacted several other public representatives who raised the issue on our behalf with the relevant Ministers. We also highlighted the issue on social media, and our National Learning Network staff, communications and advocacy team and committees made local representations to their local public reps.

Happily, we received confirmation late on Friday from Minister Heather Humphreys that the payment would be made to students as soon as possible and described their exclusion as an ‘anomaly’ which has now been rectified.

Thank you to our Advocacy team and advocates who worked hard to lobby their local politicians and got behind rectifying this issue. We commit to continuing to lobby hard for the people who use our services and for the disproportionate effect the cost of living crisis is having on people with disabilities.

As soon as there is confirmation of the timing of the payment, our NLN team will let students know.