The HSE is putting an unnecessary obstacle in the way of elderly people or those with a disability applying for housing adaption grants Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice has claimed.
County Councils provide grants for people who are older or have a disability to carry out works which make their houses more liveable and safe.
Common works carried out with these grants include making a house wheelchair friendly, altering the layout for ease of use, or converting ground floor rooms to a bathroom.
“These changes could be beneficial for a person with a physical, sensory or intellectual disability or for a person who is living with a mental health difficulty,” Michael Fitzmaurice said.
One of the possible requirements to qualify for such a grant is an assessment by an occupational therapist.
In the past if the HSE had such a report on file for an individual, they would provide it to their local council free of charge when seeking an adaption grant.
However, Deputy Fitzmaurice says that in recent weeks the HSE has sent letters to multiple local authorities saying that it will no longer be providing such reports for free.
“It is disgusting to think that the HSE would knowingly place a needless obstacle in the way of vulnerable people who are eager to carry out essential works to their home.”
“These people are now being asked to hand over a couple of hundred euro so that the OT report can be sent to the council, despite the HSE not incurring any further costs if they already have the report on file.”
The Independent TD said that it is disgraceful that the HSE is being “uncooperative” in this manner, and that this decision should be reversed.
If someone seeking a grant employs an occupational therapist themselves in order to get an assessment, they are able to recoup up to €200 of the cost from their local authority.