Care at Home Costs of Care Arising from Disability

Issued: April 2022


This report presents the additonal cost of a MESL for a household caring for an adolescent with a profound intellectual disability.

This research builds on the existing MESL data to identify the additional and different MESL needs of a two parent household with an adolescent child with a profound intellectual disability, when one parent is a full-time family carer. The analysis discusses the different needs in each MESL budget category, identifies the associated costs, and also highlights where the insufficiency of services contributes to the MESL costs faced by the household. The areas with the largest additional related costs are transport, caring costs (e.g., cost of accessing essential therapies and respite privately), household goods, personal care, health, clothing, and household adaptations.

Establishing the cost of the MESL needs provides an evidence-based benchmark against which to measure the adequacy of available income supports. The report presents an analysis of the MESL expenditure need and total household income at a range of salary levels, examining earnings from full-time National Minimum Wage employment up to an annual gross salary of €75,000, examining the structure and tapering of the available supports, and compare the income position of the household with caring and disability needs to a household without those additional needs.

While the analysis finds that the maximum level of direct income support exceeds the additional net MESL expenditure costs identified as arising from the caring and disability related needs of the household, it is also found that net household income is deeply inadequate when in low paid employment. The maximum level of direct income supports cannot adequately address both low pay and the additional needs arising from caring and disability, to enable an adequate income at lower salary levels.

The analysis in this report finds that, when compared to a household without additional caring and disability needs, the household caring for a child with a profound disability faces a greater depth of income inadequacy at low incomes, and the persistence of inadequacy to a higher income point. This differential is indicative of the opportunity cost of one of the parents taking on the full-time family carer role and forgoing the potential of paid employment.