Over two-thirds of family carers in Ireland are in financial distress, a survey by Family Carers Ireland has found.

It shows 13% are in arrears with their rent or mortgage and 16% are behind on utility bills.

Almost a quarter (23%) of those struggling financially are cutting back on essentials such as food and heat to make ends meet.

The report published by the charity entitled State of Caring 2022 suggests that significant numbers are experiencing fuel and food poverty.

It shows 5% reported a reliance on food banks and 9% on charities.

The survey found that many rely on borrowing from family (29%), taking out loans (15%) and overdrafts from the bank (19%).

When it comes to practical support, 70% reported difficulty accessing services for at least one of the people they care for.

More than half (52%) said that at least one of the people they care for are currently on a waiting list.

As many as 69% said they experienced barriers accessing respite, while 24% experienced a delay or reduction in the delivery of home support hours/packages due to shortage of homecare workers.

As a result, 71% said they felt left out of society, and 51% reported feeling severely lonely since the onset of the pandemic.

Family Carers Ireland is calling on the Government to ensure that those caring for loved ones with additional needs receive fair compensation for the care they provide and are not excluded from supports due to their means.

In its pre-budget submission, the charity has called for "a complete overhaul of the Carer's Allowance scheme" which would result in the abolition of the means test.