Just because your child is born with special needs should you change your original plans about returning to work?

There are many hard decisions to make when raising a child with special needs. I recently came across parents living in Cork trying to figure the best way forward for their family. They have a beautiful baby girl who was born with downs syndrome in 2010. As maternity leave was coming to an end they now needed to figure out the financial consequences in staying off work full-time.

In this scenario, the mum was entitle to claim Carer’s Benefit. This is a payment made to people who leave the workforce to care for a person in need of full-time care & attention. The family will receive their payment for up to 2-years. If they have a second child with special needs – again they could claim Carer’s Benefit for a further 2-year.

When you leave your employment temporarily to provide full-time care your job is protected. However, your leave will be unpaid unless you have a very generous boss. I’ve yet to come across parents where the employer has paid for 2-years leave.

You can claim Carer’s Benefit if:

  • You are aged 16 – 66
  • Been in employment for at least 8-weeks in the previous 26-weeks
  • Leave the workforce to provide full-time care

Carer’s Allowance rates from January 2011 is €213 per week. To apply contact your local Social Welfare Office and fill in an application form.

Well what do you think, stick with your original plan or change?