There is now a new application form for any parent wanting to apply for Domiciliary Care Allowance. If you currently are in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance then you do not have to do anything unless the Department writes out to you and request a review of your eligibility.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward you the new application.
Send this off to the Department ASAP as there is a long waiting list in processing your application. The date the Department receives your application will count as the date you will be awarded the payment. Back dating your payment before this date can only occur in exceptional circumstance.
Who should apply?
My recommendation is “if in doubt – send it out”. The Department of Social Protection are the only people who can tell you for sure.
The wording on www.welfare.ie now states “a severe disability requiring continual or continuous care and attention substantially in excess of the care and attention normally required by a child of the same age”
The Department is trying to draw a line between everyone who has a child with special needs and children who have what the Department deem a “severe disability requiring substantial care”. This is the criteria that your application is been assessed on, not your child’s diagnoses.
The Department of Social Protection has also produced medical guideline for any parent to read before they apply. This will give parents a better understanding of the criteria an assessment officer will use.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder
If your child has been diagnosed with Autism, Asperger, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder or another PDD then you are advised to have the medical professional/specialist/ early intervention team dealing with your child to complete an additional medical form (Dom Care 3). The additional form will prompt your professional to detail the resulting care needs your child might have as a result of their disability.
What Has Stayed the Same?
Domiciliary Care Allowance is still a monthly payment of €309.50 for a child under the age of 16. In Budget 2013 there were talks that the age would be extended to 18 but this has not been implemented.
The payment is one of the few entitlements that is not mean tested. Parents do not have to produce a financial statement of their financial affairs (bank accounts, property, shares, assets, etc.).
Domiciliary Care Allowance is a vital financial resource for your child that can be put toward essential private therapies, medical expenses, special needs trust, etc. If Domiciliary Care Allowance is not granted then other benefits such as Carer Allowance are automatically refused.
Domiciliary Care Allowance application process for some sections of the disability sector has been a great uphill battle. It is my worry that parents whose children require additional care (but maybe not “substantial care” in the eyes of the Department) will now be under additional financial pressure.
This article was prepared by Allan Cuthbert, a Special Needs Financial Planner. If you have a financial question, feel free to email email@example.com or call 021 482 3635. For more information about special needs financial planning, check out www.financialwellbeing.ie