What is Disability Allowance?

Disability Allowance is a weekly payment paid to people whose disability is severe enough to affect their ability to work.
Often, parents assume that their children must finish their education before they can claim the allowance, but school-going children can apply. The other myth that parents assume is that their children won’t pass the means test because of the parents’ income.

Disability Allowance is means tested on the person, not on the parent’s financial situation.

How much is Disability Allowance in 2024?

A payment of €232 is paid weekly by the Department of Social Protection to a person who is unable to work long-term and is over the age of 16. The weekly payment ends when the person turns 66 and they can then apply for the state pension.

What is the difference between Domiciliary Care Allowance & Disability Allowance?

Domiciliary Care Allowance is not a means-tested payment and is more based on your child requiring substantial care by the parents. Disability Allowance is for people who cannot work long term and is means-tested on the applicant. A financial statement of your child’s savings, income, assets, bank accounts, etc., must be declared to the Department.

Does Domiciliary Care Allowance automatically transfer to Disability Allowance?

The transition to Disability Allowance is not automatic. Parents will receive a letter in the post informing them of the cessation of the Domiciliary Care Allowance at 16. The applicant then needs to complete the Disability Allowance form and send it off to the Department of Social Protection prior to the person turning 16.

Why is Disability Allowance so important?

For most children with additional needs, it may be their only source of income and will offset many of their future financial expenses. When children are granted their Disability Allowance, they may also be entitled to additional entitlements such as a Medical Card, Free Travel, and Household Benefits Package.

How to apply for Disability Allowance for your child?

If you are applying for the payment on behalf of your child, then it is important that you only give the Department your child’s information. All the questions are related to your child, and as you go through it, you will see that lots of the form is irrelevant, such as spouse and child details.

How to complete the Disability Allowance form?

You can request the application form from the Disability Allowance section by phone: 0818 927 770, or you can download the form here.

I know completing the Disability Allowance form can be frustrating for parents. Your child has already been receiving their Domiciliary Care Allowance based on a diagnosis that hasn’t gone away, and now you must do it all again. It can be very upsetting to go back over all these forms again, but it is important.

Rather than just completing each section, I recommend you provide additional support to strengthen your child’s application around how they would struggle to hold down a job.

The more relevant information you can supply, the better.

Does your child’s doctor need to complete the form?

You will need the support of your child’s doctor in completing the form. I also recommend you engage with your child’s therapist, consultant, SNA and other professionals and ask them to write reports to support your application.

It doesn’t help when they write a few lines to say they support the application. The report should describe how your child would struggle to hold down employment and some working examples.

This can be a deciding factor in getting your case approved.

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Does Disability Allowance cause negative issues in the future?

Receiving Disability Allowance will not prevent your child from working in the future. It is easier to transition off Disability Allowance, and your child will receive additional support because they have their payment.

Remember, all our capacity is changeable.

How much can my child have in savings before impacting Disability Allowance?

The Department of Social Protection currently allows your child to have up to €50,000 in savings before penalising them. This is the most generous limit of all the entitlements but is subject to change at any time.

€50,000 is a lot of money; however, your child can only have €36,000 without impacting their Medical Card and depending on what other entitlement your child will need access to in the future, the thresholds can be much lower.

My recommendation to my families is always to keep your child’s savings in their name below €5,000. This is why parents set up a Special Needs Trusts, as having money in children’s name may impact their future access to basic entitlements.

Can your child work and still get Disability Allowance?

There is no restriction on the number of hours your child can participate in work. However, there is an income limit. Your child can earn up to €165 a week (after paying PRSI, pension contributions and union dues); this should not affect their payment. If your child earns between €165 – €375, they will receive a reduced Disability Allowance payment. Any salary over €375 per week is assessed in full and will probably lead to a refusal of Disability Allowance.

Where should the Disability Allowance be paid into?

The Disability Allowance can only be paid into an account that your child owns, or it can be collected at the post office each week. I encourage my families to have their child’s payment go directly into a special needs bank account. This is a much better long-term solution and ensures your child has the full range of banking facilities with the support of parents.

I also suggest that parents should become an Agents on behalf of their children to assist them in dealing with the Department of Social Protection. This is important if your child would struggle to deal with correspondence from the Department and allows parents to support their children even when they are over 18.

Disability Allowance payment dates 2024?

Disability Allowance is paid weekly in advance on a Wednesday. The first payment date is the Wednesday following the effective date of the claim.
Disability Allowance will stop when a child turns 66, so the last payment will be for the month of your son or daughter turning 66. This is the point when they can apply for the State Pension.

Disability Allowance waiting time 2024?

Disability Allowance aims to decide 90% of new claims within 10 weeks of receipt. I recommend photocopying everything you send to the Department just in case your file goes missing.

Can Disability Allowance be reviewed?

If your child has a change in circumstance, then you need to inform the Department immediately. This will prevent overpayment and having to refund the Department.

The Department of Social Protection carries out regular reviews of Disability Allowance to see if people still meet the criteria. This can be stressful, but similar to when you applied, have all your information ready, including reports and supporting letters and be prepared.

Please don’t assume that because your child was awarded Disability Allowance, they won’t be means-tested again. This is why it is essential not to leave the Disability Allowance build-up in your child’s name. This is the number one reason any reduction in your child’s Disability Allowance may occur.

Where can parents get additional support?

Citizens Information can answer any general enquiry you may have about Disability Allowance. I find that parents get great support from other parents and groups such as Facebook group supporting parents through the process.

Financial Wellbeing also has a YouTube video with more information

Here is a link to a YouTube video on how to complete the form by Inclusion Ireland

Can Parents continue to claim entitlements if their children has Disability Allowance?

It is essential that your child has Disability Allowance to allow parents to maintain entitlements such as Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, Incapacity Child Tax Credit, etc.

“Learn more – For a full list of entitlements, click on our A-Z Guide of Special Needs Entitlements.”

What to do if Disability Allowance is refused?

The most important advice I can give you is appeal. If you believe your child is entitled to this payment, get prepared and put your most robust case forward. You must appeal the decision within 21 days to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office. Also, as I said already, get the support of a professional to assist you and keep a record of everything you have sent to the Department.

Is the Disability Allowance sufficient for my child to live on?

Talking to parents, it seems that €232 per week while the child lives at home and the parents cover all expenses is appropriate. After the parents pass away and their children have to provide for themselves, the reality kicks in. Parents often assume that the state will cover all costs if their children have to go into care. Still, again most children don’t even get their full Disability Allowance as residential providers implement the Long Stay Charge.

This frightens me and most of the parents I speak with.

The only low-risk solution we can devise is setting up a Trust Fund for your child in advance of this. The younger your child is when you start to fund his or her Trust, the more impact it can have on their future.