How much is Disability Allowance in Ireland?
Disability Allowance is a payment of €208 per week by the Department of Social Protection to a person over the age of 16 who is unlikely to be able to work for at least a year.
Children with special needs can transition from their Domiciliary Care Allowance to Disability Allowance, but the significant difference is, that Disability Allowance is means-tested.
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 means-tested, a financial statement of your child’s savings, income, assets, bank accounts, etc., needs to be declared to the Department.
A parent’s income or financial circumstance is not considered when your child is applying for their own Disability Allowance. Parents often assume this and that their child needs to finish school before they can apply, but this is incorrect. School going children over the age of 16 can apply for the Disability Allowance.
Why is Disability Allowance so important?
For most children with additional needs, it may be their only source of income and will offset a lot of their future financial expenses.
When children are granted their Disability Allowance, they are also entitled to a range of additional entitlements such as Medical Card, Free Travel, and the Household Benefits Package (if not already claimed by another household member). It also allows parents to keep their own entitlement such as Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, Carer’s Support Grant, etc.
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 types of forms again, but it is important.
Rather than just completing each section, I strongly recommend that you provide additional support to strengthen your child’s application:
- Communication & speech difficulties
- Feeding & food sensitivities
- Any issues in dressing, washing and hygiene
- Any other learning, mobility or work issues
The more relevant information you can supply, the better. Above all, make sure you demonstrate clearly how your child would struggle to support themselves and hold down a job.
Does your child’s doctor need to complete the form?
You will need the support of your child’s GP in completing the form. I also recommend that you go back to your child’s therapists, consultant, SNA and other professionals that assist your child and ask them to write reports to support your application. This can be a deciding factor in getting your cased approved. It will be hard for the Department to reject your case when qualified professionals provide supporting evidence.
How much can I 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 entitlement 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 to below €5,000. This is why parents need to set up a Special Needs Trust, as having money in your child’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 €140 a week (after paying PRSI, pension contributions and union dues), this should not affect their payment. If your child earns between €140 – €350, they will receive a reduced Disability Allowance payment. Any salary over €350 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 to all my families that they become an Agent on behalf of their children to assist them in dealing with the Department of Social Protection.
The payment date for Disability Allowance 2022?
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 with special needs turning 66. This is the point when they can apply for the State Pension.
Disability Allowance waiting time 2022?
Disability Allowance has a target of deciding 90% of new claims within 10 weeks of receipt. 8-12 weeks is a good guide on when you should hear back on your application. I would also recommend photocopying everything you send to the Department just in case your file goes “missing!”
Can Disability Allowance be reviewed?
The Department of Social Protection will regularly review Disability Allowance to see if your child still meets the criteria. This can be stressful, but similar to when you applied, have all your information ready, reports, 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 to build up in your child’s name. This is the number one reason any reduction in your child’s Disability Allowance may occur.
If you like to find out more about how to put away your child’s money on a regular basis without impacting their access to entitlement, then attend one of our webinars
Where can parents get additional support?
Citizen information can answer any general enquiry you may have around 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 child has Disability Allowance?
It is essential that your child has Disability Allowance to allow parents to receive entitlements such as Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, Incapacity Child Tax Credit, etc.
What to do if you are turned down for Disability Allowance?
The most important tip I can give you is appeal, appeal, appeal. If you believe your child is entitled to this payment, get prepared and put your most robust case forward. You need to appeal the decision within 21 days to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office. Also, as I said already, get the support of professionals 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 €208 per week while the child is living at home and the parents cover all expenses is appropriate. After the parents pass away and their child has to provide for themselves, the apparent reality kicks in. Parents often assume that the state will cover all costs if their child has to go into care, but again most children don’t even get their full Disability Allowance as residential providers implement the Long Stay Charge.
This is very frightening for me and for most of the parents I speak with. The only low-risk solution we can come up with is setting up a Trust Fund for your child in advance of this. The younger your child is when you start to fund your child’s Trust the more impact it can have on their future.