The starting point for all entitlements is Domiciliary Care Allowance. This is a monthly payment for the benefit of your child. It is not means tested. I have nicknamed this the gate opener because when you are in receipt of this allowance then other entitlements are made available to you and your child.

The official line from the department on eligibility for Domiciliary Care Allowance is that it is based primarily on the resulting lack of function of body or mind demanding a degree of extra care and attention.

If you don’t have Domiciliary Care Allowance for your child then you will find it virtually impossible to get any other allowances, entitlements or benefits. This is your first step and it is important that when you apply you give the Department of Social Protection the information they need to assess your case properly.

The major benefit in having this allowance is the fact it’s not means tested and unlike most entitlement you do not have to provide the Department of Social Protection with bank statements, wages slip or a list of assets you own.

When you are in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance then you will receive a monthly payment of €309.50 but remember it is for the benefit of your child. I often see families making the mistake of mixing it up with their household budget and then struggling to pay for professional equipment or services later.