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Opening, operating and managing bank accounts for someone with additional needs continues to be an issue, with most financial institutes having no facility to assist people with additional needs when it comes to basic banking services.

The two banks that have acknowledge these issues and are making progress in providing a solution are AIB and Bank of Ireland. As you are probably aware, in 2019, AIB stopped anyone under the age of 16 from opening their special needs bank account. Leaving all children under 16 in limbo and is an issue when applying for Disability Allowance as parents don’t have bank details. Forcing parents into having their child’s Disability Allowance paid into the post office temporarily until AIB processes their child’s new bank account. Parents need to become Agents so they can change bank details at a later date.

Bank of Ireland announced in 2020 they recognised the issues lots of people with disabilities have in opening and operating a bank account. To make this process smoother, the bank has created a new team called the “Vulnerable Customer Unit.”

Parents since 2020 could open a Carer’s account in the child’s name. Having a range of banking facilities such as a Carer’s Card and the added benefit of monitoring from the Vulnerable Customer Team to ensure it is not misused.

The latest information I have is Bank of Ireland will now only open the account when the child turns 13. Before this, parents can only open a Young Savers Account, which anyone can open and doesn’t cater for children with special needs in any way.

My recommendation is for parents to ring their local branch to start the process and arrange it in person to open the AIB or Bank of Ireland accounts.

Things to note:

  • There is no need for your child to attend unless you want them to
  • You must bring a photo ID of you and your child
  • You also need to provide proof of address
  • Your child’s GP needs to clarify that your child is unable to manage their finances

Special needs bank accounts are an essential solution. Allowing parents to assist their children in managing their day to day affairs. As always, make sure you are monitoring the account each month and close down any other standard accounts you may have opened for your child previously.