AIB to their credit are the only bank in Ireland that I know of that have a specific bank account that is suitable for people with a disability. Most people with a disability find it very complicated to open, operate and manage a bank account.
It is even more complex when you have an intellectual disability and there are no supports in place to make anything easier with any of the other financial institutes. This is why I hear lots of upsetting stories of people with disabilities been taken advantage of financial.
We have spent the last ten-years telling parents of how great this AIB’s Special Needs Bank Account is.
Unfortunately, in the last few weeks AIB has implemented a rule that will prevent all children with special needs from opening the account before they are 16. As far as we can find out this will only impact children who apply from now onwards.
The knock on effect of this is that many children now under 16 will now no longer have banking facilities. Banks will suggest that parents should open a child’s account or a joint account (parent & child) but we warn against this as it has many hidden implications such as impacting means-tested payments.
There is now an added issue when applying for Disability Allowance.
The application must be sent to the department of social welfare at least 4-month before the child’s 16th birthday. This will delay payments as the account will not be opened till after the child’s 16th birthday and to open the account takes a few weeks because all the paperwork has to be sent to AIB head office.
Those who have the Special Needs Bank Account will still benefit from the ease of use which allow both parents to legally manage the account on behalf of their child. Having full access to the account then parents can make a decision on their own or jointly with their child, depending on his/her ability to manage their own financial affairs.
From the Special Needs Bank Account, you can pay for your child medical needs such as any private therapies, equipment, health insurance, hospital, doctors and consultant visits. You should also use this account to pay for your child’s personal needs such as phone, hobbies, clothes, entertainment and eat out.
Keep your bank statements & do not shred them at any stage. The statements will be used when applying for entitlements and will show proof of the financial position of your child.
Children with special needs face many difficult challenges and by not allowing under 16’s to open this account when they meet the other criteria just adds to challenges that continue to face all people with disabilities. We at Financial Wellbeing will keep doing our best to try to help our parents to overcome these barriers. We have already come up with a solution that will ensure your child’s Disability Allowance will not be delayed at 16 because of the changes from AIB.
If you have any more information on the bank account please do let us know and we can keep parents update on changes.