Our children grow up fast. I can remember my daughter being born like it was yesterday and now she is 14-years old acting like she 24!
I get many calls throughout the year from my families when their child turns 16 so I have written this article to prepare parents for the transitions.
Domiciliary Care Allowance
Domiciliary Care Allowance will automatically stop when your child turns 16. Children with special needs can then apply for Disability Allowance. To qualify your child must have a permanent physical or intellectual disability that substantially restricted them in undertaking work that would otherwise be suitable for a person of their age.
Parents often assume that their child must finish school before they apply however, this is not the case. The government are trying to change this rule and save themselves money but we won’t get into that here.
To avoid delays in receiving your payment, I recommend you complete the application form and send it into the Department of Social Protection at least 3-months before your child’s 16th birthday.
Here is a link to a video by Inclusion Ireland to assist you in completing the form
If your child’s application is approved, then they will receive €203 per week (25th of March 2019 figures) from age 16 and this will stop at age 66.
The weekly payment has to be paid to your child so I always recommend a parent to get the Disability Allowance paid into the Special Need Bank Account. As your child will be in receipt of €10,556 a year then it is important that you monitor the Special Needs Bank Account.
Disability Allowance is a means-tested payment on your child not on the parents. Any money your child has in their bank accounts, shares, savings or property (other than their family home) will be assessed. If your child inherits money in the future then this too will have an impact on their Disability Allowance.
This is why a Special Needs Trust is so important. Money in the Trust doesn’t form part of your child’s means or affect their access to entitlements.
What happens next?
After being granted the Disability Allowance, your child will receive their Free Travel Pass in the post. If you believe your child would be unable to use public transport on their own then you can request a Companion Travel Pass which would allow your child and one other adult to travel with them for free as their Carer.
You child Domiciliary Care Allowance Medical Card will end when they turn 16 but they are entitled to keep it going forward once they have Disability Allowance. You need to complete the full Medical Card Application but only put your child’s details on it. Do not include any of your own financial records, bank account etc, only your son or daughter’s details.
It is always a good idea to write a covering letter to explain that you are completing the form on behalf of your child and that they are in receipt of Disability Allowance.
What happens to parents’ entitlements?
Parents can continue to receive their own entitlements such as Carer’s Allowance, Household Benefits Package, Medical Card, etc once you meet the criteria. You should also note that the Carer’s Support Grant is now only automatically paid if you have Carer’s Allowance after your child turns 16 otherwise you have to complete the application form (previously known as Respite Care Grant). Remember Carer’s Support Grant is not means test and available to all families once one parent doesn’t work outside the home for more than 18.5-hours per week.
I hope this article helps shine a light on the changes to you and your child’s entitlements when they turn 16.