If you are caring for a child with a disability who has high care needs, substantially in excess of child of similar age, with normal care needs, you may qualify for a monthly Domiciliary Care Allowance. It should be noted that neither your means (the applicant) nor your child’s means are taken into account. The additional substantial care needs of your child must be expected to last for at least one year. This allowance payment is NOT based on the type of disability but on the resultant physical or mental impairment and the higher care needs associated with it.
The child for whom you are caring must be under the age of sixteen and live at home with you for at least five or more days a week (for full rate) and meet the medical criteria for the allowance, and you both must meet the habitual residency criteria of the allowance. When you fill in the application form it is very important to note that the officials from the Department of Social Protection are focused on the information relating to the substantial extra care needs that your child actually has, this is the key reason for payment of this allowance.
The place to detail the additional care needs of your child is on page 15 of the application form. This is the section completed by your Doctor (GP). If the information in this section is inaccurate this will impact negatively on your application. Doctors are often expected to fill in the application form with little or no knowledge of care needs of child in question. Your Doctor may only see your child when medical issue arises and may be unfamiliar with the daily care needs of your child. In many cases the doctor may only have surgery records to refer too so if your child has not visited the clinic/surgery very often, it may be difficult for the Doctor to complete the form accurately and fully reflect their care needs. In many cases your Doctor will not know that your child may not be able to dress him or herself or that your child is unable to feed independently, has poor sleep patterns and has a host of sensory difficulties. They also may not know that your child is prone to violent outbursts or self harming behaviours and has little or no awareness of danger to themselves or to others. All of which will have a dramatic impact on the level of care that you have to provide on a daily basis. We would strongly recommend that all applicants for the DCA Allowance should always speak to their doctor prior to filling in the application form and explain the daily reality of caring for their child. Then ask yourself the question, looking at page fifteen of application form, “does this section actually reflect my child’s care needs?” Once the form is accurately completed to reflect the additional care needs of your child you will get a proper evaluation of your application for the Department of Social Protection.
Some public assessment reports are lacking in basic information on your child’s needs. At best, your assessment report will tell you that your child has a particular disability and that he or she might also have Speech and Language or Occupational Therapy needs. Sending copy of assessment report with your application in many, if not most cases does not help you in any substantial way; officials in Department of Social protection are not mind readers; they cannot ‘read between the lines’. Once again the grant is paid based on substantial extra care needs of the child in question.
The current rate of payment for the Domiciliary Care Grant is €309.50 per month. The DCA grant is also a gateway grant for the Carer’s Allowance as you must be in receipt of the DCA grant to apply for the Carer’s Allowance if your child is under 16 years of age. If you qualify for the Domiciliary Care Allowance you will automatically be entitled to the annual respite grant.
For more information on the application process visit: Domiciliary Care Allowance
Many parents forget the importance of age appropriate development milestones when they fill in the DCA Application form. Please look at ‘Medical Eligibility Guidelines for D.C.A. on the Departments website. You can also look at information on development milestones from English health websites (National Health Service) to get more information.
If you live in Cork area we can help on a one to one basis with Domiciliary Care Allowance enquiries and with the application process. Contact Kieran Kennedy on 021 4377052.
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