The Tipperary TD has said that his office became concerned about the number of concerned parents who have contacted him in recent weeks following the Department of Social Protections refusal of their Domiciliary Care Allowance application.
The Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment for a child aged under 16 with a severe disability. The child must need ongoing care and attention substantially over and above that usually needed by a child of the same age. The payment is used to assist parents meet the cost of the additional care needs for their children and can be used for example for the care and therapies required by Children.
“In recent weeks, I have become increasingly concerned about the numbers of very genuine cases who have been refused Domiciliary Care Allowance for their children and these refusals are causing great distress to the applicants.
With the huge delays in public waiting lists for early intervention and disability services, families are forced to pay privately for therapies such as Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy and Psychology Services to name a few. With many therapies costing approx. €90 per session and substantially more for assessments, these requirements put significant financial strain on families, and it is my view that this is exactly what the Domiciliary Care Allowance payment should be provided for.
I have reviewed many applications and I am concerned that the criteria used to assess these applications appears to be getting harder and harder to reach.” Said Deputy McGrath
Information obtained by Deputy McGrath from the Department of Social Protection shows that of the applications received so far in 2022, 39% have been refused, up from 26% in 2018.
“Parents have given everything required including details of diagnosis, reports from therapists, reports from schools, receipts for therapies being paid for and are still being refused. It is getting to the point where families have questioned what more they can give to prove that their child requires and is in receipt of the required levels of care and attention.
“There appears to be far too much ambiguity when it comes to the application process and I have called on the Minister for Social Protection to review the criteria being used to assess these applications and to clearly outline what is expected of a family in order to qualify for such a payment.” Continued McGrath
“Families of Children with disabilities have suffered greatly over the past two years with many children having regressed significantly as a result of lockdown and closure of their therapies and these children need to be supported now in order to reach their full potential. The Domiciliary Care Allowance is one such way that this Government can support these families that have been so badly neglected so the criteria required for Domiciliary Care Allowance should be eased rather than becoming increasingly difficult and I am calling on the Minister for Social Protection to review this matter urgently” Concluded McGrath