Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is a monthly payment for a child aged under
16 with a severe disability, who requires ongoing care and attention,
substantially over and above the care and attention usually required by a child
of the same age. It is not means tested.
You can find the definitions for terms such as severe or
substantially in the DCA
Medical Guidelines (pdf). These are used by the Department of Social
Protection when it is assessing applications for DCA. The guidelines state that
the payment is not based on the type of disability but on the resulting
physical or mental impairment which means that the child requires substantially
more care and attention than another child of the same age.
The DCA scheme was administered by the Health Service Executive before it
was transferred to the Department of Social Protection in 2009.
You can also read the
information leaflet for DCA (SW127). The leaflet is available from your
Intreo centre or Citizens Information Service.
To qualify, the child must have a severe disability that is likely to last
for at least 1 year and:
- Be aged under 16 (at 16, the child can apply for a Disability Allowance - see 'How to
apply' below for more information)
- Live at home with the person claiming the allowance for 5 or more days a
week - see 'Half-rate payment' below
- Meet the medical criteria - see below
- Be ordinarily resident in the State
In addition, the person claiming the allowance for the child must:
The legislation states that to qualify for Domiciliary Care Allowance a
child must have "a severe disability requiring continual or continuous care and
attention substantially in excess of the care and attention normally required
by a child of the same age".
This means that eligibility for Domiciliary Care Allowance is not based on
the type of impairment or disease, but on the resulting lack of function of
body or mind which means the child needs extra care and attention. This care
and attention must be required to allow the child to deal with the activities
of daily living. The child must be likely to require this level of care and
attention for at least 12 months.
The Department's Medical Assessor looks at all the following before giving
an opinion on whether your child meets the medical criteria:
- The history of the case
- All medical reports received (your GP fills out a medical report and you
should include reports from any relevant specialists)
- Your description of the care and attention required by your child. (The
form allows you to state what extra care your child needs under a number of
Children who are being cared for on a full-time basis in residential homes
or other institutions are not eligible for the allowance. However,
children in residential care who go home may receive a half-rate payment if
they are at home for 2 days or more a week, for example, a child who attends
residential services from Monday to Friday and goes home at weekends.
The Domiciliary Care Allowance rate is €309.50 per month.
There is no restriction on the number of children for whom you may claim
Domiciliary Care Allowance. (In other words, if you are caring for more than 1
child who qualifies for Domiciliary Care Allowance, you may claim the monthly
allowance for each).
Payment is made on the third Tuesday of every month for the current
Payment may continue for up to 13 weeks if the child is getting medical or
other treatment in hospital.
Your entitlement to Child
Benefit is not affected and you may qualify for Carer's Benefit or Carer's Allowance if you meet the
other conditions. People getting DCA do not need to fill out the medical form
when applying for Carer's Allowance.
You can also claim a Respite Care Grant, which is paid
automatically each year during the month of June.
How to apply
To apply, fill in a Domiciliary Care Allowance
form (pdf). You can also get an application form by texting “FORM DCA”
followed by your name and address to 51909 (standard text rates apply) or by
dropping into your Intreo
centre or social welfare local office or local Citizens Information
You should complete Parts 1 to 5 of the form. Please ask your child’s
GP/specialist to fill in parts 6 and 7 (the medical section) of the form. You
should also attach any reports or other information you have about your
child’s disability and the impact it has on their care needs.
Note: If your child has a Pervasive Developmental
Disorder (PDD) you are advised to have the medical professional/specialist
dealing with your child complete an additional medical form called DomCare3 (pdf). (Please
note that completion of this form is optional since medical professionals may
have already provided a comprehensive report on your child’s medical
condition and care needs. However, if you do not have a recent report from your
child’s treating medical professional, the DomCare3 form can provide useful
The completed form will detail your child’s conditions, any specific care
needs your child might have as a result of their disability and will help the
Department’s medical assessor to form an opinion on eligibility. Pervasive
Developmental Disorder (PDD) refers to a group of disorders characterised by
delays in the development of socialisation and communication skills. Autism,
Asperger’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Rett’s Syndrome
are generally referred to under this category.
What happens when my child reaches the age of 16?
DCA stops when a child reaches 16 so your last DCA payment will be for the
month of their 16th birthday. The Department of Social Protection will write to
you 3 months before your child’s 16th birthday to remind you that DCA will
shortly stop and tell you about the available options.
At age 16, your child can apply in their own right for Disability Allowance (DA). DA is a
means-tested payment for people with disabilities who as a result of their
disability are substantially restricted in undertaking work that would
otherwise be suitable for a person of their age, experience and qualifications.
The qualifying conditions for DA are different from the qualifying conditions
for DCA, so your child is not automatically entitled to DA because DCA was in
payment. The means test for Disability Allowance assesses the means of your
child and your income is not taken into account.
Your child should apply a few months before they turn 16, to allow time for
their application to be processed. Your entitlement to a Carer's Allowance will
also stop when DCA stops. You can re-apply for Carer's Allowance but you will
have a fresh assessment.
Reviews and appeals
If your application is refused, you may submit additional information and
ask for the decision to be reviewed. If you are not satisfied with the outcome
of this review or wish to appeal directly without a review, you can appeal to
the independent Social
Welfare Appeals Office.
Where to apply
Your application form and supporting documentation should be sent to:
Domiciliary Care Allowance
Social Welfare Services Office
Department of Social Protection
Tel:(071) 915 7100
Locall:1890 500 000
You can email the Domiciliary Care Allowance section using the secure enquiry
form. If you wish to talk to someone face-to-face about your entitlements,
you can visit your local Citizens Information centre, social welfare local
office or Intreo centre.