Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment to the carer of a child with a disability so severe that the child requires care and attention and/or supervision substantially in excess of another child of the same age. This care and attention must be provided 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 Domiciliary Care Allowance scheme was administered by the Health Service Executive before it was transferred to the Department of Social Protection.
To qualify, the child must have a severe disability that is likely to last for at least one year and:
- Be aged under 16 (at 16, the child can apply for a Disability Allowance)
- 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:
- Provide for the care of the child
- Be habitually resident in the State.
To qualify for Domiciliary Care Allowance a child must have a disability so severe that it requires the child needing care and attention and/or supervision substantially in excess of another child of the same age.
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. The Department's Medical Assessor will take the following into account before giving his/her opinion on whether the child meets the medical criteria:
- Review the history of the case
- Consider all medical reports received
- Have regard to the description of the care and attention required by the child given by the parent or guardian.
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.
Reviews and appeals
If your application is refused on medical grounds, you may submit additional information and ask for the case to be reviewed by a different Medical Assessor. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this review, or wish to appeal on other grounds, you can appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.
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 month.
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 also qualify for Carer's Benefit or Carer's Allowance if you meet the other conditions.
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) or text “FORM DCA” followed by your name and address to 51909 (standard text rates apply).
You can also get an application form in your Social Welfare Local Office or Citizens Information Centre.
You should complete Parts 1 to 5 of the application form and have your child’s GP complete parts 6 and 7. Please ensure that you attach any reports or assessments relevant to your child’s disability.
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 Domiciliary Care Allowance 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.