Thematic Note G0115: Domiciliary Care Allowance
Type of Social Welfare: Domiciliary Care Allowance
Theme: Domiciliary Care Allowance
Period of Analysis: SWAO Annual Reports 2009-2020
Keywords: Domiciliary Care Allowance; Qualified Child; Section 318 Review
Casebase No. G0115
Summary of the relevant law:
Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is a monthly payment for a child under the age of 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.
The provision of Domiciliary Care Allowance is governed by Sections 15-17 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2008.
A person who is under the age of 16 years is a qualified child for the purposes of payment of domiciliary care allowance if:
(a) a medical practitioner has certified, in such manner as is prescribed, that –
a. the child has 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, and
b. the disability is such that the child is likely to require full-time care and attention for at least 12 consecutive months,
(b) the child
a. is ordinarily resident in the State, or
b. satisfied the requirements of section 219(2), and
(c) the child is not detained in a children detention school.
A person is a qualified person for the purpose of receiving domiciliary care allowance in respect of a qualified child if –
(a) the child normally resides with that person,
(b) that person provides for the care of the child, and
(c) at the date of the making of the application for domiciliary care allowance
1. that person is habitually resident in the State, or
2. the requirements of section 219(2) are satisfied in relation to that person.
Key grounds of appeals by appellants:
The majority of the appeals are made on the basis that the deciding officer / appeals officer erred in finding that the criteria for a qualified child had not been met.
Observations on appeal outcomes:
As the majority of the appeals are made on the basis that the deciding officer / appeals officer erred in finding that the criteria for a qualitied child had not been met, the appeals reported below focus principally on the criteria for a ‘qualified child’. In particular the requirement for ‘continual or continuous care and attention’ and the requirement that the care and attention required must be ‘substantially in excess of the care and attention normally required by a child of the same age’.
The reports below suggest that appellants are usually unsuccessful where they cannot establish that the care required is continual or continuous. For example, a number of the reports below note that favourable decisions for appellants were reached where the appellants demonstrated that the condition of the child in question meant that they required constant supervision and could not be left unattended for any length of time, in particular where supervision at night was required. In contrast, where the level of care and attention could be said to be more intermittent, or there was periods of time where supervision was not required it was often found that the ‘continual or continuous’ requirement has not been satisfied.
Similarly, in many of the reports below, the appeals officer considered carefully whether the care and attention required could be said to be ‘substantially in excess’ of the care and attention normally required by a child of the same age, noting that ‘substantially’ is a relatively high bar.
Finally, a number of the reports below indicate that where continual or continuous care and attention is required in order to ensure that there is no risk of physical harm either to the child in respect of whom the application for Domiciliary Care Allowance is made or another individual in the household, that child will often be considered a qualified child.