Speaking against the government amendment to the motion tabled by the Dáil’s Technical Group on Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA), Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Social Protection said that far from being fair and transparent, the application process is flawed.
Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:
“The current application, assessment and review processes for Domiciliary Care Allowance are not fair and they place parents under undue stress that could and should be avoided.
“The level of confusion and fear to which these reviews are giving rise is something which I think the Minister needs to take heed of and respond to. The fear is fed by the unfairness and lack of transparency in the system.”
He went on to say that the minister has failed to address the fact that some Domiciliary Care Allowances are being ended, while a review being still in progress.
He challenged the minister to ensure, “at the very least, that absolutely no payment should be cut-off in advance of the completion of a review”.
Pointing out that the guidelines used to determine eligibility are problematic and need to be changed, Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:
“Diagnoses are categorised into lists as being ‘more likely’ and ‘less likely’ to qualify and this leads to unfair presumptions by the deciding officers.
“Minister, despite denying to me, in a parliamentary question reply, that the guidelines were unfair, in a tacit acknowledgment of a problem, you recently moved classic autism from the ‘less likely’ list to the ‘more likely’ to qualify for the DCA list.”
“We don’t want another Labour Party type review with pre-determined outcomes we want urgent action from the minister to allay the fears of families dependent on the DCA and the associated Carers’ Allowance that they will be treated fairly and not arbitrarily cut off, from their lifeline.” ends