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Monaghan councillor calls for examination of number of refusals of Domiciliary Allowance applications

10 November, 2011

A Monaghan County Councillor has called on the Minister for Social Protection to examine why such a high proportion of Domiciliary Allowance applications are being refused by her department.

Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy has written to Minister Joan Burton after he has dealt with a number of applicants who applied for Domiciliary Care Allowance which 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. In the cases cited by Councillor Carthy, the decision by the department was subsequently overturned on appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Councillor Carthy claims that anecdotal evidence from parents and support groups suggests that the rate of refusals has increased since the allowance was moved from the auspices of the HSE to the Department of Social protection.

In a response to a Parliamentary Question by Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Minister Burton confirmed that of the 8.015 applications for the allowance in 2010 and the first six months of 2011, 4,294 were refused representing 54%. Of the 1,222 appeals relating to these refusals which have been processed, 462 (or 38%) have been awarded.

The Monaghan Councillor explained that the refusals can lead to much disappointment and anguish for the families of children who require full time care due to disability.

Councillor Carthy said:

“It is clear from speaking to families affected and support groups that there is a feeling that the department is purposefully making families fight for this payment.

“It is an imperative that the Minister examines this issue especially considering the high rate of appeals which have been successful. The appeals process can be a long and drawn out affair that only adds to the stress encountered by these vulnerable families and places additional strain on department resources” he concluded.

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