McDonald seeks assurances from Taoiseach on Domiciliary Care Allowance
Sinn Féin Deputy Leader Mary Lou McDonald TD today sought the assurance of the Taoiseach that no parent will have their Domiciliary Care Allowance payment cut before the Department of Social Protection concludes its review of the scheme.
Deputy McDonald said:
“Parents from the Domiciliary Care Allowance warriors today travelled to the Dáil to once again raise the issue of allowances for the families of children with disabilities.
“The current review process that has been instituted by the government is simply not fair. It places parents under undue stress that could and should be avoided. The fear is fed by the unfairness and lack of transparency in the system.
“Last year 403 reviews were carried out on individual Domiciliary Care Allowance payments. In the six months from September 2011 to March of this year 213 reviews resulted in the withdrawal of Domiciliary Care Allowance payments.
“This allowance is a gateway payment so its withdrawal quickly precipitates the loss of carers allowance and associated benefits where these were also in payment.
“Minister Burton last month announced an urgent review of this process. The Taoiseach needs to give a commitment that no parent will have the DCA payment cut-off until that review is completed.
“The withdrawal of the Domiciliary Care Allowance and the Respite Care Grant is an automatic loss of €5,408 per annum for families.
“In other cases a carers allowance is also lost – this can be the principle social welfare payment of a household. It is absolutely vital that the review process be fair, impartial and thorough.
“Sinn Féin has also called for reform of the scheme so that if the Domiciliary Care Allowance is to be withdrawn from a family as a matter of course there would be a face to face meeting between the family and the relevant official so the reality of the circumstances of that family are clear before any final decision to cut the payment is made.” ENDS