Domiciliary Care Allowance
If you are the parent of a child with a severe disability you may be eligible for Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA).
Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is a monthly payment for children under the age of 16 who have a severe disability and require care and attention substantially over and above that usually needed by a child of the same age. The payment is not means-tested. The child does not need to have a formal diagnosis to receive the payment, but you must outline clearly on the application form the additional care required.
The current payment rate (2022) is €309.50 a month.
The Department of Social Protection (DSP) sets out what it means by severe or substantially in their DCA Medical Guidelines document here. These guidelines are used by the Department when it is assessing applications for DCA.
Since January 2022, DCA is paid for children who are in hospital for up to twelve months.
Carer’s Support Grant
In addition to the DCA there is an annual payment called the Carer’s Support Grant, which is currently paid in June each year. The rate of this grant is currently €1,850 (from June 2021). The Carer’s Support Grant is paid automatically to people who receive Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, or DCA. It is not taxable.
You can receive a carer’s payment (Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Benefit) while receiving DCA. If you think you may be eligible for a Carer’s payment then it is advisable to apply as soon as possible, while at the same time applying for the DCA, as the process can take several months. DCA may be backdated for up to 6 months if there was a good reason why you did not apply for the allowance when you originally qualified for it.
One-Parent Family Payment and Half-rate Carer’s Allowance
If you are parenting alone and caring for a child for whom Domiciliary Care Allowance is payable, you may qualify for both One-Parent Family Payment and half-rate Carer’s Allowance provided you continue to meet the qualifying conditions for both payments. You would be paid both payments until your youngest child is 16 and the age limit for the One-Parent Family Payment would not apply to you. You can also receive an increase for any other qualified children up until the age of 18 (or 22 if in full time education), while half-rate Carer’s Allowance and One Parent Family Payment are being paid.
Once the child for whom you are receiving Carer’s Allowance reaches the age of 16 and loses entitlement to DCA, they may qualify for Disability Allowance in their own right. A parent who is still caring full-time for the child may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance but the child who is receiving Disability Allowance would no longer be included as a qualifying child.
There is more information on payments for carers on the Citizen’s Information website here.
To apply for DCA, you need to fill in the application form available here. You can also get an application form by texting “FORM DCA”, followed by your name and address, to 51909 (standard text rates apply) or by dropping into your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office or local Citizens Information Service.
- It was announced on September 27th, 2022, as part of Budget 2023 measures, that Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) will increase by €20.50 to €330 per month with effect from January 2023 and DCA will now be available in respect of children with severe illness or disability who remain in hospital for up to six months after birth.
- €500 Cost of Living Payment for people receiving Carer’s Support Grant will be paid in November 2022.