Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Questions (232)

Timmy Dooley


232. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she is taking to reduce costs for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders in view of the recent publication of a report which indicates a significant financial burden for parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41431/18]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Department offers a range of supports for children with disabilities, including those with autism. The principle payment provided for such children is domiciliary care allowance (DCA), which can be paid in respect of children who require substantial extra care and attention as a result of a severe disability. Over 40,000 children are currently in receipt of this allowance, which is paid at a rate of €309.50 per month. In this regard, over a third of all applications for DCA are in respect of children with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum. Eligibility for DCA is not based on the child's disability but on the resultant additional care and attention required.

In addition, an annual carer support grant (CSG) of €1,700 is also automatically paid in respect of each child in receipt of DCA.

Children for whom DCA is payable now also qualify for a medical card in their own right.

Carers allowance may also be payable in respect of children in receipt of DCA, subject to the carer fulfilling certain conditions. Currently some 55% of DCA recipients satisfy the means test for payment of carers allowance.

In addition to the supports offered by DEASP, supports are also provided by other departments, including the July Education Programme from the Department of Education and Science, which provides additional summertime schooling hours for qualified children. The Revenue Commissioners allow an incapacitated child tax credit of €3,300 in respect of all qualified children, which can include those with autism.

I hope this clarifies matters for the Deputy.