Written answers

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Domiciliary Care Allowance

Verona Murphy (Wexford, Fine Gael)
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226. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the consideration that has been made to realign the age category for domiciliary care allowance from 16 to 18 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43989/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The revision of the age limit for Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) has been recommended in a number of reports produced over recent years and continues to be under consideration in the Department.

The second report of the review of Budget 2012 proposals regarding Disability Allowance and Domiciliary Care Allowance, published October 2012, recommended an extension of the age limit for DCA to 18 and the commencement age for DA to also move to 18 years. The review of the DCA scheme completed in December 2012 also recommended a similar change to the age limits for the two schemes.

In addition, the “Make Work Pay for People with Disabilities” (MWP) report, published in April 2017, made two recommendations that addressed issues around the design of the main income supports schemes affecting young people with a disability. These related to reconfiguration of the starting age of Disability Allowance (DA) from the current age of 16 to 18 years and implementing the principle of early engagement for young persons on DA and on all illness and disability payments.

To fulfil a commitment made at the time of the report, a wide-ranging consultation exercise was conducted with persons with disabilities, their families and representative groups in relation to these recommendations. This consultation began in September 2017 and continued until June 2018.

It is imperative when deciding on any changes to the age limits for the relevant schemes that such changes have a positive effect on those in receipt of the payments and that we avoid any unintended negative consequences.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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