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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Children's Allowances.

Tuesday, 7 June 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 223 No. 1

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41.

Mr. Cluskey: Information on Frank Cluskey Zoom on Frank Cluskey asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether the payment of children's allowance can be continued after the age of 16 in the case of mentally handicapped children; and, if not, if he will take steps to have the allowance continued in these cases where the child is still dependent on the parents.

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland Children's allowances are payable in respect of all children under 16 years resident in the State and there is no provision in existing legislation for payment beyond that age. It would involve a fundamental change in the present children's allowances scheme to introduce the principle of differentiation as between one group of children and another, and while I may say that I have had under consideration the question of making some special provision under the Children's Allowances Scheme for handicapped children generally, I am not yet convinced that this would be [29] the best way of dealing with the problem.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon In respect of the category of children mentioned, those over 16 who are mentally handicapped, have the parents of such a child any claim against the local authority for a disability pension prior to the child's attaining the age of 21?

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland A disabled person's maintenance allowance. That is a matter for the Minister for Health. I understand that he has announced his intention of the means test for that being on a personal rather than on a family basis.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon I think the principle underlying the cessation of the children's allowance at 16 is the presumption that such a child can secure employment or have the capacity to earn. If it is manifest that the child has not the capacity to earn at the age 16 to 21 when it would get a disability allowance if it were mentally handicapped, or unable to earn its living, is there not a case to be made from the Minister's point of view, as distinct from that of the Minister for asking his colleague to extend the benefit of the disability allowance to this restricted category?

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland As I said, I have had it under consideration but I think the problem would be better dealt with through the disabled person's maintenance allowance rather than through the children's allowances scheme.

Mr. Dillon: Information on James Matthew Dillon Zoom on James Matthew Dillon The Minister is discussing it with his colleague?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish That is subject to a means test at present?

Mr. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland It is.


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