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Written Answers - Domiciliary Care Allowance

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 765 No. 3

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 316.  Deputy Simon Harris Information on Simon Harris Zoom on Simon Harris  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  her views on the fact that parents are receiving domiciliary care allowance review letters signed by the anonymous DCA section rather than being assigned to a contact name; if she will ensure that future letters issued to parents provide a contact name for a person within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24309/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I can assure the Deputy that all correspondence issuing from the Department’s domiciliary care allowance section contains the staff member’s name and their contact details.

 317.  Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  if there has been a directive to refuse the domiciliary care allowance to families. [24323/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Domiciliary care allowance (DCA) is now in payment in respect of 26,000 children, an increase of over 3,000 since the Department took over responsibility for the scheme from the HSE in April 2009. Spending on the Scheme and the respite care grant, which is automatically paid to all recipients, has increased from [417]€138m to €145m between 2010 and 2011. Expenditure on both payments in 2012 is expected to be in the region of €146m.

There has been no directive issued to staff to refuse the domiciliary care allowance to families. In line departmental practice on all social welfare schemes, DCA cases are routinely reviewed whereupon customers are asked to provide relevant up-to-date medical evidence and details of the additional care needs of their child within 60 days.

In a very small number of cases where customers have not returned information or made contact with the Department, payments have been suspended. Payments have been restored in these cases when the customers concerned contacted the Department and they remain in payment until the review process is completed.


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