Rights and Entitlements
When your baby is in the hospital, ask one of the NICU staff if your hospital has a medical social worker and if they do, you could consider arranging an appointment to discuss your rights & entitlements. They are an invaluable asset to our hospitals and would be very familiar with all social issues. Your public health nurse should also be able to help you in this area. 
Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment to the carer of a child with a disability so severe that it requires care and attention and/or supervision substantially in excess of another child of the same age. This care and attention must be provided to allow the child to deal with the activities of daily living. The child must be likely to require this level of care and attention for at least 12 months.

The Domiciliary Care Allowance scheme is administered by the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
In order to qualify, the child must have a severe disability that is likely to last for at least one year and:
• Be aged under 16, (at 16, the child can apply for a Disability Allowance) 
• Live at home with the person claiming the allowance for 5 or more days a week - see 'Half rate payment' below 
• Meet the medical criteria - see below 
• Be ordinarily resident in the State. 
In addition, the person claiming the allowance for the child must:
• Provide for the care of the child 
• Be habitually resident in the State.

Medical criteria

Eligibility for Domiciliary Care Allowance is not based on the type of impairment or disease, but on the resulting lack of function of body or mind which means the child needs extra care and attention. The Department's Medical Assessor will take the following into account before giving his/her opinion on whether the child meets the medical criteria:  • Review the history of the case 
• Consider all medical reports received 
• Have regard to the description of the care and attention required by the child given by the parent/guardian.

Half rate payment

Children who are being cared for on a full time basis in residential homes or other institutions are not eligible for the allowance.  However, children in residential care who go home may receive a half rate payment if they are at home for 2 days or more a week, for example, a child who attends residential services from Monday to Friday and goes home at weekends.

Reviews and appeals

If your application is refused on medical grounds, you may submit additional information and ask for the case to be reviewed by a different Medical Assessor. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of this review, or wish to appeal on other grounds, you can appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.
Rates
The Domiciliary Care Allowance rate is €309.50 per month (2010). 
There is no restriction on the number of children in respect of whom you may claim Domiciliary Care Allowance. (In other words, if you are caring for more than 1 child who qualifies for Domiciliary Care Allowance, you may claim the monthly allowance for each). 
Payment is made on the third Tuesday of every month for the current month.

Hospital stays

Payment may continue for up to 13 weeks if the child is getting medical or other treatment in hospital.
Other payments
Entitlement to Child Benefit is not affected and a parent or other carer may also qualify for Carer's Benefit or Carer's Allowance if they meet the other conditions. 
You can also claim a Respite Care Grant, which is paid automatically each year during the month of June.

How to apply

To apply, fill in a Domiciliary Care Allowance form (pdf) or text “FORM DCA” followed by your name and address to 51909 (standard text rates apply).  You can also get an application form in your Social Welfare Local Office or Citizens Information Centre. 
You should complete Parts 1 to 5 of the application form and have your child’s GP complete parts 6 and 7. Please ensure that you attach any reports or assessments relevant to your child’s disability.

Where to apply

Your application form and supporting documentation should be sent to:
Domiciliary Care Allowance
Social Welfare Services Office 
Department of Social and Family Affairs 
College Road 
Co. Sligo 
IRELAND

Tel: (071) 915 7100 
Locall: 1890 500 000

www.welfare.ie 

Carer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance is a payment to people living in Ireland who are looking after someone who is in need of support because of age, physical or learning disability or illness, including mental illness.
The Carer's Allowance is not payable to everyone, it is mainly aimed at carers on low incomes who live with and look after certain people who need full-time care and attention. There are rules about who may be entitled to claim Carers Allowance and these rules are set out under 'Rules' below.

If you are providing care to more than one person you may be entitled to an additional 50% of the maximum rate of Carer's Allowance each week.

Carer's Allowance is paid directly into your bank or building society account or by a book of payable orders, whichever you prefer. (Payable orders may be cashed each week at a Post Office chosen by you).

You will also qualify for free household benefits (such as Free Electricity/Natural Gas/Bottled Gas Refill Allowance, Free Television Licence, Free Telephone Rental Allowance) and a Free Travel Pass. 
Carer's Allowance is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card.

If you consider that you have been wrongly refused Carer's Allowance, or you are unhappy about a decision of a Social Welfare Deciding Officer about your entitlements, you have the option of appealing this decision.

The Respite Care Grant is automatically paid to people getting Carer's Allowance in June of each year. 
In order to be entitled to a Carer's Allowance:
• You must be living with, or in a position to provide full-time care and attention to a person in need of care who does not normally live in an institution. However, you may continue to be regarded as providing full-time care and attention, if you or the person being cared for is undergoing medical or other treatment in a hospital or other institution for a period not longer than 13 weeks. 
• You must be resident in the State 
• You must not live in a hospital, convalescent home or other similar institution 
• You must be at least 18 years old and 
• You must not be engaged in employment, self-employment, training or education courses outside the home for more than 15 hours a week. During your absence, adequate care for the person requiring full-time care and attention must be arranged.

The person being cared for must be:
• Over the age of 16 and so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention or 
• Aged under 16 and in receipt of a Domiciliary Care Allowance. 
The person receiving care is regarded as requiring full-time care and attention where
• He or she is so incapacitated as to require continuous supervision in order to avoid danger to him or herself or continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily functions, and 
• He or she is so incapacitated as to be likely to require full-time care and attention for a period of at least twelve months.

What counts as means?

Your means are any income you or your spouse/partner have or property (except your home) or an asset that could bring in money or provide you with an income, for example, an occupational pension, pensions/benefits from another country.
Investments and savings
The actual income from investments and money in a savings account is not taken as your means. Instead, investment items such as, money in a savings account, cash-in-hand or money in a current account and the cash value of investments and property are added together and a special formula is used to work out your weekly means. Find out more about how capital is assessed in the means test for Carer's Allowance.

How means are assessed

The means test for the Carer's Allowance involves assessing your income (excluding your home). Since April 2008, the amount of weekly income that is not taken into account is €332.50.
In the case of a married/cohabiting couple's income (except for social welfare payments from other states, to which special rules apply), From April 2008, the first €665 of their combined weekly income is disregarded. 
Carer's Allowance and half-rate payments

Since 27 September 2007, if you are getting certain social welfare payments and you are providing full time care and attention to another person, you can keep your main social welfare payment and get half-rate Carer's Allowance as well. If you were getting another social welfare payment before claiming Carer's Allowance, you may get your original payment reinstated and also get half-rate Carer's Allowance.

If you are getting Carer's Allowance and subsequently become entitled to another payment, you can claim the other payment and get half your rate of Carer's Allowance but only if the other payment is a qualifying payment for half-rate Carer's Allowance. For example, if you are getting Carer's Allowance and work 15 hours each week, you can build up an entitlement to a contributory payment. This means, if you are out of work sick you may be entitled to Illness Benefit. In this case, you may get full-rate Illness Benefit and half-rate Carer's Allowance, it will depend on your PRSI contributions, level of earnings and current means.

If you are being claimed for as a qualified adult on your spouse/partner’s social welfare payment and you are providing full time care to another person, you may apply for half-rate Carer's Allowance and retain your current Increase for a Qualified Adult in full.

More information is available in the Revenue's document on half-rate Carer’s Allowance.
Your payment is made up of a personal rate for yourself and extra amounts for your child dependants.

Carer's Allowance rates from January 2010: 
Carer Maximum weekly rate
Aged under 66, caring for 1 person €212
Aged under 66, caring for 2 or more €318
Aged 66 or over and caring for 1 person €239
Aged 66 , caring for 2 person €358.50
Increase for a Qualified Child
€29.80 (full-rate)
€14.90 (half-rate)

Carers Allowance has no qualified adult payment. You may claim full-rate increase in your payment for a child dependant if you are a carer and are single, widowed or separated. You may claim half-rate increase in your payment for a child dependant if you are a carer and are living with your spouse or partner.

Credits

You may get credited social insurance contributions (PRSI). You should apply for a Carer's Allowance as soon possible. To apply fill in an application form for Carers Allowance (pdf) or contact your local Social Welfare local office for a copy of this form. 
Payment will be awarded from the date your application is received or from the date the qualifying payment is awarded, if later. Forward the completed application form with the relevant certificates to Carer's Allowance Section at the Department of Social and Family Affairs - see address below.

WHERE TO APPLY

Carer's Allowance Section Department of Social and Family Affairs
Social Welfare Services Office 
Government Buildings 
Ballinalee Road 
Co. Longford 
IRELAND 
Tel: (043) 334 0000 
Locall: 1890 927 770

www.welfare.ie 

Application forms are also available at your local social welfare office. 

Extraordinary Payments to Parents of Premature Babies

In extraordinary circumstances where a premature baby has to be transferred from a regional hospital to larger maternity hospital for an extended period of time, the parents may make a claim to their local Community Welfare Officer. To qualify, the parents must be a low income family or in receipt of social welfare payments. Each case is assessed on its individual merits and it is at the discretion of the CWO whether any assistance is offered by the state. This assistance can take the form of a monetary contribution or assistance in locating temporary housing for the duration of the childs stay in hospital.
The claim must be submitted in writing and should outline in detail the circumstances behind the claim. 

What is the Drugs Payment Scheme? 

Under the Drugs Payment Scheme, an individual or family in Ireland only has to pay €120 each month for approved prescribed drugs, medicines and certain appliances for use by that person or his or her family in that month. The amount is determined from time to time by the Minister for Health and Children. If you have a GP Visit Card or do not have a Medical Card you should apply for a Drugs Payment Scheme Card.
This scheme is aimed at those who don't have a Medical Card and normally have to pay the full cost of their medication. It also applies to those who have a GP Visit Card. Anyone ordinarily resident in Ireland can apply to join the scheme, regardless of family, financial circumstances or nationality. Being ordinarily resident in Ireland means that you have been living here for a minimum of one year or that you intend to live here for a minimum of one year.

The definition of a family for this Scheme, is an adult, their spouse, and any children under 18 years. Dependents over 18 years and under 23 years who are in full time education may also be included. Everyone ordinarily resident in Ireland without a Medical Card should have a Drugs Payment Scheme Card.

How Much do I Pay? 

You will not pay more than €120 for all your prescribed approved medication each calendar month. This maximum amount is subject to review by the Government from time to time. You must present your card each time you attend the pharmacy before a prescription can be dispensed. For details of the maximum amount please refer to the Drugs Payment Scheme and Medical Card rates leaflet. There are a number of items that legally do not require a prescription but for inclusion under the scheme they do require a doctor's prescription.

How do I Qualify? 

You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland and hold a PPSN. There is no means test for the Drugs Payment Scheme.

How do I Apply?

Foms are available on the HSE Website, from your pharmacy or Local Health Office.
Fill in the details of all your family members. Send it to your Local Health Office and you will be sent a card for each member of your family. You must present your card each time you attend the pharmacy before a prescription can be dispensed. You do not have to register with a particular Pharmacy for the scheme but for convenience it is advisable to use the same pharmacy in a particular month if you wish to avoid paying more than the maximum amount per month.

Where people need to use two or more pharmacies in one month, they can claim back the amount paid over the threshold from their Local Health Office.

If you lose or misplace your Drugs Payment Scheme Card, contact your Local Health Office for more information. 

LONG TERM ILLNESS SCHEME

People suffering from certain conditions, who are not already medical card holders, can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition. These are provided under the Long Term Illness Scheme. This scheme is administered by the Health Service Executive (HSE), under Section 59 of the Health Act 1970.
The Long Term Illness Scheme does not depend on your income or other circumstances and is separate from the Medical Card scheme and the GP Visit Card Scheme.

Budget 2010 
A 50 cent charge per prescription item is being introduced for medical card and Long Term Illness Card holders, subject to a monthly ceiling of €10 per family. New legislation is required to give effect to this; the expected implementation date is 1st April 2010.

Rules 

The medical conditions that qualify under the Long Term Illness Scheme are: • Mental handicap 
• Mental illness (for people under 16 only) 
• Diabetes insipidus 
• Diabetes mellitus 
• Haemophilia 
• Cerebral palsy 
• Phenylketonuria 
• Epilepsy 
• Cystic fibrosis 
• Multiple sclerosis 
• Spina bifida 
• Muscular dystrophies 
• Hydrocephalus 
• Parkinsonism 
• Acute leukaemia 
• Conditions arising from use of Thalidomide

If you qualify, you will get a long-term illness book. This book lists the drugs and medicines for the treatment of your condition, which will be provided to you free of charge through your community pharmacist. Other drugs and medicines not related to the specified condition must be paid for in the normal way.

If your doctor or occupational therapist prescribes a medical or surgical appliance, it will be supplied to you from your Local Health Office.

Non-medical card holders, non-GP Visit Card holders and conditions not covered under Long Term Illness
If you have neither a medical card, nor a GP Visit Card nor a medical condition listed above, you can use the Drugs Payment Scheme. Under this Scheme, individuals or families pay a maximum of €120 per calendar month (from 1 January 2010) towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines.

How to apply 

A standard application form for the Long Term Illness Scheme is not available online. You can get an application form from your family doctor (GP) or your Local Health Office.  Send the completed application form directly to your Local Health Office.

RESPITE CARE GRANT

The Respite Care Grant is an annual payment made to carers by the Department of Social and Family Affairs (DSFA) in Ireland. Carers can use the grant in whatever way they wish. You can use the grant to pay for respite care if you wish, but it is not necessary to do so.  In June of each year, the Department of Social and Family Affairs pays the grant automatically to carers getting Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit, Prescribed Relative's Allowance or Domiciliary Care Allowance from the Department. Only one Respite Care Grant can be paid for each person getting care.

The grant is paid to those getting one of the payments mentioned above as well as certain other carers providing full-time care. If you are not getting one of the above payments, you must be: 
• Aged 16 or over 
• Ordinarily resident in the State 
• Caring for the person on a full-time basis 
• Caring for the person for at least six months - this period must include the first Thursday in June 
• Living with the person being cared for or, if not, be contactable quickly by a direct system of communication (for example, telephone or alarm).

You do not qualify if you are working more than 15 hours per week outside the home, if you are getting an unemployment payment or if you are signing on for unemployment credits. You also do not qualify if you are living in a hospital, convalescent home or similar institution.

If you are caring for more than one person, a grant is paid for each of them.

A Respite Care Grant of €1,700 (June 2010) is paid once each year, usually in June, for each person you are caring for. It is not taxable.

If you are getting Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit, Prescribed Relative's Allowance or Domiciliary Care Allowance from the Department of Social and Family Affairs, you do not need to apply for the Respite Care Grant. It will be automatically paid to you in June.

If you are getting Domiciliary Care Allowance from the Health Service Executive (HSE), the HSE will automatically pay you the grant. From 2010, all Respite Care Grants will be paid by the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

If you are not getting one of these payments you should fill in an application form for the Respite Care Grant RCG 1.If you are caring for more than two people you must fill in an RCG 1(a) Respite Care Grant form for each additional person (pdf) and attach it to your completed RCG 1 form.

If you are not getting one of the above payments and you got the Respite Care Grant last year, you do not need to re-apply in this year using the RCG 1 form. If you got the grant last year, you will get a letter at the end of April this year (2010) from the Respite Care Section in the Department of Social and Family Affairs with a short questionnaire on the back. You must answer the questions on the back and return the letter to the Respite Care Section. A freepost envelope will be included with your letter. After you return the letter, the Department will use this and the information on file to reassess you for the Respite Care Grant.

You can get a Respite Care Grant application form, from your Social Welfare Local Office or Citizens Information Centre. 

You may qualify for the free household benefits scheme if you are in receipt of:

• Carers Allowance
• Invalidity Pension 
• Blind Pension 
• Incapacity Supplement or Workmen's Compensation with Disablement Pension (for at least 12 months)
• Disability Allowance 
• An equivalent Social Security Pension/Benefit from a country covered by EU Regulations, or from a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement 
and live alone or only with certain excepted persons.

Excepted persons are:

• A qualified adult (your spouse/partner is considered a qualified adult if you are receiving an allowance for him/her with your payment or if he or she earns less than €310, including income from a social welfare payment)  • Dependent child(ren) under the age of 18 or under the age of 22 if in full-time education (a certificate from the school/college must be supplied for those aged 18 or over) 
• A person who is so incapacitated as to require constant care and attention for at least 12 months (medical certification may be required) 
• A person(s) who would qualify for the allowance in his/her own right (for example, a person getting an State Pension) 
• A person who is providing you or someone in your household with constant care and attention if you or that person is so incapacitated as to require constant care and attention for at least 12 months (medical certification may be required). People in employment for more than 15 hours per week or people getting Jobseeker's Benefit/Jobseeker's Allowance cannot be accepted as providing constant full-time

Other qualifying conditions

• You must be permanently living (that is on an all-year-round basis) at the address at which you wish the allowances to be applied. The allowances do not apply if you live in a nursing/retirement home where the accommodation is not fully self-contained. However, if you are aged 70 or over and live in such a nursing/retirement home and you have your own telephone account, you may be eligible for the Telephone Allowance  • No other person in your household can be receiving the allowances. 
• You must be the registered consumer of electricity/gas if you are applying for an Electricity/Natural Gas Allowance and the registered telephone account holder if you are applying for the Telephone Allowance

The Household Benefits Package is made up of:
• The Electricity Allowance 
• The Natural Gas Allowance 
• The Electricity (Group Account) Allowance 
• The Bottled Gas Refill Allowance 
• The Telephone Allowance 
• The Free Television Licence. 
If you have an electricity or natural gas supply, you must choose either the Electricity Allowance or the Natural Gas Allowance. The Electricity/Electricity (Group Account) Allowance cannot be paid at more than one address or at the same time as a Natural Gas Allowance.

Electricity Allowance

The Electricity Allowance covers normal standing charges and up to 2,400 units of electricity each year, (up to 400 units of electricity in each two-monthly billing period in summer and 400 units of electricity in each two-monthly billing period in winter).
ESB
Following approval of your application for an Electricity Allowance, the Department notifies the ESB, who will apply the allowance, including any backdated credit, on your next or subsequent bill. 
The allowance is paid directly to the ESB. You must pay in the normal way for any electricity you use over and above the allowance. If you do not use all your free units, up to 1200 unused free units can be carried forward between each billing period. Different payment methods apply if you change from the ESB to another electricity provider - see 'Other electricity providers' below.

If you have a Nightsaver meter in your home, your unused free electricity units will reduce the cost of electricity in your Nightsaver account.

Other electricity providers
If your electricity provider is not the ESB, your Electricity Allowance will be paid directly to you to use towards your electricity bill. In this case, the allowance can be paid into your bank account or at your local Post Office.

If you are already getting an Electricity Allowance and change your electricity provider, you do not need to reapply.

Electricity (Group Account) Allowance

You may qualify for a monthly Electricity (Group Account) Allowance of €40.70, if you are living in self-contained accommodation (a flat or apartment), and: • You have your own electricity slot meter 
or
• There are a number of separate electricity meters operating from one meter from an electricity provider and the registered consumer of electricity is a landlord 
or
• There are no separate meters, but the registered consumer of electricity at your address is a landlord.

The Electricity (Group Account) Allowance is paid on the 1st Tuesday of each month to an account in a financial institution, for example, a bank or if you have a social welfare services card through your local post office. If you are being paid through a post office, using a social welfare services card, you have 56 days to collect your payment.

Natural Gas Allowance

From 1 November 2009, you will get €52 deducted from your gas bill every 2 months for the summer months.
For gas used during the winter months, you will get €111 deducted from your gas bill every 2 months. The summer months are from June to November. The winter months are from December to May. If you don't use your full allowance you can carry up to €150 to your next bill.

Bord Gáis issues gas bills in arrears, which means that the normal Natural Gas Allowance credit that appears on your bill refers to the two-month period prior to the bill's issue.

The Allowance does not cover the cost of installing a natural gas supply to your home.

Following approval of your application for a Natural Gas Allowance, the Department notifies your gas provider, who will apply the allowance, including any backdated credit, on your second gas bill after that date.

From January 2008, the Allowance is extended to people who use gas which is not delivered through the national grid, for example, in some areas a gas tank may provide gas to a number of individually metered households.

Bottled Gas Refill Allowance

If your home is not connected to an electricity/natural gas supply but you satisfy the conditions of the scheme, you can avail of the Bottled Gas Refill Allowance of €40.70 each month instead.
The Bottled Gas Refill Allowance is paid on the 1st Tuesday of each month to an account in a financial institution, for example, a bank or if you have a social welfare services card through your local post office. If you are being paid through a post office, using a social welfare services card, you have 56 days to collect your payment.

The Bottled Gas Refill Allowance is only available to people who do not have an electricity or natural gas supply.

Telephone Allowance

The Telephone Allowance is a payment towards your mobile phone or landline phone bill. You can get only one Telephone Allowance per household which can be used for either a mobile phone or landline but not both.  Landline phone: if you use the Telephone Allowance for your landline phone, it is paid as a credit on your phone bill.

Mobile phone: if you use the Telephone Allowance for your mobile phone, you can use it to pay your mobile phone bill or to buy credit for your phone. It is paid to you on the first Tuesday of every month. You can choose to have your allowance paid into a post office or a financial institution, for example, a bank. If you are being paid through a post office, using a social welfare services card, you have 56 days to collect your payment.

The value of the allowance is: 
• €26 (including VAT)- monthly or 
• €52 (including VAT) - if you are billed every two-months

If you have a hearing or vision impairment, the Allowance covers the cost of renting a special telephone, subject to availability.

The Allowance does not cover the installation charge for the telephone.

The allowance can only be awarded if the telephone is registered in your own or joint names. If this is not the case, you should apply to your telephone service provider to have it changed.

If your house is divided into flats or apartments, you can only qualify for a Telephone Allowance if the telephone is registered in your name and is located in your private flat/apartment.

People aged 70 or over living in nursing homes who have their own telephone account or mobile phone may also qualify.

Free Television Licence

Once you qualify for the Household Benefits Package, you become eligible for a Free Television Licence from the next renewal date of your television licence.
When you qualify for the Household Benefits Package, the Department issues you with a TV licence, and also notifies An Post of your entitlement to a free licence for as long as you are entitled to the Household Benefits Package.

Your completed application form should be returned to the Household Benefits Package Section: 
Department of Social and Family Affairs

Social Welfare Services 
College Road 
Co. Sligo 
IRELAND

Tel: (071) 915 7100 
Locall: 1890 500 000 

FREE TRAVEL PASS

If you are under age 66 and permanently live in the State, you will get a Free Travel Pass automatically when you are awarded an Invalidity Pension, Blind Pension, Disability Allowance or Carer’s Allowance.
Your Spouse or Partner
If you qualify for a Free Travel Pass and you are married or cohabiting (that is, living with a man or woman as husband and wife), you may get a Free Travel Pass that allows your spouse or partner to join you for free when travelling. This does not apply if you are under age 66 and you are getting Carer’s Allowance or you are a nominated carer for a person who gets Constant Attendance Allowance or Prescribed Relatives Allowance from this Department.

If you are married you will get the correct type of pass (to allow your spouse to accompany you free of charge) whether you apply for a Free Travel Pass or get one automatically.

A companion (if you cannot travel alone)
You may be eligible to get a Free Travel Companion Pass if you are medically assessed as unfit to travel alone. This type of pass allows any one person, aged 16 or over, to accompany you for free, when travelling.

You may use your Free Travel Pass on the transport services listed below at any time.
• Dublin Bus (except Nitelink and special airport buses)
• Bus Éireann (city services)
• Bus Éireann (long distance services)
• Iarnród Éireann
• DART
• LUAS
• Certain private bus and ferry services
• Certain cross-border services between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
• Certain services within Northern Ireland*

You cannot use your Free Travel Pass:
• on services not listed in the official rail and bus time tables of Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann or Iarnród Éireann,
• on tours and special bus or rail services,
• on organised group journeys,
• on Dublin Bus Nitelink services,
• on Dublin Bus special airport services, and
• on First Class or Super Class travel on any service (unless you pay the correct fare supplement)

You must apply for a Free Travel Pass by completing registration form FT 1. You can get a registration form:

• on the Internet at www.welfare.ie 
• text to 51909 
• from your local Social Welfare Office or

Send the completed form with any required documents to:
Free Travel Section
FREEPOST
Social Welfare Services
College Road
Sligo.

LoCall: 1890 500 000 (from the Republic of Ireland only) 

HALF RATE CARERS ALLOWANCE

Since September 2007, the Carer's Allowance scheme has allowed more people who are caring for another person get a Carer's Allowance payment. If you are getting certain social welfare payments and you are providing full-time care and attention to another person, you can keep your main social welfare payment and get half-rate Carer’s Allowance as well.
If you are in one of the following situations you may qualify for half-rate Carer's Allowance:
• Already getting Carer's Allowance but also meet the qualifying criteria for another social welfare payment 
• Changed from another social welfare payment to get Carer's Allowance 
• Caring for someone and being claimed for by a spouse or partner 
• Getting a social welfare payment other than Carer's Allowance and caring for someone

If you are already getting Carer’s Allowance

If you are getting Carer's Allowance and you also meet the qualifying conditions for another social welfare payment (for example, a state pension) you should apply for the other payment. If you qualify for the other payment you will be paid it in full and keep half your Carer’s Allowance payment as well. (For a list of social welfare payments payable with half-rate Carer's Allowance - see 'Rules' below)
If you are currently getting Carer’s Allowance and your spouse or partner is claiming another social welfare payment (for example, Jobseeker’s Allowance), your spouse or partner may claim an increase in their social welfare payment for you as a qualified adult and your Carer’s Allowance will be reduced by 50%. This can only be done with your consent but it may increase your total household income.

If you changed from another social welfare payment to Carer’s Allowance.

If you were on another social welfare payment before claiming Carer's Allowance, you may get your original payment reinstated and also get half-rate Carer's Allowance, if you continue to meet the qualifying conditions for both schemes. (For a list of social welfare payments now payable with half-rate Carer's Allowance - see 'Rules' below).

If you are caring for someone and being claimed for as an adult dependant on your spouse or partner’s social welfare payment.

If you are being claimed for as a qualified adult on your spouse or partner’s social welfare payment and you are providing full-time care to another person, you may now apply for half-rate Carer's Allowance and keep your current Increase for a Qualified Adult in full.

If you are getting a social welfare payment (other than Carer’s Allowance) and caring for someone.

If you are getting one of the social welfare payments now payable with half-rate Carer's Allowance (see 'Rules' below) and caring for someone, you may keep your social welfare payment and qualify for half-rate Carer’s Allowance.

Rules
You must meet the qualifying criteria for Carer’s Allowance. For example, the person you are caring for must be so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention and you must satisfy a means test. There is more information in the document about the qualifying criteria for Carer’s Allowance on www.welfare.ie

If you satisfy the conditions for Carer’s Allowance it will be awarded at 50% of the rate that would apply if you were not getting any other payment. You will also be eligible for the Respite Care Grant, Household Benefits Package and a Free Travel Pass.

You can get half-rate Carer’s Allowance with the following weekly social welfare payments:
• Invalidity Pension and Invalidity Pension Increase for a Qualified Adult 
• Illness Benefit and Illness Benefit Increase for a Qualified Adult 
• Blind Pension and Blind Pension Increase for a Qualified Adult 
• Widow's/Widower's (Non-Contributory) Pension 
• Disability Allowance and Disability Allowance Increase for a Qualified Adult 
• Incapacity Supplement and Incapacity Supplement Increase for a Qualified Adult

You cannot get half-rate Carer’s Allowance with the following social welfare payments:
• Supplementary Welfare Allowance 
• Supplementary Welfare Allowance Increase for a Qualified Adult 
• Jobseekers Benefit 
• Jobseekers Allowance 
• Family Income Support 
• Back to Work Allowance 
• Back to Education 
• Carer’s Benefit

Rates

If you satisfy the conditions for Carer’s Allowance it will be awarded at 50% of the rate that would apply if you were not getting any other payment.
Maximum half-rate Carer's Allowance from January 2010 
Half-rate Carer's Allowance (max) Under age 66 (max) Age 66 and over (max)
Caring for one person €106 €119.50
Caring for two or more €159 €179.25

Any increase you may be entitled to, for example, an increase for a dependant child, living alone and living on an offshore island will be paid with your main social welfare payment and not with the half-rate Carer’s Allowance.

How to apply

Half-rate Carer’s Allowance is not a new scheme. You apply on the standard Carer’s Allowance form.
To apply fill in an application form for Carers Allowance or contact your local Social Welfare local office for a copy of this form.

Forward the completed application form with the relevant certificates to Carer's Allowance Section at the Department of Social and Family Affairs

Where to apply
Carer's Allowance Section
Department of Social and Family Affairs
Social Welfare Services Office 
Government Buildings 
Ballinalee Road 
Co. Longford 
IRELAND

Tel: (043) 334 0000 
Locall: 1890 927 770 

www.welfare.ie 

HOMEMAKERS SCHEME

A homemaker, for the purposes of the Homemaker’s Scheme, is a man or woman who gives up work on or after 6 April 1994 to take care of a child under age 12 or an ill or disabled person aged 12 or over.
The Homemaker's Scheme makes it easier for you as a homemaker to qualify for State Pension (Contributory) (was Old Age Contributory Pension) when you reach age 66. It does not provide social welfare payments while homemaking.

One of the conditions for State Pension (Contributory) is that a person has a minimum average number of paid or credited Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions each year from the time they enter social insurance until pension age.

If you care full-time for any child or adult, there is normally a gap in your PRSI record. Under the Homemaker’s Scheme, this gap when working out your yearly average of PRSI contributions for State Pension (Contributory). This may help you qualify for a pension or entitle you to a higher rate of pension.

This arrangement only applies to State Pension (Contributory) and is based only on breaks from work taken after 6 April 1994.

To benefit from the Homemaker’s Scheme, you must have worked and paid PRSI at Classes A, E, H and S.

You are awarded a homemaking year for each full tax year (January to December) spent caring. You can get homemaker’s credits up to the end of the tax year during which you become a homemaker. Likewise, if you stop being a homemaker during the tax year, you can get homemaker’s credits up to the date you stop. Credits under the Homemaker’s Scheme help you qualify for State Pension (Contributory) only.

The example below shows how the scheme works.
Example: You leave work to care for a newborn child.
Child’s date of birth: 12 May 1994
Child’s 12th birthday: 12 May 2006
Homemaking Period : 12 May 1994 - 12 May 2006
From To Your insurance record
12 May 1994 5 Apr 1995 You get credits until the end of tax year
6 Apr 1995 31 Dec 2005 These are counted as full homemaking years (see note below)
1 Jan 2006 12 May 2006 You get credits until the child's 12th Birthday

Note: The calendar tax year came into effect in 2002. The 2001 tax year only ran from 6 April 2001 to 31 December 2001. Before that, the tax year ran from 6 April of the first year to 5 April of the following year.

We will take into account the period of homemaking (in the example, 12 years) when we work out the yearly average number of contributions for State Pension (Contributory). Up to 20 homemaking years may be taken into account to help you qualify for State Pension (Contributory).

If you do not return to work after you stop being a homemaker, you may choose to become a voluntary contributor.

To become a homemaker, you must:
• permanently live in the State 
• be under age 66 
• have started insurable employment or self-employment at or after age 16 and before age 56 
• not work full-time (but you can work and earn less than €38 gross per week)

Before 14 March 2005, you must also have lived with the person you were looking after.

Since 14 March 2005, if you are not living with this person:
• a direct system of communication must exist between your home and the person being cared for, for example by telephone or alarm system, and 
• the person being cared for must not already be receiving full-time care and attention within their own home from anyone else.

Note: You do not need to register for the scheme if you are getting Child Benefit, Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Respite Care Grant. If you are not getting any of these payments, you may still become a homemaker

You must be providing full-time care and attention for:
• a child under age 12 - (see Note below) 
or 
• an ill or disabled person (age 12 or over) who needs full-time care and attention.

Note: If you were a homemaker from 6 April 1994 to 5 April 1995, the child must have been under age 6.

From 6 April 1995 onwards, the child must be under age 12. This age limit does not apply if the child is so incapacitated as to need full-time care and attention.

The person or people being cared for must need:
• continuous supervision for their own health and personal safety 
or 
• continuous supervision and frequent help during the day to meet their normal personal needs, such as eating, walking, bathing and so on. 
A medical certificate is needed. 

Care Sharing Allowance

Two carers who provide care on alternate weeks can be accommodated on the carer's allowance scheme. Under legislation the carer must provide this care for a complete week i.e. Monday to Sunday.
Each carer will share the carer's allowance income support payment and the annual respite care grant.

A carer who provides care on alternate weeks with the care recipient attending a residential institution every other week can also be accommodated on the carer’s allowance scheme.

Each carer should apply for carer’s allowance using form CR1. If a person is caring for someone on alternate weeks where the care recipient attends a residential institution then the details of this should be recorded on the application form. All the usual qualifying conditions for carer’s allowance will apply to carers availing of these arrangements. The rate of payment for each carer will depend on their individual circumstances. Both carers will receive the household benefits package of free schemes if they meet the qualifying criteria for the scheme. 

DIET AND HEAT SUPPLEMENTS

To get a diet supplement or a heating supplement you must satisfy the specific requirements for each supplement - see 'Rules' below.
Rules 
Diet supplement
You can get a diet supplement for a prescribed diet, if you: 
• Have a specified medical condition 
• Are getting a social welfare payment or HSE payment 
• Satisfy a means test. 
To get a diet supplement, a hospital consultant or a hospital registrar must certify:
• That you or your adult dependant or child dependant has been prescribed a diet because of a specified medical condition 
• The type of diet prescribed 
• How long you will need the prescribed diet.

A gluten free diet for an adult or a child aged 18 to 22 may be prescribed by your family doctor (GP).
In the case of diet supplements, for example, for people with cystic fibrosis, the long-term illness scheme book may be accepted as verification that such a diet has been prescribed. The length of time for which the diet is being prescribed and the type of diet must be stated.

Diets that qualify for the diet supplement

The weekly cost of each prescribed diet is set by the Department of Social and Family Affairs. The following diets qualify for the diet supplement:
Qualifying prescribed diets Cost of diet
Low-lactose, milk-free diet €65.43
Gluten-free diet €68.43
High-protein, high-calorie diet €71.43
Altered consistencies (liquidised) diet €74.93

Heating supplement

The heating supplement is an additional weekly payment to help with the cost of heating your home. You may get a heating supplement, if you:  • Can show you have extra heating needs because of your age, medical condition or disability 
• Are living alone or only with a dependent adult or dependent children 
• Satisfy a means test.

Rates 

Adult diet supplement The rate for a single person and lone parent is calculated as follows: The diet cost as set by the Department of Social and Family Affairs, less one-third of your social welfare payment at the 2007 rate = the diet supplement to be paid to you.

Example 1:
• Paul is on a high-protein, high-calorie diet and is getting a One-Parent Family Payment. The Department of Social and Family Affairs has set the cost of this diet at €71.43. Take one-third of his social welfare payment (excluding any amount he is getting for a child dependant) from €71.43 to get the amount of diet supplement payable. (€71.43 - €61.93 (or one-third of his One Parent Family Payment at the 2007 rate) = €9.50 paid as diet supplement)

The rate for a married or cohabiting couple is calculated as follows: The diet cost as set by the Department of Social and Family Affairs less one-sixth of your social welfare payment at the 2007 rate = the diet supplement to be paid to you.

Example 2:
• Mary is married and on a high-protein high-calorie diet and is getting Jobseeker's Allowance. The Department of Social and Family Affairs has set the cost of this diet at €71.43 . Take one-sixth of her social welfare payment (excluding any amount she is getting for a child dependant) from €71.43 to get the amount of diet supplement payable. (€71.43 - €51.52 (one-sixth of her Jobseeker's Allowance payment including an increase for her adult dependant at the 2007 rate) = €19.91 paid as diet supplement).

People getting Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement

If you are getting Rent Supplement or Mortgage Interest Supplement, the Supplementary Welfare Allowance personal rate for 2007, and qualified adult rate where applicable, is used to calculate the amount of diet supplement. In assessing your means, any increases in social welfare payments for children are not taken into account.
Child diet supplement
The diet supplement rates for a qualified child are as follows:
• Low lactose, milk free diet = €3.50 
• Gluten free diet = €6.50 
• High protein, high calorie diet = €9.50 
• Altered consistency (liquidised) diet = €13

A child is considered to be a dependant if they are under 18, or is over 18 and under 22 and in full-time education.

Heating supplement
There is no fixed rate for heating supplement. The amount of heating supplement you get will be based on your need as assesed by your Community Welfare Officer.

How to apply 

To apply for a heating supplement, fill in a heating supplement form (pdf). The Community Welfare Officer will help you fill in the form.
To apply for a diet supplement, you must fill in an application form. If you are applying for an adult, fill in an adult diet supplement form (pdf). If you are applying for a child, fill in a child diet supplement form (pdf). The Community Welfare Officer will help you fill in the form.

You can make an appeal against a decision to the Appeals Officer of the HSE.

Where to apply 

To get a diet or heating supplement, apply to the Community Welfare Officer in your local health centre. 

MOBILITY ALLOWANCE

This is a means-tested monthly allowance paid to people who are unable to walk and would benefit from a change in surroundings. For further information, contact your local office of the Health Service Executive. 

NATIONAL FUEL SCHEME

A Fuel Allowance is a payment under the National Fuel Scheme to help with the cost of heating your home. It is paid to people who are dependant on long-term social welfare or Health Service Executive (HSE) payments and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs.
The scheme operates for 32 weeks from the end of September to May.

Only one payment is paid to a household.

You may qualify for a fuel allowance if you are getting:
• Blind Pension
• Invalidity Pension
• Disability Allowance

And
You live alone or only with:
• A dependent spouse/partner and/or dependent children 
• Other people getting one of the qualifying payments who would also be eligible for a Fuel Allowance in their own right 
• A person who gives you full-time care and attention if you have a disability 
• Person getting Carer's Allowance

The Fuel Allowance is €20 per week.

You may get a Smokeless Fuel Allowance if you live in certain areas where the sale of bituminous (smoke-causing) fuel is banned.

Apply for Fuel Allowance fill in application form NFS 1 (pdf). This application form is also available from your local post office.

If you apply for the Fuel Allowance after the start of the heating season (the last week in September), the allowance will not be backdated.

If you are getting a payment from the Department of Social and Family Affairs or a social security payment from a country covered by EC Regulations or a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement, the Fuel Allowance will be included in your weekly payment. You do not need to reapply for the Fuel Allowance each year as long as, your circumstances remain the same and you continue to get the same social welfare payment.

If you are not getting a social welfare payment, your Fuel Allowance can be paid directly into your account in a financial institution or you can collect the allowance at your local post office using your social services card.

Complete and return the form to the section that pays your social welfare payment, as set out below.

If you are getting one of the following payments: 
• Invalidity Pension 
• Pre-Retirement Pension 
• Disability Allowance 
• Incapacity Supplement

Send your application to:
Department of Social and Family Affairs
Social Welfare Services Office 
Government Buildings 
Ballinalee Road 
Co.Longford
IRELAND

Tel: (043) 334 0000 
Locall: 1890 92 77 70 

Incapacitated child credit

Who can Claim? The tax credit can be claimed by a parent/guardian in respect of a child who is permanently incapacitated either physically or mentally from maintaining himself/herself.

Conditions to Qualify

The child must have become incapacitated before reaching 21 years of age or If over 21 years became permanently incapacitated while still in full time education or full time training for a trade or profession for a minimum of 2 years.

No income restriction applies from 6/4/2001.

For prior years the allowance was restricted, where the incapacitated child's income at the 6th April, in his/her own right, exceeded €2,100 in the tax year.


Documentation Required
The following information is required:

Child's name
Date of Birth
Incapacity
Details of child's income (not necessary 2001 onwards)
*Medical certificate in certain circumstances.
*(only required with a first claim where it is not obvious that the incapacity is of a serious and permanent nature)


Where to send claim
Use your PPS number to find the postal address for your Revenue office

This credit may also be claimed using PAYE Anytime.


Additional Information
Child includes:

Stepchild
Formally adopted child
Informally adopted child or any child of whom the claimant has custody and maintains at his/her own expense.
Where the incapacity can be corrected, treated or relieved by the use of any treatment, device, medication or therapy the child is not regarded as permanently incapacitated. Examples are diabetes which can be treated with insulin, coeliac diseases, hearing impairment which can be corrected by hearing aid etc.

Where more than one child is incapacitated a tax credit may be claimed for each child.Where a child does not satisfy all the conditions for the tax credit the claimant may claim Dependent Relative Tax Credit.

www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/incapacitated-child-credit.html

Information for carers

There is a second allowance which is related to that where you can claim for the cost of employing a person or person(s) or an agency to care for a totally incapacitated person. This relief grants a tax deduction up to a maximum of €50000 per year for this. The link for this is as follows
www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/credits/information-for-carers.html

Also, all revenue claims can be made back for a period of 4 years. In practice this means that any entitlements that arise on the tax year 2007 and subsequent years can be claimed now. Anything that relates to the 2006 tax year or before cannot be claimed for those years at this point. 
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