16 September 2017
By Tom O’Sullivan
Cork South Central TD, Michael McGrath has said that the high percentage of successful appeals made in respect of Domiciliary Care Allowance applications suggest that many applicants are being unfairly stopped from getting their payment in the first place, and that the decision making process is flawed.
The Fianna Fáil Deputy was commenting after receiving a parliamentary reply from the Minister for Disability, Finian McGrath which shows that in 50% of all appeals, from 2014 to June 2017, the initial decision was overturned, and the Domiciliary Care Allowance payment was awarded.
“It is very concerning that so many people are having their applications rejected at the first stage but then, after much frustration and worry, they have their application approved.
“We need to bear in mind that the DCA is a payment paid primarily to parents or guardians of children who have a severe disability.
“These families are already under enough pressure, and having to go through the ordeal of a lengthy appeals process after waiting up to six months already for an initial decision is unfair.
“Equally, this financial payment is required to help the carers meet the needs of their child. Waiting a total period of time of between 12-18 months for a successful outcome places a major burden on the family and is nothing short of cruel.
“We need to find a better, fairer and above all else quicker way of assessing these applications. Of course, there will always be a limited number of cases where additional information or a change in circumstances will change the initial decision, but having 50% of decisions successfully appeals implies to me a major flaw in the decision making process,” concluded McGrath.