New relief | 

Welfare payments for families of children in hospital with severe illness to double

New relief for parents announced by Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys (PA Media)

Senan Molony

Welfare payments are to be doubled for families of children who are hospitalised with severe illness.

The new relief for anxious parents will be announced by Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys today.

She said she is immediately putting in place increased measures in support of families whose children are hospitalised.

The period for the payment to such families of a Domiciliary Care Allowance and Carer’s Allowance is being extended from 13 weeks to 26 weeks, or half a year.

The allowances will be paid to the parents or guardians of children under 16 who are hospitalised for up to six months.

It is expected that around 170 families will benefit from the measure this year.

Ms Humphreys said: “When a child is hospitalised, it can be an extremely difficult time for both that child and their family.”

Domiciliary Care Allowance and Carer’s Allowance are availed of by families “in certain circumstances”, she said, for example when the child is seriously ill.

“Up to now, these supports had been paid over a period of 13 weeks when a child was in hospital. I’m therefore pleased to double the period of time to 26 weeks in circumstances where a child is hospitalised on a full-time basis.

“I hope this will give many families greater financial security and peace of mind when they are enduring such difficult experiences.”

The Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment for a child aged under 16 with a severe disability who requires ongoing care and attention. It is not means tested and is paid at a rate of €309.50 per month for each eligible child.

Carer’s Allowance, meanwhile, is a means-tested payment for people who are looking after someone who needs support because of age, physical or learning disability or illness, including mental illness. It is primarily aimed at carers on low incomes who live with and cater for those who cannot maintain themselves.

There have already been budget improvements to the Carer’s Allowance scheme.

The weekly income disregard for Carer’s Allowance will increase to €350 per week for single carers, from €332.50, and to €750 per week for carers with a spouse or partner, from €665. These increases will take effect from June.

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