Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children & Youth Affairs is calling on the Social Protection Minister to tackle increasing waiting times for Domiciliary Care Allowance appeals.  Families are facing delays of up to 22 weeks for a decision to be made on appeals which they have lodged with the Department.

Deputy Rabbitte explained, “I have been contacted by parents who are at the end of their tether waiting for a decision from the Department of Social Protection.  I have been speaking to a number of families who were initially told that a decision on their appeal would be made within 16 weeks; that was then pushed out to 18 weeks and in some instances it was deferred again and they were forced to wait 22 weeks for a decision.  That’s almost 6 months.

“The Domiciliary Care Allowance is an essential payment made to families with children who have a severe disability and require ongoing care and attention.  In many cases parents are reliant on this payment to the needs of their child, with some having to give up work to look after their son or daughter.

“The long delays to the appeals process is causing unnecessary stress and anxiety for parents who are already under a huge amount of pressure.  Having to wait for up to six months for a decision on an essential payment is completely unacceptable.  The Domiciliary Care Allowance appeals process is just one of many payments which is experiencing serious backlogs and causing untold stress to parents and families across the country.  Not one week passes without people contacting my office because of delays to approvals and payments.

“Minister Regina Doherty needs to examine the processes used to determine these appeal cases to ensure this process can be carried out in a more timely manner.  It is unfair to expect parents, who may be caring for a child with a severe disability, to wait for months to find out whether they will be granted the Domiciliary Care Allowance.

“I am calling for common sense and compassion and I will be discussing this issue with Minister Doherty to establish what moves can be made to speed up this unacceptably lengthy process”.