High Court says appeals officer must reconsider case of autistic child
Judge rules department failed to operate the part of Act under which allowance is granted in manner intended by Oireachtas
Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said a Department of Social Protection appeals officer must reopen case after the mother presented new evidence to back up her case. Photograph: Frank Miller
The mother of a 10-year-old girl with special educational needs is entitled to have her application for a domiciliary care allowance reconsidered, the High Court has ruled.
Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said a Department of Social Protection appeals officer must reopen the matter after the mother presented new evidence to back up her case.
The mother had brought proceedings against the Minister for Social Protection and the appeals officer after both refused to sanction the allowance.
The child has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Care and attention
The mother claimed she required substantially more care and attention than would normally be required for a child of the same age without the illness.
Following the Minister’s refusal in 2011, the mother appealed. However the appeals officer concluded in 2012 it had not been established the child needed substantial additional care on a continuous basis.
The mother then obtained new evidence to show the extent of her daughter’s needs, including from the child’s special-needs teacher in school and the family GP.
When the Department of Social Protection refused to further consider the case because it had been through an appeals process, the mother brought the High Court proceedings.
Yesterday Mr Justice Hogan found the department had failed to operate the part of the 2005 Social Welfare Consolidation Act under which the allowance is granted in the manner intended by the Oireachtas.
Section 317 of the 2005 Act clearly conferred a jurisdiction to entertain revision applications where new evidence has been presented, he said.