Mother loses appeal over welfare payments for autistic son

Woman sought domicilary care allowance to give her boy full-time support

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton: her counsel denied she had acted unfairly

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton: her counsel denied she had acted unfairly

Sat, Oct 26, 2013, 01:00



The mother of an autistic child has lost her High Court application to overturn a refusal to pay her the domiciliary care allowance. She had sought the allowance for her son on grounds he needed full-time care. Mr Justice Michael Hanna has directed that the family cannot be identified.

The Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 provides for payment of the allowance in cases of children who need care and attention beyond that normally required of a child of the same age.

After being told her son did not qualify for the payment, the mother brought High Court proceedings alleging no proper or adequate reasons were given by the Minister for Social Protection for that refusal.

The mother said the decision conflicted with a report from her GP, which stated the boy needed full-time care.


Every sympathy
In his judgment yesterday, Mr Justice Hanna said that while he had every sympathy with the boy’s family, the appeal should first have gone to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

In her High Court proceedings, Derek Shortall, for the mother, sought orders quashing refusals of May and October last year to pay her the allowance.

Patrick Dillon Malone SC, for the Minister, denied she had acted unfairly and unreasonably in the matter.