Mother cannot appeal 2011 refusal of care allowance for daughter, court rules
Child diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
A mother who was refused a care allowance for her daughter, who has various disorders, was not entitled to appeal the refusal years later, the Court of Appeal ruled.
The child has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and borderline Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Her mother is her primary carer.
In 2011 she applied to the Department of Social Protection for the domiciliary care allowance which is payable where a child has a severe disability requiring continuous care and attention substantially in excess of what is normally required.
In September 2011, a deciding officer refused to approve her application. The mother did not appeal the decision even though she would have been entitled to do so under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005.
It was 4½ years later that she applied on three occasions for a revision of the deciding officer’s 2011 decision. She was refused on each occasion. She then sought to appeal the 2011 decision to the department’s chief appeals officer who told her she was out of time for doing so. She brought a High Court challenge over that refusal against the Minister for Social Protection and the chief appeals officer. In 2018, the High Court rejected the challenge.
She appealed to the Court of Appeal, which on Wednesday dismissed her appeal.
Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, on behalf of the three-judge appeal court, said the High Court did not err in finding there was no absurdity in providing for a system of appeal in which that right to appeal is limited to the original decision (of 2011).
She did not accept submissions on behalf of the woman, where new evidence was presented and there then is a refusal to revise the original decision, this was appealable. That decision remained unrevised and therefore unappealable, she said.
The court made no order as to costs given the systemic importance of the issues raised in the case, meaning both sides pay their own costs.