Information for Families


1. Domiciliary care Allowance (DCA)

This is a monthly payment given by the Department of Social Protection to families of children with a severe disability, where the child is cared for at home and is under the age of 16 years and you satisfy the habitual residence condition.

This payment is not based on the type of disability but on the resulting physical or mental impairment which means that you’re child needs more care and attention than a child of the same age.

How to apply

Download form: Dom Care 1 from or text “form DCA” followed by your name and address to 51909 or low call 1890500000 and have you’re PPS number ready.

*please note when completing this document that it is very important that you give a clear picture of the extra work involved in caring for your child (physio/exercises, feeding, hygiene/skin care, caring with equipment for example suctioning/feeding pumps/oxygen) . It is helpful to write a day in the life of your child from when they get up in morning to they go to sleep at night including all the care given.

This payment is not means tested.

2. Respite Care Grant

If you qualify for the DCA, you will also qualify for the annual Respite Care Grant, which is paid automatically every year in June.

The Respite Care Grant is an extra payment for carers, aimed at enabling the carer and the person being cared for to take a break. You may use the grant in whatever way you wish.

This grant is paid in June each year and you automatically qualify for this payment if you qualify for DCA, Carers Allowance or Carers Benefit.

This payment is not means tested.

3. Carers Allowance

This is a means tested payment for carers who live and look after people who need full time care. If your child is under 16, you qualify for Carers Allowance only if you qualify for DCA.

DCA payment is not counted in the means testing for Carers Allowance.

You may work up to 15 hours per week and still be entitled to Carers Allowance provided you are within the means.

If you are looking after more than 1 child, you may be entitled to an additional 50% of the maximum rate of Carer’s Allowance each week.

Carers Allowance payment is not taken into account in the assessment for medical card.
Included in Carers Allowance is a free household benefits package .
There are 2 allowances in the household benefit package
ALLOWANCE 1;electricity allowance or gas or cash electricity or cash gas allowance
ALLOWANCE 2;free t.v. licence
As from May 2014 the Department of Social Protection has announced that the household benefit package will be extended to help with water cost.

How to apply

Carers Allowance form is available from your local social welfare office or download (CR1) on

4. Carer’s Benefit

This is a payment made to anyone in insurable employment who wishes to leave the workforce for up to two years (104 weeks) to care for their sick child at home.

You must have been working for at least eight weeks in the previous 26 weeks before becoming a carer. This payment is based on PRSI contributions and you will be automatically e-awarded PRSI contributions while receiving this payment.

You should apply for carer’s benefit 8 weeks prior to leaving employment so that your eligibility can be assessed before you finish work.

How to apply

Carers Benefit form (CARB1) is available from you’re local Social Welfare Office or online at and also from Carer’s Benefit section in the Department of Social Protection.

5. Medical Card

Medical cards are issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) and allow the holder to receive certain health services free of charge. They allow people to access Family Doctor or GP services, community health services, dental services, prescription medicine costs, hospital care and a range of other benefits free of charge. Normally, your dependent spouse or partner and your children are also covered for the same range of health services.
All medical card holders pay 2.50 euros per prescripition with a monthly ceiling
Of 25 euros per family.Forms and informayion available on

The medical card is means tested and to qualify for a medical card your weekly income must be below a certain figure for your family size. Cash income, savings, investments and property (except for your own home) are taken into account in the means test.

GP Visit Cards: Unless you have a medical card, visits to GPs (family doctors) are not free. If you do not qualify for a medical card on income grounds, you may qualify for a GP Visit Card. It is means tested, but the income limits are 50% higher than for the medical card.

How to apply

The quickest way to apply for a medical card is online, on is a HSE website

Application forms are also available from your Local Health Office and

Completed forms should be sent to

Client Registration Unit,
P.O. Box 11745,
Dublin 11.

If you have any questions before you send your application, Lo-Call 1890 252 919

6. Long Term Illness Card

People suffering from certain conditions (listed below), who are not already medical card holders, can get free drugs, medicines and medical and surgical appliances for the treatment of that condition. These are provided under the Long Term Illness Scheme. This scheme is administered by the Health Service Executive (HSE), under Section 59 of the Health Act 1970.
The Long Term Illness Scheme does not depend on your income or other circumstances and is separate from the Medical Card scheme and the GP Visit Card Scheme.
It is possible to have a Long Term Illness Card and a Medical Card.

The medical conditions that qualify under the Long Term Illness Scheme are:

• Mental handicap
• Mental illness (for people under 16 only)
• Diabetes insipidus
• Diabetes mellitus
• Haemophilia
• Cerebral palsy
• Phenylketonuria
• Epilepsy
• Cystic fibrosis
• Multiple sclerosis
• Spina bifida
• Muscular dystrophies
• Hydrocephalus
• Parkinsonism
• Acute leukemia
• Conditions arising from use of Thalidomide

If you qualify, you will get a long-term illness book. This book lists the drugs and medicines for the treatment of your condition, which will be provided to you free of charge through your community pharmacist. Other drugs and medicines not related to the specified condition must be paid for in the normal way.

If your doctor or occupational therapist prescribes a medical or surgical appliance, it will be supplied to you from your Local Health Office

How to apply

A standard application form for the Long Term Illness Scheme is available online. You can also get an application form from your family doctor (GP) or the Local Health Office.

7. Drugs Payment Scheme

If you have neither a medical card, nor a GP Visit Card nor a medical condition listed above, you can use the Drugs Payment Scheme. Under this Scheme, individuals or families pay a maximum of €144 per calendar month (from 1 January 2014) towards the cost of approved prescribed medicines.

8. Incapacitated Child Tax Credit

The Incapacitated Child Tax Credit can be claimed by a parent/guardian of a child who is permanently incapacitated, either physically or mentally and

• Became so before reaching 21 years of age or
• Becomes permanently incapacitated after reaching the age of 21, but while still in full-time education or while training for a trade or profession for a minimum of 2 years.

The credit can also be claimed in respect of:
• A stepchild
• A formally/informally adopted child
• Any child of whom a person has custody, who is maintained at the person’s own expense and who is permanently incapacitated.

A credit may be claimed for each child where more than one child is permanently incapacitated. You may also claim tax relief in respect of medical expenses incurred by yourself or any other person.

In 2014, the Incapacitated Child Tax Credit is €3,660

 How to Apply

You should call or write to your local tax office outlining the credit claimed and the name(s) of the child(ren). A first claim should be accompanied by a doctor’s certificate showing:

• The date the incapacity first arose
• The degree and extent of the incapacity
• If it is a disability other than one of those listed above, the doctor’s certificate must state whether the incapacity permanently prevents the child from maintaining themselves.

Visit the Revenue contact locator webpage to find the Lo-call number for your region.

9. Primary Medical Certificate (PMC)

This is a certificate which confirms that you’re child has a severe or permanent disability and it is used specifically for tax purposes.

If you’re child has a PMC you automatically qualify for a Disabled Persons Parking card.

It may also assist you in purchasing a vehicle for the purpose of transporting you’re child as you will be able to claim tax relief on the vehicle.

The tax reliefs available on vehicles are:
1. Exemption or refund of vehicle registration tax (VRT), repayment of value added tax (VAT) on the purchase of a vehicle and repayment of VAT on the cost of adapting the vehicle.
2. Repayment of excise duty on fuel used up to a maximum of 2,728 litres (600 gallons) a year. You must keep your fuel receipts.
3. Exemption from annual motor tax.

A car which qualifies for tax relief cannot be sold for at least 2 years. The cost of the adaption must be 10% of the net cost of the vehicle.
Relief is limited to a vehicle that has been specifically adapted for use by a disabled person and has an engine size of less than 4000cc in the case of a disabled passenger.
In the case of a used vehicle it must be bought from an authorized dealer.

How to apply

Apply to your local health office for an assessment for PMC

Apply for tax relief on vehicles when you have PMC to:

Disabled Drivers Section
Central Repayments Office
Office of the Revenue Commissioners
FREEPOST, Coolshannagh, Co. Monaghan.
Telephone (047) 82800


You can claim tax relief on medical expenses that cannot be reimbursed from other sources such as HSE or a private health insurance company.
You should complete a Med 1 form at the end of the tax year,you can make claims retrospectively for the previous 4 yrs only if you have receipts to prove your claim.Do not send receipts with your Med 1 form however you must keep your receipts for 6 yrs because Revenue may investigate your Claim.

*For families in receipt of primary medical cert and who want to avail of toll exemptions please contact individual toll operators at:

10. Disabled Persons Parking Card

The card entitles the holder to park in public parking spaces without charge and also to park in disabled parking bays.
This permit is available to drivers or passengers with disabilities which may affect their mobility – normally the child has to be aged 5 and over with some exemptions on age for children registered with The Jack and Jill Foundation and for children who are registered blind.
The permit applies to the person with the disability and not the car being driven.
The permit costs 35 euro and its valid for 2 yrs.
oThe application form is available from; Irish Wheelchair Association,
National Mobility Centre, Ballinagappa Road, Clane, Co.Kildare
Tel: (045) 893094

11. Child Benefit

In the same way as all other parents, you are entitled to get Child Benefit until your child is 16 years old. If your child has a disability, is in full time education or doing FAS Youthreach training, Child Benefit is paid until 18 years of age.