DCA Allowance for Special Needs Caroline Goldsmith

DCA Caroline Goldsmith


Caroline Goldsmith how to get DCA allowance for your child’s extra needs

If your child has extra care needs over and above those of a child of a similar age, apply for a DCA allowance. Currently the grant is a non means tested benefit of €320.00 a month with an €1850.00 euro grant for summer activities.

DCA Allowance for Special Needs Caroline Goldsmith


Your child may need Speech and Language Therapy (SLT), Occupational Therapy  (OT), Physiotherapy, Play Therapy, Psychotherapy or a  Psychologist or Counsellor. They could need help from family, friends or carer’s in order for you to function as a family and care for them at the same time.

The DCA application form can be downloaded or sent out from the social welfare office by calling them. Once you have completed the form and got your supporting evidence, you will need the form signed and stamped by your GP or a specialist.


Care needs are the grounds that DCA is allowed on. They must need more care than an average child of the same age.

This could mean that your child has a diagnosis of disability or condition, but it is not the only ground they will look at. Your case will be decided on you providing enough evidence of the ‘CARE NEEDS’ not just a disability.

You need to show the DCA assessor that you are providing round the clock care. With evidence that the child can’t do things for themselves, that other children of their age can do.

DCA Allowance for Special Needs Caroline Goldsmith


Most successful applications have a lot of detail in them showing that the child has very particular extra care needs. Therefore, that is things that interrupt family life. This means the parents and carer’s have to dedicate a significant amount of extra time and effort to the child. Successful applications also contain a large amount of supporting evidence.


Submit as much supporting evidence as you can with your application

Diagnostic and Intervention Report if you have one

OT and SLT and other therapist/care reports

GP letter stating child’s needs and any medications they are taking

PHN- public health nurse letter stating that your child has extra needs

School letter stating the over and above care needs and attention your child requires in school

Letters from family / friends stating how much time and effort the care of your child takes. Show how they help you out with care and support so that you can tend to other family members.

A home care diary stating the daily care needs your child has


Show clearly what it is like looking after your child and how they need more help than an average child

Dressing – supervising or dressing them as they get things backwards or inside out or cant make a decision on what to put on first or put the clothes over other clothes

Eating – need food cut up or to be fed or wont stay at the table. Need special food coked as they wont eat what the family eats and needs particular brands that are more expensive. 

Washing & Grooming- difficulties with washing body hair or with grooming such as cutting nails or cutting their hair. Sometimes parents have to pay a hairdresser to do this after hours or in the home.

Toileting – costs of pullups or nappies and rubber bed sheets and coversheets. Extra help needed going to the toilet and wiping/washing afterwards

Safety concerns – doors windows that have to be manned and locked. Climbing on furniture or around the home. Eating non food items. Getting hold of sharp objects

Self-injurious behavior or harm to others – supervision to ensure safety to themselves and others

Supervision inside and outside the home- flight risks / run off / danger of going with strangers / getting into trouble with other children when playing outside

School function – what they are like at school regarding any dangers and extra care they need in school with safety, supervision, toileting, eating or coats and clothes on or off with dressing. The school should provide you a support letter with their care needs to submit.

DCA Allowance for Special Needs Caroline Goldsmith


Decisions can take a long time once the from and supporting evidence are submitted. This can be  3- 6 months from the DCA office.


If your DCA application is refused you will receive a letter stating that they have considered your application and are not awarding the allowance. The letter will also state that they are not saying that your child doesn’t have extra needs, but they are just saying that on what you submitted that the deciding officer doesn’t consider your child meets the criteria for the allowance. However, they will state at the bottom of the letter, that you can appeal within 21 days.

There have been many articles in the press that show over 70% of applications get refused on the first go. With a disproportionate amount of appeals being allowed through the second go. If you are refused on the first appeal an oral hearing is the next step, where you present your case in person. Most parents who get awarded, do so through persistence and going through all the appeals.

You can read more to give you an idea of the DCA Application, DCA Appeal and refusal process in the articles below;

2019 – 81% of refused DCA granted on appeal


2020 – 70% of Carers Allowance Reversed

2023 – DCA REFUSED to 8-year-old Autistic Child

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