Domiciliary Care Allowance and Autistic Children

What is Domiciliary Care Allowance?

Domiciliary Care Allowance is a monthly payment to fund support for children with significant complex needs, including some autistic children. This payment is not based on any one disability, but on the impact of the disability. It applies to children “with a severe disability requiring ongoing care and attention substantially over and above that usually needed by a child of the same age.” Please note that terms such as ‘severe’ or ‘mild’ are not the most accurate in the case of autism. It would be more accurate to say Domiciliary Care Allowance applies to autistic children with higher support needs but not necessarily all autistic children. See our explainer here:

Applying for Domiciliary Care Allowance

This payment comes from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and is NOT means-tested. This means that your child’s care needs are the only deciding factor for receiving payment, and DCA can be claimed alongside other payments such as Child Benefit. Children receiving DCA are automatically qualified for a Medical Card. The application form for DCA is long and complicated. We recommend you complete it gradually over several days. See our explainer on how to apply for DCA below:


If your application for Domiciliary Care Allowance is refused, this is not necessarily final.You have the right to have your application reviewed and to appeal the decision: Over 70% of refusals for DCA were reversed in 2020 through this method. The most common reason for refusal is a lack of supporting information, so carefully review documents relating to your child’s care.Make sure you make your appeal within 21 days of hearing the decision. See our explainer on how to make your appeal below. 

This support is for children under the age of 16. Once your child reaches this age, payment will cease but they will be eligible to apply for Disability Allowance

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