Tuesday 21 November 2017

Mother challenges State refusal of allowance for autistic boy

Tim Healy

MOTHER of a child with autism is challenging the Minister for Social Protection’s refusal to pay her a care allowance for her young son.

Avril Malone is challenging the Minister's refusal to pay her the domiciliary  care allowance for Evan, who needs full time care.

The payment is made under the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 in respect of children who need continual care in excess of the care and attention normally required of a child of the same age. The Minister in her refusal said Evan does not qualify for the payment.

Mrs Malone, from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow, claims that no proper or adequate reasons were given by the Minister for the refusal.

In a hearing before Mr Justice Michael Hanna, Mrs Malone has asked the court to make an order quashing the Minister’s refusal, made in May and October 2012, to pay her the allowance.

She is also seeking declarations that the Minister and the Medical Assessor erred in law by failing to give adequate reasons for the refusal.

The Minister denies acting unreasonably in refusing the allowance and says reasons have been given.

Mrs Malone also claims the Minister has acted in breach of natural and fair procedures. She wants the application remitted back to the Minister for a decision that complies with all the statutory and procedural requirements.

The Court heard the Minister, in refusing the application deemed Evan was not a qualified child. Mrs Malone claims that finding conflicts with a report submitted on behalf of her own GP on Evan's condition stated the boy needs to be looked after on a full time basis and qualifies for the payment.

In light of this conflict, a medical assessment of her sons should have been conducted by the Minister, she says.

Mr Justice Hanna said he hoped to give judgment before the end of July.


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