The extra cost to families for a child with autism runs to more than €28,000 annually due to the expense of private therapy, lost income and informal care, according to a new study as published by the Irish times.

The research by NUI Galway in 2019 indicates that families whose children were more severely affected and those with more than one child affected faced significantly higher costs.

It is already challenging enough for families meeting the complex needs of a child with autism spectrum disorder, so the added burden of the financial costs can be tough.

Since our son was diagnosed with Autism we became aware of the entitlements that families could claim in Ireland in 2019. We have listed the main one’s below to help others understand what they are and how to claim them. These entitlements can help families ease some of the financial burden.

Incapacitated Child Tax Credit

  • The Incapacitated child Tax credit may be granted to parents by the Revenue if your child has a diagnosis of Autism and you or your spouse pay tax. The Annual Tax credit for 2019 is currently €3,300. This Tax credit can be back dated for 4 years or to date of birth of the child, whichever is less. Depending on how much tax you have paid his could end up being a significant amount of money that you can claim.
  • You can claim the credit by completing Form ICC1in respect of the qualifying child. You will also need to get a certified Form ICC2 from the child’s Medical Practitioner. Completed forms can be sent to your Revenue Office. Alternatively you can apply through the revenue site online. If you are applying online the certified Medical form is still required to be submitted.
  • More Information can be found on the Revenue website link https://www.revenue.ie

Tax relief

  • Tax relief on the cost of health expenses can be claimed. These can be personal health expenses, those of a family member or any individual’s that are being paid for by the person making the claim. For more information, and how to apply, see here.

Tax relief on additional health care expenses

  • Tax relief on additional health care expenses for a child can also be claimed, for example, tax relief on the cost of an assessment carried out by an educational psychologist for a qualifying child, and for speech and language therapy for a qualifying child (A qualified speech and language therapist must carry out the therapy). For further information, please see the relevant section of the Revenue website here.

VAT refunds  

  • VAT refunds can be claimed on aids and appliances for people with disabilities. To see what qualifies, please consult Revenue’s websitehere.

Domiciliary Care Allowance

  • Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is a monthly payment for a child aged under 16 with a severe disability, who requires ongoing care and attention, substantially over and above the care and attention usually required by a child of the same age. It is not means tested. The allowance is currently €309.5 per month.
  • More Information can be found on the Social Welfare website http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/1078_Domiciliary-Care-Allowance.aspx

Medical Card

Carer’s Benefit

  • Carer’s Benefit is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention. You can still work for maximum of 15 hours per week and still get this payment if you meet the net pay criteria.
  • You can get Carer’s Benefit for a total period of 104 weeks for each person being cared for. This is not means tested but based on PRSI contributions and important criteria to note is you must have been employed for at least 8 weeks, whether consecutive or not, in the previous 26 week period. You must have been in employment for a minimum of 16 hours per week or 32 hours per fortnight.
  • More information can be found on the Social Welfare website. http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/carb.aspx

Carer’s Allowance

  • Carer’s Allowance is a payment to people on low incomes who are looking after a person who needs support because of age, disability or illness (including mental illness). This is means tested.
  • If you qualify for Carer’s Allowance you may also qualify for free household benefits (if you are living with the person you are caring for) and a Free Travel Pass. Carer’s Allowance is not taken into account in the assessment for a medical card.
  • More information can be found on the Social Welfare website.


Carer’s GP Visit Card

  • If you get Carer’s Benefit or Carer’s Allowance, at full or half rate, you can visit your GP for free.
  • More information can be found on the HSE website.


Carer’s Support Grant

  • In June of each year (usually on the first Thursday of the month), the DEASP pays the grant automatically to carers getting Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit, or Domiciliary Care Allowance from the Department. Only one Carer’s Support Grant can be paid for each person getting care. The grant is currently €1,700 annually.
  • If you are getting Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance, you do not need to apply for the Carer’s Support Grant. It will be automatically paid to you in June. This grant is not taxable.
  • More information can be found on the Social Welfare website.


Home Tutor.

  • The purpose of this Home Tuition Scheme is to provide a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable to attend school. The scheme also provides a compensatory educational service for children with special educational needs seeking an educational placement. Provision is also made for early educational intervention for children with autism.
  • Currently for a child with a diagnosis of Autism from 2 and 6 months is entitled to a home tutor up to 10 hours. From 3 years of age they are entitled to up to 20 hours per week for the period  where there is no school place available. The tutor must be a registered Teacher with the Teachers council of Ireland.
  • Firstly parents need to get a form filled out in from their local Special Educational Needs Officer stating where there will be a school place available and when. Where there is no school available a home tutor can be obtained instead. Parents must find the tutor themselves and apply to the Department of education for approval of the tutor’s hours before the Tutor starts. The Department of Education pays the Tutor directly.
  • More information can be found on the Department of Education’s website and the National Council of Special Education.



Supply of Nappies

  • This scheme provides nappies free of charge to children of 3 years and upward with disabilities that use nappies.
  • More information can be found by contacting your local Public Health Nurse.

Warmer Homes Scheme

  • Carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance or the Domiciliary Care Allowance and living with the cared for person are eligible for the Better Energy Warmer Homes Scheme.
  • The scheme offers free energy efficiency upgrades to eligible homeowners helping to make your home warmer, healthier, and cheaper to run.
  • For more information and details of how to apply, visit the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland website. https://www.seai.ie/grants/home-energy-grants/free-upgrades-for-eligible-homes