Mother of son with ADHD challenges decision to deny her carer's allowance

The mother of a teenage boy with several medical disorders including ADHD has brought a legal challenge aimed at overturning the Minister for Social Protection's decision that she is not entitled to carer's allowance.

The mother of a teenage boy with several medical disorders including ADHD has brought a legal challenge aimed at overturning the Minister for Social Protection's decision that she is not entitled to carer's allowance.

Today the High Court heard that Fiona Mitchell is the primary carer of her son Jason who is 16 years of age and suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Ms Mitchell had been in receipt of of the Domiciliary Care allowance, which is made payable to parent of children who have severe disabilities and require continuous care.

That payment stopped when her son turned 16. She applied for and was assessed for the carers allowance.

A medical report outlining her son's condition was also furnished.

Last January the Department for Social Protection's Carer Allowance Section determined that she was not entitled to the allowance on the basis that her son was no so disabled or invalidated that he required full time care.

Ms Mitchell with an address at Moatview Avenue, Coolock, Dublin 17 sought a review of that determination, but was informed last March by the Department that the original decision stood.

In an affidavit the court heard that the withdrawal of the allowance has place a significant burden on the family, and yet she cannot seek employment to better their position as her son requires full time care.

Yesterday Derek Shortall Bl for Ms Mitchell said it was his client's case that she is "clearly entitled" to the carer's allowance and that the Minister's refusal goes against all the medical evidence tendered on her behalf.

Counsel said a doctor had described the teenager's condition as being severe and of indefinite duration and that the teen could not function without his mother's continued care.

Counsel added that it was thought that the application was refused because the teen's illnesses are mental rather than physical in nature.

Leave to bring the challenge was granted on an ex-parte (one side only) basis by Mr Justice Michael Peart today. The matter was made returnable to a date in June.

In her action Ms Mitchell is seeking several orders and declarations from the court including an order quashing the Minister decisions of January 16 and March 26 last to refuse to grant her the carers allowance.

She is also seeking a declaration that the Minister failed to provide adequate reasons for the refusals, which is in breach of natural and constitutional justice.

Ms Mitchell is further seeking a declaration that the Minister erred in law by refusing her the allowance, and that the refusal is unreasonable, irrational and contrary to all the evidence before the Minister.

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