Assessment of Need

If a parent or guardian believes that their child may have a disability, they may apply to the Health Service Executive to carry out an assessment of their health needs arising from their disability. A young person aged 16 or 17 years can apply for their own Assessment of Need.

Any child or young adult born after June 1st, 2002 is eligible to apply for an assessment, regardless of age.

The Disability Act 2005 legally requires the Health Service Executive to carry out the assessment of need. There are strict time limits for completion of assessments.

Commencement of Assessment
Completion of Assessment
time limit 3 months
time limit 3 months
Total time limit for assessment 6 months
Service Statement time limit 1 month
Total time limit - assessment +service statement 7 months

1. Application

  • For any child after 1st June 2002, where disability is suspected.
  • By a parent, guardian, relative, advocate, legal representative of HSE employee. A young person aged 16 or 17 years can apply for their own Assessment of Need.
  • Requires the HSE to provide an independent assessment with written report by an Assesment Officer.

2. Assessment of need

Sets out what the child needs
The Disability Act says the assesment

  • Shall determine whether child has a disability
  • Shall determine the nature and extent of disability
  • Shall state the health and education needs.
  • Shall state the services the child needs
  • Shall state when and for how long the services should be provided.

Note: HSE policy currently says “the assessment of needs is a short screening assesment, that it is not a diognostic assessment”

3. Service Statement

Sets out intervention the child will receive

  • To be prepared by HSE Liason Officer for a child found to have a disability and need services.
  • Will be limited by cost and practicalities of providing services.
  • Shall state the health services which will actually be provided-legally binding.
  • Shall state the period of time for which these services will be provided-legally binding.
  • Will not mention any educational services.

Assessment of Need Complaints

A parent may complain to the HSE for one of the following reasons:

  • A determination that the child does not have a disability and you disagree
  • The timeframe for assessments is not adhered to.
  • If HIQA standards are not adhered to.
  • The content of the service statement or if any service in the service statement is not delivered.

If you are unhappy with the HSE Complaint Officer’s findings you may appeal to the Office of the Disability Appeal Officer. Their decision is final.