Tuesday, 22 June 1982
Dáil Eireann Debate
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The investigation of the old age pension claim of the person concerned has not yet been completed. The social welfare officer is awaiting copies of deeds of transfer of the claimant's property. The officer will not be in a position to make a recommendation on the claim until these are supplied. If pension is recommended it will be put into payment on a provisional basis pending the decision of the local pension committee.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 6 May 1982.  However his claim was refused by a deciding officer on the grounds that he did not satisfy the contribution condition which requires that he must have at least 26 contributions paid or credited in the relevant governing contribution year April 1980 to April 1981. His claim to unemployment assistance has been authorised at the maximum rate and all arrears due to him will be paid this week. Further payments will continue as they fall due.
I am at present considering the whole question of financing the supplementary welfare allowances scheme and as soon as conclusions have been reached I will be submitting proposals to the Government. Any legislation that is necessary to implement whatever proposals are approved will then be brought forward.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Entitlement to pay-related benefit as a supplement to unemployment benefit is subject to the statutory limitation that the weekly amount of flat rate unemployment benefit and pay-related benefit with any income tax refunds paid may not exceed 85 per cent of a claimant's net average weekly earnings.
The person concerned is accordingly entitled to pay-related benefit at £9.80 weekly from 14 January 1982 but when his flat rate unemployment benefit was increase to £68.05 from 5 April 1982 the weekly amount of pay-related benefit had to be reduced to £8.30, making a total of £76.35.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The person concerned applied for unemployment assistance on 5 May 1982 and his claim has been referred to a social welfare officer of my Department for investigation of his means.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The person concerned attained age 65 years on 11 April 1982 and claimed retirement pension from my Department. One of the conditions for the receipt of retirement pension requires him to have a yearly average of at least 24 contributions over the period from 5 January 1953 to 5 April 1982. During this period he had a total of 305 paid and credited contributions. As this is equivalent to a yearly average of ten contributions only he does not qualify for the pension.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The flat rate of unemployment benefit payable to the person concerned was reduced to £26.25 after 156 days of unemployment benefit which he exhausted on 3 April 1982 and he did not fulfil the statutory contribution condition of having 280 paid contributions in the seven years prior to his claim.
The entitlement of the person concerned to pay-related benefit as a supplement to unemployment benefit has not yet been determined. As my Department has no record of his earnings during the relevant income tax period April 1979 to April 1980 he has been asked to furnish evidence of his earnings, such as a form P60 or a statement from his employer but to date he has not done so.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The person concerned exhausted her title to unemployment benefit on 20 March 1982 when she completed 312 days of benefit. She will not requalify for unemployment benefit until after she resumes insurable employment and obtains at least 13 contributions.
However, the person concerned only recently furnished details of her earnings during the relevant income tax year and an order paying all arrears of pay-related benefit due issued to her for encashment at her local post office on 14 May 1982.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The person concerned has not claimed unemployment benefit from my Department. He has however claimed disability benefit from 13 November 1981. He was paid initially at the maximum rate appropriate to a single man  from 17 November 1981, the fourth day of incapacity. On receipt of his claim form on which he gave details of his dependants benefit was authorised at the maximum rate appropriate to a married man with three dependant children. Payment due up to 26 June 1982 has been made.
The claimant's pay-related benefit entitlement is based on earnings in the income-tax year 1979-80. Details of these earnings were not available in my Department and the claimant was requested to furnish a certificate from his employer giving his earnings in that year. This information was received on 21 June 1982 and the claimant was qualified for pay-related benefit at the weekly rate of £11.23 from 27 November 1981, thirteenth day of incapacity. He is not entitled to pay-related benefit from 5 April 1982 as he is precluded by Regulations from receiving more by way of disability benefit and pay-related benefit than the amount of his average weekly earnings in the relevant income-tax year 1979-80. The weekly rate of disability benefit payable in his case from 5 April 1982 is £75.00 as compared with his average weekly earnings of £71.88 in 1979-80.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 18 April 1980. He was not, however, entitled to payment as, according to the records of my Department, he had less than the required minimum of 26 contributions, paid or credited, in 1978, the contribution year governing his claim. He was advised of the position on 24 June 1980.
According to inquiries made in this case the claimant was self-employed from 1976 to 1980 and had no contributions paid or credited in those years. In order to qualify for payment of benefit he would require to take up insurable  employment and obtain at least 26 paid contributions. He would also require a minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in the contribution year governing any benefit claim.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The allowance book was returned to the Department on 19 March 1982 following the death of the former claimant in February. An application was not received from the present claimant until 31 March 1982, when he assumed responsibility for the children and an allowance book payable from April 1982 was sent to him on the 8 April 1982. A payable order for March 1982 issued to him on the 11 May 1982. He has now confirmed receipt of the allowance book but has stated that he did not receive the payable order. The non-receipt of the order is under investigation.
Mr. R. Bruton: asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason his Department have discontinued the payment of a reduced rate of disability benefit to a widow (details supplied) in Donnycarney, Dublin 5; and if he will restore it immediately.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The person concerned was in receipt of disability benefit from 2 February 1978 to 1 May 1982 under her old insurance number. At that stage inquiries were being made as to her RSI number. On completion of these inquiries payment was resumed and all disability benefit due to 26 June 1982 has now been paid.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr.  Woods): The person concerned exhausted his title to unemployment benefit on 15 February 1982 and claimed unemployment assistance from 23 February 1982. He was paid unemployment assistance at an incorrect rate from 23 February 1982, as his claim was confused with another person of similar name residing in the same district. Payment was held from 5 May 1982 pending inquiries to clarify the matter, but the investigations were recently finalised and payment of unemployment assistance was resumed.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The same qualifying conditions for entitlement to free travel apply to widows as to the majority of other pensioners. They qualify for free travel when they reach the pension age of 66. It is not proposed to alter the arrangements.
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