Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Tuesday, 29 June 1982

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 337 No. 1

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589.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the present position regarding an application for an old age pension by a person (details supplied) in Waterford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The claim of the person concerned has been investigated and the social welfare officer will be submitting a report on the claim to the local pension committee in the course of the next few days. If it is found that payment of pension can be recommended it will be put into payment on a provisional basis pending the committee's decision.

590.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay unemployment benefit to a person (details supplied) in Bandon, County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 8 February 1982. Inquiries were necessary to establish whether she was available for employment and these were recently completed. Her claim however was disallowed by a deciding officer on the grounds that she was not available for employment.

It is open to the person concerned to appeal against the decision of the deciding officer if she is dissatisfied with the decision in her case. A form on which to lodge her appeal may be obtained from her local office.

591.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that an insured person (details supplied) has [103] been refused unemployment benefit, by implication, under section 35 of the Social Welfare Act, 1981, by reason of alleged involvement in a trade dispute, that the precise reasons for the refusal have not been conveyed to him in a form which enables him to make an appeal, that he has been available for work at all times under his normal contract of service but that the employer will not allow him to resume work except under a contract for service, and that if the employee is compelled by economic necessity to accept employment under a contract of service, he will also be disqualified for unemployment benefit on the grounds that he is no longer an insured person; if he will take immediate steps to remove these injustices which are being inflicted on insured persons under the existing social welfare legislation and regulations, and, in this particular case, if he will have the operation of the Social Welfare Acts modified so that unemployment benefit is payable from the date of termination of employment; and if he will state the period in 1982 in respect of which unemployment benefit has not been paid.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 4 January 1982. Inquiries were necessary to establish his entitlement to the benefit. On completion of these inquiries payment of unemployment and pay-related benefit was authorised. All arrears due to him were paid on 19 March 1982. He claimed and was paid disability benefit from 6 February to 27 March 1982. He again claimed and was paid unemployment benefit from 29 March 1982 and weekly payments continue to be made to him as they fall due.

592.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will pay a deserted wife's allowance to a person (details supplied) in Rosscarbery, County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The claim to deserted wife's allowance/benefit of the person concerned [104] was refused on the ground that she has not made reasonable efforts within the means available to her to prevail on her husband to contribute to the support and maintenance of herself and her child. Claimant has indicated that she wishes to appeal against the decision. An appeal form has been issued to her and on receipt of the completed form her case will be referred without delay to an appeals officer for determination.

593.

Mr. De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reasons for discontinuing disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in Ballymun, Dublin; and the progress made on the appeal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was paid disability benefit from 25 June 1981 to 2 May 1982. Payment of benefit was disallowed after that date following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that she was capable of work. She has appealed against the decision to disallow payment and in connection with her appeal arrangements have been made to have her examined on 6 July 1982 by a different medical referee. On receipt of the report of the further medical referee examination, her entitlement to benefit will be reviewed.

594.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in paying pay-related benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. 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 may not exceed 85 per cent of a claimant's net average weekly earnings. However, in no circumstances will the flat-rate benefit be reduced because of the application of the 85 per cent limit.

Inquiries were necessary from the Department of Health and Social Security, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, to establish [105] the amount of the pay-related benefit to which the person concerned was entitled.

However, as the 85 per cent limit of £20.45 in her case was less than the weekly flat-rate benefits of £25.30 from 19 December 1981, £31.65 from 5 April 1982 and £26.25 from 23 June 1982 which she received, she does not qualify for pay-related benefit.

595.

Mr. Donnellan: Information on John F. Donnellan  Zoom on John F. Donnellan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason there has been such a delay in making a decision on the claim of a person (details supplied) in Athenry, County Galway, for unemployment assistance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned applied for a qualification certificate, which is a prerequisite for the receipt of unemployment assistance, on 13 May 1982. Replies to inquiries necessary to establish the means of the person concerned are at present awaited from a number of sources. When the replies are received a decision will be given on the application without delay.

596.

Mr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan will receive unemployment assistance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was granted a qualification certificate from 3 March 1982 with weekly means of £35. He qualified for unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £16.70 from 3 March 1982 increased to £28.75 from 31 March 1982. These are the maximum rates appropriate to a married man having three children with weekly means of £35 and living in a rural area. All arrears due to the person concerned will be paid this week. Further weekly payments will continue to be made as they fall due.

597.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Cavan will receive occupational injury benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed [106] injury benefit from 9 February to 21 February 1981 and again from 30 May 1981. He was paid disability benefit on an interim basis pending inquiries about the nature and origin of his injury. On completion of the inquiries, in February 1982, injury benefit was authorised and an adjustment cheque for the period 9 to 21 February 1982 was issued to the claimant. An adjustment on the second injury benefit claim from 30 May to 8 August 1981, the date on which entitlement to injury benefit ceased on the expiration of 26 weeks from the date of the accident, was withheld against an overpayment of pay-related benefit in respect of the period 13 June to 6 October 1981.

The claim was treated as one to disability benefit from 10 August 1981 and payments issue on receipt of medical certificates. However, there appears to be a delay by the claimant in submitting certificates. Arrangements have now been made to transfer the claimant to the system of payment whereby payments issue each week in advance of medical certification which is required at monthly intervals only. He has been paid on this basis to 3 July 1982.

598.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan is not receiving disability benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 30 November 1981 and has been paid from 3 December, fourth day of incapacity, to 3 July 1982. Payments have been made promptly on receipt of medical evidence of incapacity.

599.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan will receive disability benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 10 May 1982 but he was not entitled to payment as he had less than the required minimum of 26 paid or credited contributions in the governing [107] 1980-81 contribution year. According to the records of the Department he had only 18 contributions in that period.

Following inquiries it was ascertained that the claimant was self-employed from August 1979 to June 1981. Apart from 18 credited contributions in respect of the period April to August 1980 during which he was in receipt of disability benefit he had no further contributions in the 1980-81 contribution year, which runs from April 1980 to April 1981.

600.

Mr. J. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will explain the reasons a social assistance allowance book was withdrawn in a case (details supplied) in Clondalkin, County Dublin; when the book will be restored; if social assistance payments for the time the book was withdrawn will be paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned had been in receipt of social assistance allowance since October 1981. She applied for unemployment benefit in April 1982 and in reply to inquiries stated that she had been absent from the State from January 1982 to April 1982. As social assistance allowance is not payable while a person is residing outside the State, payment of the allowance to her was suspended with effect from 3 June 1982 until a local officer of the Department had interviewed her about her absence. It has now been accepted that she was not absent from the State and the allowance has been restored to her from the date it was suspended, 3 June 1982. The allowance book with orders payable from that date has been returned to her. There are no arrears involved.

601.

Mr. Bellew: Information on Thomas Bellew  Zoom on Thomas Bellew  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Dundalk, County Louth.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was in receipt of unemployment assistance from [108] 16 September 1981 to 15 December 1981 when a deciding officer disallowed his application on and from 16 December 1981 on the grounds that he was not available for employment and not unemployed within the meaning of the Social Welfare Acts. On completion of further inquiries his application was again disallowed by a deciding officer from 14 October 1981 to 15 December 1981 on the grounds that he was not unemployed.

Following a recent review of the application of the person concerned for unemployment assistance a deciding officer disallowed the application on and from 24 June 1982 on the grounds that he was not available for and genuinely seeking work. It is open to the person concerned to appeal against the decision of the deciding officer if he is dissatisfied with the decision in his case. A form on which to lodge his appeal may be obtained from his local office.

602.

Mr. Bellew: Information on Thomas Bellew  Zoom on Thomas Bellew  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the correct rate of pay-related benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Dundalk, County Louth.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. 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.

Inquiries were necessary to establish the average weekly earnings of the person concerned and these were only recently completed and the amount calculated at £52.48 weekly. The combined amount of flat rate benefit (£27.80) and pay-related benefit (£14.48) appropriate in this case is £42.28. This is the weekly amount payable since it is less than the 85 per cent limit of £44.61 (85 per cent of £52.48). All arrears due to the person concerned will be paid this week and further weekly payments will continue to be made as they fall due.

[109]603.

Mr. Gallagher: Information on Patrick Gallagher  Zoom on Patrick Gallagher  (Waterford) asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Waterford who was entitled to disability benefit from 7 to 16 January 1982, inclusive, has not received any payment for that period even though Deputy Paddy Gallagher received a letter from the Minister of State at the Department of Social Welfare stating that a cheque had issued to him on 1 February 1982.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 7 January to 16 January 1982, after which date he was certified fit to resume work. He was due a total payment of £66.20 on the claim and a cheque for that amount was in fact issued to him on 1 February 1982. The Deputy was notified to that effect on 22 May 1982. It was also intimated that if the claimant did not receive the cheque he should notify the Department, but no such notification was received.

The Deputy's present inquiry is being accepted as confirmation of the non-receipt of the cheque by the claimant. A form of indemnity in respect of the cheque was issued to the claimant on 23 June 1982 and on return of the completed form replacement action will be taken.

604.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in Enniscorthy, County Wexford, will receive a free telephone rental allowance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  An application form for free telephone rental which was issued to the person concerned on 4 June 1982 in response to the Deputy's representations has not yet been returned to my Department. The application will be dealt with urgently when the application form is received.

605.

Mr. O'Dea: Information on Willie O'Dea  Zoom on Willie O'Dea  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a contributory old age pension has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in Corbally, County Limerick, who applied in October 1981.

[110]Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  One of the conditions for the receipt of old age contributory pension requires a person to have a yearly average of not less than 20 insurance contributions in order to qualify. In the case of the person concerned the yearly average fell to be calculated over the 28 year period from 5 January 1953 to 5 April 1981, the end of the contribution year immediately preceding the contribution year in which he attained pension age. The Department's records show that he had only 276 qualifying contributions during that period. As this is equivalent to a yearly average of only nine he does not qualify for an old age contributory pension. He appealed against the decision refusing him a contributory old age pension but the appeals officer disallowed the appeal.

606.

Mr. O'Keeffe: Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying pay-related benefit to a person (details supplied) in Bandon, County Cork, who has been out of work since 18 February last; and if he will now arrange for immediate payment.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed and was allowed unemployment benefit at the weekly rate of £22.65 from 19 February 1982. Pay-related benefit at £6.71 a week was awarded to him on the basis of details of his earnings available to my Department in March 1982.

Following inquiries it was established that the person concerned had additional reckonable contributions and earnings in the governing contribution year. Consequently the weekly flat-rate benefit was increased to £24.40 and the weekly pay-related benefit to £14.21. All arrears due to the person concerned will be paid this week and further weekly payments of £44.21 (£30.50 flat-rate plus £14.21 pay-related benefit) will continue to be made as they fall due.

607.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance has [111] been reduced in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The reduction in the amount of unemployment assistance which the person concerned is receiving resulted from an increase in the weekly means, derived from self-employment, assessed against him by a deciding officer with effect from 31 March 1982. A notice of appeal against the decision of the deciding officer increasing the means was recently received in my Department. When the statement of appeal is received from the person concerned the case will be referred to an appeals officer for a decision on the appeal.

608.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in New Ross, County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned withdrew his claim to non-contributory old age pension in writing on 22 December 1981. If his circumstances are such that he now considers he is entitled to the pension he should reapply and the claim will be reinvestigated by a social welfare officer as quickly as possible.

609.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a children's allowance in respect of a child (details supplied) in New Ross, County Wexford, who was born on 1 March 1982 and for whom an application was made by the end of March 1982 will be paid.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed children's allowance on 7 May 1982. The claim was awarded with effect from 1 April 1982 and the appropriate allowance books were issued direct to her home address on 18 June 1982.

610.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if all disability benefit has been paid to a person (details supplied) in Castlebar, County Mayo.

[112]Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 13 April 1982 and has been paid to 28 June 1982. She is being paid at the maximum appropriate rate of benefit which includes an increase in respect of her two dependent children. She is not entitled to pay-related benefit.

611.

Mr. Meaney: Information on Thomas J. V. Meaney  Zoom on Thomas J. V. Meaney  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay arrears of old age pension to a person (details supplied) in Charleville, County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  It has been decided by an appeals officer that the person concerned is not entitled to any pension from 24 November 1981 to 1 April 1982 as his means exceeded the statutory limit but is entitled to £10.45 a week plus £5.30 adult dependant allowance from 2 April 1982. Pension order books at the appropriate rate have been issued and all payments due have been made.

612.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason the full amount of unemployment benefit is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned made a claim to unemployment benefit on 3 May 1982, which on the basis of his contribution record was authorised at the special rate of payment of £76.60 weekly in his case. Following inquiries made into the contribution record of the person concerned it was recently established that he qualified for the full rate of payment. All arrears due to him in respect of the underpayment will be paid this week. Further weekly payments of £88.90 will continue to be made as they fall due.

613.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision will be made on the qualification certificate appeal of a person (details supplied) in County Clare.

[113]Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned applied for a qualification certificate on 16 February 1982. His application, however, has been refused by a deciding officer on the grounds that the person concerned failed to fully disclose his means. The social welfare officer investigating the case has been unable to ascertain particulars of capital. It is open to the person concerned to appeal against the decision of the deciding officer if he is dissatisfied with the decision in his case and he is prepared to provide the information sought in connection with the investigation of his means. A form on which to lodge an appeal may be obtained from his local office.

614.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in Kilmallock, County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 1 February 1982. His claim however was disallowed by a deciding officer on the grounds that he did not satisfy the statutory contribution conditions for receipt of the benefit. The person concerned also applied for a qualification certificate and unemployment assistance. His application is at present being investigated and when the necessary inquiries are completed a decision on the application will be given without delay.

615.

Mr. Begley: Information on Michael Begley  Zoom on Michael Begley  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit was terminated in the case of a person (details supplied) in Kilgarvan, County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was last insurably employed in the United Kingdom. Under EEC regulations on social security the claim in question is, therefore, the responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Security, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. Arising from inquiries made, the Department [114] have been advised that the person in question was found to be capable of work following a specialist medical examination, which was carried out at the request of the United Kingdom authorities, and payment of sickness benefit was accordingly disallowed as from 4 June 1982. It is understood that the Department of Health and Social Security notified the person concerned of this decision and of the right to appeal.


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