Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Tuesday, 6 July 1982

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 337 No. 5

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678.

Mr. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. Farrelly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit was discontinued from September 1981 to a person (details supplied) in Kells, County Meath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was paid [1142] disability benefit from 18 December 1980 to 2 January 1982. He was not entitled to payment from 4 January 1982 as, according to the records of the Department, he had not the required minimum of 26 paid or credited contributions in the contribution year 1980-81 which governed his claim from that date.

As the Deputy has intimated that payment was discontinued from September 1981, inquiries made have revealed that cheques which issued to the claimant from September 1981 to 2 January 1982 were cashed in his name. It is proposed therefore that an inspector will call on the claimant at an early date to afford him an opportunity of inspecting the cashed cheques. The matter will be reviewed on receipt of the inspector's report.

The claimant again claimed disability benefit from 30 March to 26 June 1982, after which date he was certified fit to resume work. As this claim was also governed by the contribution record in 1980-81 he was not entitled to payment. In this connection he was requested on 15 December 1981 and on 2 April 1982 to furnish particulars of his employment record in the contribution year 1980-81 (April 1980 to April 1981). He did not reply to either of those requests.

679.

Mr. Higgins: Information on Michael D. Higgins  Zoom on Michael D. Higgins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will investigate the social welfare problem of a person (details supplied) in County Galway who was mistakenly overpaid.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was in receipt of unemployment benefit at intervals from 29 September 1980 to 1 July 1981. She then claimed maternity benefit in respect of her confinement on 14 July 1981 and was paid maternity allowance from 8 June 1981, resulting in an overpayment of unemployment benefit from 8 June to 1 July 1981. It was subsequently established that her expected date of confinement was in fact 12 August 1981 and that a 12 weeks period only of maternity benefit was paid having regard to that [1143] date. In the circumstances there was no overpayment of benefit in this case.

680.

Mr. De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the benefits available to a single parent with one child, unemployed, living with her widowed father who is in receipt of an old age pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  If the single parent described in the Deputy's question is an unmarried mother she may, subject to satisfaction of the means test, qualify for a social assistance allowance. She would also be entitled to children's allowance in respect of her child.

Provided she is available for work she may qualify for receipt of unemployment benefit or assistance. Unemployment benefit is payable to persons who satisfy the required contribution conditions and entitlement to unemployment assistance is based on means. A person who is receiving a social assistance allowance as an unmarried mother may also be entitled to unemployment benefit at a reduced rate.

No assistance would be payable to her in respect of her father, but, if he is incapacitated and receiving full-time care and attention from her, it is possible that he might qualify for payment of a prescribed relative's allowance in addition to his pension.

681.

Mr. Keegan: Information on Seán Keegan  Zoom on Seán Keegan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the application for a non-contributory old age pension will be processed for a person (details supplied) in Mullingar, County Westmeath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned applied for a non-contributory old age pension in March 1979. On 22 September 1979 the local pension committee decided that he was not entitled to any pension as his means exceeded the statutory limit. His means, consisting of capital and the weekly value of a holding were assessed at £42.17 per week. Notification of the pension committee's decision was sent to the claimant on 22 September 1979. He [1144] did not appeal against the decision and there is no trace of a repeat claim for old age pension having been received from him since. If his circumstances are such that he now considers he is entitled to the pension he should re-apply and the claim will be forwarded to a social welfare officer for investigation.

682.

Mr. Keegan: Information on Seán Keegan  Zoom on Seán Keegan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the application for an old age pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in Mullingar, County Westmeath will be processed.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned has been awarded widow's non-contributory pension, at the maximum rate appropriate to a widow with no qualified children, with effect from 6 November 1981. A pension book with orders payable from 2 July 1982 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by her and she has been notified accordingly. The arrears of pension for the period from 6 November 1981 to 1 July 1982 have been paid direct to her by payable order following adjustment for unemployment benefit payments which claimant received from the Department during that period.

Her title to a widow's contributory pension is under investigation at present and if she qualifies for that pension at a higher rate than the non-contributory pension she is receiving, contributory pension will be awarded and the non-contributory pension will be discontinued. No claim for non-contributory old age pension has been received from the widow who will not reach current pension age of 66 years until June 1988.

683.

Mr. Keegan: Information on Seán Keegan  Zoom on Seán Keegan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the application for maternity benefit by a person (details supplied) in Mullingar, County Westmeath will be processed.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed maternity grants on her husband's insurance in respect of confinements in 1981 and 1982 and cheques for £8 were issued [1145] in respect of each claim at the time of claiming. However, as the cheques were issued to an incorrect address, replacement cheques have now been issued. It appears that the address on the claim forms was misread on both occasions.

684.

Mr. Bellew: Information on Thomas Bellew  Zoom on Thomas Bellew  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability 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  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 28 January 1982 and was paid at the maximum appropriate rate from 2 February 1982, fourth day of incapacity, to 5 July 1982, date of the latest medical evidence received. As the claimant was in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance during the period 8 to 14 June 1982 the disability benefit due was withheld and refunded to the North-Eastern Health Board to offset supplementary welfare allowance paid during that period.

685.

Mr. Bellew: Information on Thomas Bellew  Zoom on Thomas Bellew  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Newry, County Down.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was in receipt of maternity allowance from 19 February to 27 May 1982. She subsequently claimed disability benefit from 31 May 1982 but has submitted only one medical certificate indicating the commencement of incapacity. Until further evidence indicating the duration of the incapacity is submitted payment cannot be made on the claim. The person concerned has been asked to submit this information.

686.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 15 March 1982. He [1146] was not entitled to payment as according to the records of the Department he had not the required minimum of 26 paid or credited contributions in the contribution year 1980-81 which governed his claim. As he had only 20 contributions in that year he was requested to furnish details of any additional contributions which might serve to qualify him for payment. In reply he furnished a Form P. 60 which showed that he had a total of 41 contributions in 1980-81. These contributions entitle him to payment and, accordingly, the arrears of benefit due from 18 March 1982, fourth day of incapacity, to 20 March 1982, after which date the claimant was certified fit to resume work, were issued on 5 July 1982. He is not entitled to pay-related benefit.

687.

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 County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Inquiries were necessary to establish the contribution record of the person concerned before his entitlement to unemployment benefit could be determined. The investigations in the case were recently completed and his claim from 8 April 1982 to 17 April 1982 has been allowed at the weekly rate of £81.95. Arrangements have been made to pay all arrears of unemployment benefit due this week.

688.

Miss M. Barry: Information on Myra Barry  Zoom on Myra Barry  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in Glanworth, County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 20 May 1982 and has been paid from 24 May 1982. All disability benefit and pay-related benefit due to 3 July 1982, has now been paid. In the absence of details of dependants payment has been made at the maximum personal rate. Payment in respect of depandants will be made as soon as details are given by the claimant. The [1147] delay in payment was due to an administrative error.

689.

Miss M. Barry: Information on Myra Barry  Zoom on Myra Barry  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was paid disability benefit at the maximum appropriate rate from 16 February 1982 to 12 May 1982, after which date she was certified as capable of work. She subsequently claimed disability benefit from 13 May 1982 but, in view of the fact that she had been certified as fit for work on the preceding day, inquiries were made to establish whether she was in fact incapable of work. On completion of these inquiries all payment of disability benefit due to 17 June 1982 was issued.

690.

Miss M. Barry: Information on Myra Barry  Zoom on Myra Barry  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying deserted wife's benefit to a person (details supplied) in Cobh, County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed deserted wife's allowance on 26 February 1982, but did not send in the necessary birth and marriage certificates with her claim. In reply to an inquiry she stated that it was necessary to write to England for these certificates. When these documents, together with the papers relating to her divorce, are received a decision on her claim will be given without delay.

691.

Miss M. Barry: Information on Myra Barry  Zoom on Myra Barry  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying deserted wife's benefit to a person (details supplied) in Cobh, County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned has been awarded deserted wife's allowance with effect from 28 January 1982. An allowance book with orders payable from 8 July 1982 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by her and she has been notified accordingly. The [1148] arrears due to the claimant for the period from 28 January to 7 July will be paid shortly following adjustment for the amount of supplementary welfare allowance which she received from the Southern Health Board during that period.

The delay in payment of the allowance was due to the need to make inquiries regarding the claimant's divorce proceedings in England before a decision could be made on her application.

692.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when pay-related benefit will be 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 qualified for pay-related benefit from 27 March 1982 at the weekly rate of £15.59 and £10.98 from 5 April 1982. Arrears of the pay-related benefit amounting to £153.16 due to him were with held against an overpayment of £513.57 in respect of unemployment benefit previously received by him to which he was not entitled. A deduction of £3 a week towards repayment of the £314.96 still outstanding is being made from his present weekly entitlement of £91.78 made up of £80.80 flat-rate and £10.98 pay-related benefit.

693.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Moyross, County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 21 May 1982 and has been paid from 25 May, fourth day of incapacity. All benefit due from that date to 5 July 1982 has issued to her.

694.

Mr. B. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed [1149] disability benefit from 21 January to 6 February 1982, after which date he was certified fit to resume work. He was not qualified for payment, however, as according to the records of the Department he had not the required minimum of 26 paid or credited contributions in the contribution year 1980-81 which governed his claim. As a result of representations by the Deputy, inquiries were made regarding his employment record in the 1980-81 year and it was established that the claimant had, in fact, sufficient weeks of insurable employment to qualify him for payment. All disability benefit and pay-related benefit due on the claim have now been paid.

695.

Mr. B. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a children's allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Children's allowance was awarded in respect of the claimant's additional child born 4 December 1981 with effect from 1 January 1982. A supplementary allowance book in respect of the child issued to her on the 27 May 1982 payable from March 1982. A payable order covering arrears for January and February 1982 issued on 28 June 1982. The claimant has now confirmed receipt of the supplementary allowance book in respect of the additional child, but has stated she did not receive the payable order and the renewal book payable from July 1982 in respect of her other child. A replacement renewal book has issued to her. The non-receipt of the payable order is being investigated.

696.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a separate pension book will be issued to the spouse of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo who because of domestic distress does not receive her due allowance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  In July 1981 a solicitor acting for the person concerned sought to have the adult dependant's allowance payable in [1150] respect of her as part of her husband's old age contributory pension paid direct to her. She was informed that it would be necessary to have her husband contacted by a social welfare officer and his agreement obtained to any such apportionment of the pension. In the absence of any intimation from her that she wished to have her husband's agreement obtained no further action was taken at the time.

The Deputy's inquiry has been accepted as a renewal of her application for apportionment of the pension and the local social welfare officer has been requested to investigate the family circumstances in this case as a matter of urgency. On receipt of his report a decision will be given on the application and she will be notified of the outcome.

697.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when arrears of an old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow as he attained 80 years of age two years ago.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned reached 80 years of age on 15 May 1981. Due to an oversight the “over 80” allowance was not awarded at that time. The omission was however, discovered in May last and a supplementary pension order book payable from 2 April 1982 at the rate of £2.50 was issued to him on 3 June 1982. A payable order covering arrears due from 15 May 1981 was issued on 25 June 1982.

698.

Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state in respect of the contribution record required during the period from 1953 to be eligible for a contributory old age pension: (1) whether contributors who recommenced the stamping of cards in 1973-74 were informed by the authorities that on reaching 66 many of them would not have qualified for the old age pension; (2) how the average yearly requirement of 20 stamps is arrived at; (3) and if he will consider refunding the pension element of the contribution, 1½ per cent, to those who despite making contributions [1151] are not now eligible for a contributory pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  On the introduction of the old age contributory pension scheme in 1961 there was widespread publicity as to the qualifying contribution conditions for the receipt of such pension. These conditions are included in a booklet and in a separate leaflet on old age contributory pensions, both of which are available free of charge at all offices of the Department throughout the country.

When the salary ceiling for non-manual workers was removed in April 1974 many such workers who had previously been insured under the Social Welfare Acts re-entered insurance. During the years when they were not compulsorily insured, it was open to them to keep their insurance effective by becoming voluntary contributors. Such contributions are reckonable for old age contributory pension purposes and many insured persons have in fact qualified for the pension on the basis of these contributions. It was a matter for the persons concerned whether or not they opted to become voluntary contributors.

The requirement of an average of 20 contributions paid or credited between 1953 or the date of entry into insurance, if later, and the date of attainment of pension age was considered to be a reasonable minimum level of contribution for entitlement to pension. As normally the minimum period of insurance required for old age pension purposes is ten years, an average of 20 contributions paid or credited over that period would give a total of 200 contributions. A person could therefore qualify for pension on this with a relatively low record of contributions. Under the regulations persons who could not qualify for an old age contributory pension by reason of late entry into insurance are entitled to a refund of the pension element of the contribution.

699.

Mr. Gregory-Independent: Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the position of a person (details supplied) in [1152] Dublin 3 who applied for social insurance benefit on 5 May 1982.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was in receipt of disability benefit from 28 May 1973 to 1 May 1982 after which date payment was discontinued following examination by a medical referee of the Department who expressed the opinion that she was not incapable of work.

The claimant was informed of the disallowance of her claim to benefit and of her right to appeal if dissatisfied with the decision but so far she has not indicated whether she wishes to appeal. Furthermore she has not submitted any medical evidence of incapacity since April 1982.

700.

Mr. Bellew: Information on Thomas Bellew  Zoom on Thomas Bellew  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when officers of his Department will investigate the non-stamping of PRSI contributions and the failure to furnish a P60 form by a restaurant in Dundalk, County Louth, which has prevented a person (details supplied) in Dundalk from obtaining unemployment benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 20 April 1982. Following investigations by an outdoor officer of my Department, it has been established that she is qualified for unemployment benefit at the weekly rate of £27.80 which is the maximum rate for a persons under 18 years of age. All arrears due to her will be paid this week and further weekly payments will continue to be made as they fall due. Her title to pay-related benefit is being investigated urgently.

701.

Mr. Conlan: Information on John F. Conlan  Zoom on John F. Conlan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in Castleblayney, County Monaghan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  On 18 June 1982 the person concerned submitted a completed claim form for disability benefit from 26 April 1982 but no evidence of incapacity was [1153] received from him. He was requested on 25 June 1982 to submit medical evidence of incapacity but so far he has not done so.

The claimant's employer has confirmed that he has been absent from work since 26 April 1982 to date due to illness. Disability benefit has, accordingly, been authorised from 29 April 1982, fourth day of incapacity, and pay-related benefit from 10 May 1982, 13th day of incapacity. All arrears of benefit due to 3 July 1982 were issued on that date.

702.

Mr. Conlan: Information on John F. Conlan  Zoom on John F. Conlan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit has been discontinued since 11 May 1982 to a person (details supplied) in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 15 May 1981 and was paid from 18 May 1981, fourth day of incapacity, to 17 May 1982. As at that stage he had been in receipt of disability benefit for the period of 52 weeks it was necessary to review his claim to decide if he was entitled to further payment.

The claim from 18 May 1982 is governed by his contributions paid and credited in the 1980-81 contribution year. According to the records of the Department, he had less than the required minimum of 26 contributions in that year and in the circumstances he is not entitled to payment of benefit from that date. He was advised of the position on 19 May 1982.

703.

Mr. Keating: Information on Michael Keating  Zoom on Michael Keating  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware of a complaint by a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3 that she has been left short in relation to certain payments due to her from his Department; and if he will investigate the complaint as a matter of urgency.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 21 January 1982. As, at the date of her claim, she had less than the required minimum of 26 contributions [1154] paid or credited in the 1980-81 government contribution year she was not entitled to payment of benefit. Subsequent inquiries established that she had sufficient additional employment in that year to qualify her for payment. A cheque for the amount of benefit due to 15 April 1982, date of latest medical certificate received, was issued on 5 July 1982.

704.

Dr. Loughnane: Information on William Loughnane  Zoom on William Loughnane  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite the payment of children's allowance to a person (details supplied) in Feakle, County Clare.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Allowance books totalling £17.50 per month payable from May 1982 have been issued to the claimant's home address. A payable order in respect of arrears due from February to April 1982 is in the course of issue.

705.

Dr. Loughnane: Information on William Loughnane  Zoom on William Loughnane  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite the payment of disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in Killaloe, County Clare.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 4 May 1982 to 28 June 1982, date of the latest medical evidence received. He was not, however, qualified for payment as, according to the records of the Department, he had less than the required minimum of 26 contributions, paid or credited in 1980-81, the contribution year governing his claim. He was advised of the position on 16 June 1982.

706.

Dr. Loughnane: Information on William Loughnane  Zoom on William Loughnane  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision will be made in relation to the payment of a pension to a person (details supplied) in Ennistymon, County Clare.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned is in receipt of a pro rata retirement pension at £13.16 a week plus £8.79 adult dependant allowance. His claim to non-contributory [1155] old age pension has been investigated and forwarded to the pension committee for decision with a recommendation that pension at the rate of £18.45 a week plus £9.30 adult dependant allowance is payable. Accordingly, the non-contributory old age pension being the more favourable is being put into payment and the pro rata retirement pension will terminate.

A non-contributory old age pension order book and a payable order in respect of the difference between the pro rata retirement and non-contributory old age pension rates from 2 April 1982 will be issued within the next week on a provisional basis pending the committee's decision.

707.

Mr. Ellis: Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if his Department will grant a free electricity allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim who is in receipt of disability benefit and who lives with his wife.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  An application for free electricity allowance from the person concerned was disallowed in April 1982, as his son who was not a person who came within the excepted categories for satisfying the living alone condition of the scheme was also residing with him. If the pensioner considers that he now satisfies all the qualifying conditions of the scheme, he should reapply for the allowance through his local ESB office. On receipt of the completed application form the question of his entitlement will be considered and he will be notified of the outcome.

708.

Mr. Ellis: Information on John Ellis  Zoom on John Ellis  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 24 June 1981 to 20 February 1982, after which date she was certified fit to resume work. As, according to the records of the Department, she has less than the required minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in the [1156] 1979-80 and 1980-81 contribution years which govern her claim she was not entitled to payment of benefit. The claimant was informed accordingly on 25 September last.

709.

Mr. Naughten: Information on Liam Anthony Naughten  Zoom on Liam Anthony Naughten  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason an old age pension was reduced in the case of a person (details supplied) in Loughglynn, County Roscommon.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  On re-investigation it has been established that the means of the person concerned have increased since old age pension was originally awarded to him. As a result, a question for reduction of his pension has been raised and forwarded to the local pension committee for decision. If he is not satisfied with the decision of the committee he may appeal against it. Pension at the rate of £18.45 a week plus £9.30 adult dependant allowance is in payment pending the committee's decision.

710.

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 have an application for unemployment benefit reinvestigated for a person (details supplied) in Newmarket, County Cork, as it seems that an error has been made.

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 pre-requisite for unemployment assistance, in August 1981. His application was refused on the grounds that his means derived from his farm exceeded the statutory limit. He appealed against the decision and an appeals officer confirmed the deciding officers decision. He again made an application for a qualification certificate in May 1982 and further inquiries are being made with regard to his means. When these inquiries have been completed a decision will be given on his application without delay.

711.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if the full rate of disability and pay-related benefits have been [1157] paid to a person (details supplied) in Castlecomer, County Kilkenny, who has been out of work for the past seven weeks.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed injury benefit from 10 May 1982. Pending inquiries as to the nature and origin of the incapacity disability benefit was authorised on an interim basis from 13 May 1982, fourth day of incapacity. Pay-related benefit was authorised from 24 May 1982, thirteenth day of incapacity.

Payment was made initially at the appropriate maximum rate for a single person pending the receipt of details of the claimant's dependants. On receipt of a completed claim form, indicating that he is a married man with eight qualified children, the arrears in respect of his dependants were issued on 23 June 1982. On that date also an adjustment cheque in respect of injury benefit was issued. His current weekly entitlement is £180.57 which is comprised of injury benefit of £117.45 and pay-related benefit of £63.12 a week.

712.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason maternity benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in Ballyhale, County Kilkenny; in view of the fact that the application was first made on 1 April 1982, that no money has been received and that all documentation requested was submitted to his Department on two occasions.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed maternity benefit in respect of her confinement expected on 26 May 1982. As the claim form was not properly completed, it was returned to her for this purpose. On return of the form her claim was authorised for payment and a cheque paying maternity allowance due from 30 April 1982 to 10 July 1982 was issued to her. Further payments will continue up to 5 August 1982 when her entitlement to [1158] maternity allowance expires on the completion of 14 week's payment.

713.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in New Ross, County Wexford, as the application was made seven months ago and there are five dependent children in the family.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The qualification certificate of the person concerned was revoked in October 1981 on the grounds that he failed to disclose his means. That decision was upheld by an appeals officer. He reapplied for a qualification certificate on 15 February 1982 and further inquiries were necessary to establish his means. The officer investigating the matter made several visits before he succeeded in contacting him and the inquiries to establish his means are still in progress. When these inquiries are completed a decision on his application will be given without delay.

714.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay 11 weeks maternity benefit to a person (details supplied) in Slieverue, County Kilkenny, who received only three weeks benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed maternity benefit in respect of her confinement in December 1981 and was paid for 14 weeks at the rate of £45.75 from 7 October 1981 to 12 January 1982.

A list of the cheques which were issued has been sent to the claimant and she has been asked to indicate which cheques, if any, were not received by her. On receipt of her reply, any replacement action necessary will be taken.

715.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit was not paid to a person (details supplied) in Slieverue, County Kilkenny, who was absent from work due to hospitalisation [1159] from December 1980 to April 1981.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  On 23 November 1981 the person concerned claimed disability benefit and submitted medical evidence in respect of an incapacity from 29 December 1980 to 27 April 1981. As she failed to claim benefit until more than six months after the termination of the incapacity she is precluded by regulations from receiving any payment on the claim.

716.

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 have an application for a non-contributory old age pension by a person (details supplied) in County Cork processed; and the present position in relation to this application.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The repeat claim to non-contributory old age pension from the person concerned is under investigation by the social welfare officer. When her inquiries are completed a report will be forwarded to the local pension committee for decision. If a pension is recommended it will be paid on a provisional basis pending the committee's decision. If the claimant is not satisfied with the decision he may appeal against it.

717.

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 unemployment benefit to a person (details supplied) in Kanturk, 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 26 May 1982. Inquiries were necessary to establish his contribution record. These inquiries were recently completed and unemployment benefit was allowed at the reduced weekly rate of £51.00. Arrears of £178.50 were paid to him on 25 June 1982. Following further inquiries it has now been established that he is qualified for benefit at the maximum weekly rate of £52.15 for a man and wife. The necessary adjustment in the rate of payment has been [1160] made and all arrears due to him will be paid this week.

718.

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 have a non-contributory old age pension restored to a person (details supplied) in Kanturk, County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned is in receipt of contributory widow's pension at the maximum rate. She is also in receipt of blind pension at £34.45 a week. This pension has been continuously in payment since 29 October 1976. A social welfare supervisor who made a special visit to the pensioner on 5 July has confirmed that she holds both pension books and has no complaint about either of them.

719.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed occupational injury benefit in respect of an incapacity which he attributed to an accident at work on 14 May 1982. Pending inquiries regarding the nature of the incapacity he was paid disability benefit and pay-related benefit on an interim basis. On completion of the inquiries regarding the occupational accident it was accepted that the incapacity was due to an accident at work and the claim was allowed at the maximum appropriate rate. An adjusting cheque in respect of injury benefit due for the period from 15 May 1982 to 16 June 1982, after which date he was certified fit to resume work, less the amount of disability benefit already paid, was issued on 2 July 1982.

720.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  (Limerick East) asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason social insurance benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in Southill, Limerick; and if the payments due will now be made.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was paid [1161] maternity allowance from 5 February to 13 May 1982. She subsequently claimed disability benefit from 14 May to 25 May 1982, after which date she was certified fit to resume work. All payment of maternity allowance and disability benefit due has been made.

The delay in payment of disability benefit was due to an administrative error.

721.

Mr. R. Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an unmarried mother's allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Coolock, Dublin 5.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned has been awarded unmarried mother's allowance at the maximum appropriate rate and an allowance book with orders payable from 8 July 1982 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by her. She has been notified accordingly. The arrears due for the period prior to 8 July 1982 will be paid to her shortly after adjustment for the amount of supplementary welfare allowance which she received from the Eastern Health Board.

722.

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 disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Cork for the period 19 March to 16 April 1982, in the light of the fact that the applicant has been in receipt of unemployment benefit both prior to 19 March and subsequent to 16 April 1982.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 19 March 1982 to 16 April 1982, after which date she was certified as capable of work. As, at the date of her claim, she had less than the required minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in the 1980-81 contribution year, payment was not authorised.

Following inquiries it was established that the claimant had sufficient credited contributions in respect of a period in the 1980-81 year to qualify her for payment. A cheque for the amount of benefit due [1162] from 23 March 1982, the fourth day of incapacity, to 17 April 1982, was issued on 1 July 1982.

723.

Mr. J. Mitchell: Information on Jim Mitchell  Zoom on Jim Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the reduction in the pension of a person (details supplied) in Straffan, County Kildare, the present rate of her pension entitlement; 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 is in receipt of a widow's contributory pension from the Department at a partial rate based on her late husband's insurance record which yields a yearly average of 43 insurance contributions.

When the new pension order books were being issued in March 1979 however a book at the maximum rate which is payable on an average of 48 or more contributions was incorrectly issued to the widow and this was cashed by her during the period from 6 April 1979 to 14 August 1980. On discovery of the error the book was recalled and a new book at the correct rate was issued to her. The difference between the two rates at the time was 30p (35p from April 1980) and no overpayment was assessed against her.

This woman is at present in receipt of pension at the partial rate of £38.80 per week plus a living alone allowance of £2.70. The corresponding maximum rate is £39.45.

724.

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 disability benefit paid to a person (details supplied) in Rathmore, County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 11 June 1981 and was paid at the maximum appropriate rate from 15 June 1981, fourth day of incapacity. The cheques issue regularly each week and payment has been made to 10 July 1982.

The claimant reported the non-receipt of five cheques which issued to him at his [1163] address during the period 30 January 1982 to 27 February 1982. Separate forms of indemnity have been issued to him in respect of these cheques and on return of the forms, duly completed, replacement action will be taken.

725.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Craughwell, County Galway, as she was paid insurance contributions for the past ten years.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The claim to unemployment benefit of the person concerned was disallowed by a deciding officer on the grounds that she was not available for employment. She has appealed the decision. Arrangements have been made to have her case heard by an appeals officer on 6 July 1982. Her claim will be reviewed in the light of the appeal's officer's decision.

726.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will reconsider his decision in regard to an application for an old age pension for a person (details supplied) in Ardrahan, County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  An appeals officer decided on 4 June 1982 that the person concerned was not entitled to any pension on the ground that she did not fulfil the statutory condition as to means. Her means, consisting of half the weekly value of a holding, were assessed at £48.07 per week. The appeals officer's decision is final and conclusive in the absence of new facts or fresh evidence.

727.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  the Minister for Social Welfare if he proposes to reconsider his decision in regard to an old age pension for a person (details supplied) in Ballyconneely, County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Following a further investigation of the means of the person concerned [1164] an appeals officer has decided he has not been entitled to a non-contributory old age pension from 14 August, 1981 to 1 April, 1982. His means, consisting of half the weekly value of a holding, profits from a shell-fish business, earnings from a contract and capital, including the capital value of a house, exceeded the statutory limit applicable during that period. The appeals officer, whose decision is final and conclusive in the absence of new facts or fresh evidence, has also decided that the pensioner is entitled to a pension at the rate of £8.45 a week plus £4.30 adult dependant allowance from 2 April 1982. His means, assessed at £31.68 weekly entitle him to a pension at this rate. The appropriate pension order book was issued to him on 23 June, 1982.

728.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in County Wexford will get approval for free telephone rental.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The application, which was received from the person concerned on 9 June 1982, was approved on 23 June. The allowance will apply from the date on which telephone service is provided. The applicant will be liable for installation costs but normal advance rental charges will be met by my Department.

729.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a widow's pension will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned originally claimed a widow's non-contributory pension in May, 1976. Following investigation it was decided that she was not entitled to a pension on the basis of her means derived from the estimated yearly value of a farm. Representations received on her behalf in April 1982 were accepted as a renewed application for widow's pension. The local officer who investigated the claim reported that she had not yet transferred her farm but that she would contact the Department again when she did so. Following a renewed [1165] application in May, 1982, the local social welfare officer has been requested to expedite his investigation and report on the case. On receipt of the report a decision will be given on her claim.

730.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 14 May to 19 June 1982, after which date she was certified fit to resume work. As she had less than the required minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in the 1980-81 governing contribution year she was not entitled to payment of benefit. Subsequent inquiries established that she has in fact a title to benefit and a cheque for the amount of benefit due was issued on 5 July 1982.

731.

Mr. S. Walsh: Information on Seán Walsh  Zoom on Seán Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an application for a free electricity allowance will be granted to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  An application for a free electricity allowance was received from the person concerned on 10 May 1982. The allowance has been authorised and the ESB has been instructed to apply the allowance to his account from the June/July 1982 billing period.

732.

Mr. Begley: Information on Michael Begley  Zoom on Michael Begley  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in Killarney, County Kerry has not qualified for the free telephone rental.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Three applications for free telephone rental made by the person concerned in the period February 1980 to August 1981 were disallowed as she did not satisfy the living alone conditions of the scheme. A further application received on 16 April 1982 was approved [1166] as her son is no longer living with her. She has been awarded a living alone allowance with effect from 5 March 1982 and the Department of Posts and Telegraphs have been asked to apply the free telephone allowance to her account from 1 March 1982.

733.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when arrears of disability benefit for the period July 1979 to October 1981 will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Trim, County Meath, who sent in certificates of illness for that period.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 23 June 1979 and was paid to 1 December 1979. Payment ceased as from that date in the absence of continuing medical evidence of incapacity. The claimant again submitted medical evidence from 3 October 1981 and has been paid disability benefit to 10 July 1982. In view of the fact that she failed to submit medical evidence of incapacity from December 1979 to October 1981 she was not entitled to be paid disability benefit in respect of that period. Under the regulations payment of disability benefit cannot be made in respect of any period more than six months prior to the date of receipt of the medical evidence of incapacity.

734.

Mr. J. Bruton: Information on John Bruton  Zoom on John Bruton  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if people who are employed by institutions, such as banks, which give full pay to their employees while they are sick may also claim disability benefit at the same time and thus be paid twice in respect of the same illness; and, if this is illegal, if he will outline the action which is taken by his Department to check on all such cases so as to ensure that such claims are not admitted for payment.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Insured persons who furnish to the Department medical evidence of incapacity for work are entitled to payment of disability benefit provided that they satisfy the statutory governing contribution [1167] conditions and obey the rules of behaviour provided for in the appropriate regulations. The fact that such persons receive payment under an occupational sick pay scheme during illness does not affect their entitlement to disability benefit. In the circumstances it is not necessary, before payment of benefit is made, to take any action in such cases to ascertain whether the claimant is receiving payment under such a scheme.

In practice it is invariably a condition of sick pay schemes operated by institutions such as banks, that the employees are required to surrender to the employers the amount received by way of disability benefit or are only paid wages or salary equal to the difference between normal wages or salary and the appropriate weekly rate of disability benefit.


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