Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Wednesday, 25 May 1983

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 342 No. 11

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586.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefits will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 1 February 1983. However, he did not have sufficient contributions in the governing [2222] contribution year to qualify for the benefit. Following the completion of inquiries to establish his entitlement to special credits, unemployment benefit was authorised at the appropriate maximum weekly rate in his case of £31.65. All arrears of the benefit due less the amount of unemployment assistance paid to him in the meantime will be sent to him by post this week. Further weekly payments of £31.65 will continue to be made as they become due.

587.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway who has been on a two and three-day week for a long period.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been in reciept of the personal rate of unemployment benefit since she commenced systematic short-time working on 18 January 1983. Following the completion of inquiries to establish that her husband and children were her qualified dependants, unemployment benefit has been authorised from 18 January 1983 at the appropriate rate which includes, in addition to her personal rate, increases in respect of her husband and children. All arrears due will be paid to her this week.

588.

Mr. Begley: Information on Michael Begley  Zoom on Michael Begley  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the continued delay in paying unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been continuously in receipt of unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £26.45 being the appropriate maximum rate in his case £42.00 less weekly means of £15.55 derived from his holding, from capital and from self-employment.

589.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision will be given in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Galway who has [2223] appealed the reduction in his unemployment assistance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance on 12 October 1982 and he was paid at the weekly rate of £12.75 on the basis of weekly means assessed at £12.70. Following re-investigation, his weekly means were increased to £25 with effect from 5 January 1983 and his unemployment assistance was accordingly reduced to £0.45 from that date being the maximum rate of £25.45 less means £25.

He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and his case has been referred to a social welfare officer for additional inquiries. When these are completed his case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the appeals officer's decision.

590.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when pay-related benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been paid disability benefit from 11 February 1983, fourth day of incapacity, to 9 May 1983, date of the latest medical evidence received.

He is not entitled to pay-related benefit as the amount of disability benefit in payment exceeds 80 per cent of his average reckonable weekly earnings in the relevant income tax year, 1981-82. In such circumstances only the flat-rate disability benefit may be paid.

591.

Mr. Fitzsimons: Information on James N. Fitzsimons  Zoom on James N. Fitzsimons  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Meath has not received disability benefit since last April.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 29 April 1982 and was paid a total of 52 weeks benefit to 27 April 1983, based on his [2224] insurance record in the 1980-81 contribution year.

From 28 April 1983 his entitlement to benefit depended on his 1981-82 insurance record and payment was interrupted while inquiries were being made to establish his entitlement from that date.

When it was ascertained that he was qualified for continued payment based on his 1981-82 insurance record, the outstanding benefit payable, less the amount advanced by way of supplementary welfare allowance, was issued on 23 May 1983. Further payments of benefit will be issued as medical evidence is received.

592.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will be paid the outstanding social welfare moneys due to him.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned submitted an application for children's allowance in respect of his two children on 15 October 1982 and he was paid allowance with effect from July 1982. Payment prior to this date was made to the claimant's wife.

In view of the Deputy's question the person concerned is being contacted with a view to ascertaining what the problem is with a view to resolving it.

593.

Mr. P. Brennan: Information on Patrick Brennan  Zoom on Patrick Brennan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that she failed to furnish evidence of her means.

She appealed against the disallowance and her case was referred again to a social welfare officer for further inquiries and to afford her an opportunity of disclosing the full details of her means. When the inquiries are completed her case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination and her entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined [2225] in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

594.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the position regarding the application for unemployment assistance by a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned exhausted his title to unemployment benefit on 3 May 1983 when he received 390 days' benefit and claimed unemployment assistance on 4 May 1983.

His case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means. When the inquiries are completed his means will be assessed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

595.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the position in regard to the application for unemployment assistance of a person (details supplied) in County Laois.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Unemployment assistance has been authorised in the case of the person concerned at the weekly rate of £50.35 being the maximum rate in his case £50.50 less weekly means of 15p derived from a small amount of capital. He is being written to this week to call to his local office to collect the arrears of unemployment assistance due to him.

596.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reasons unemployment assistance has been refused to a person (details supplied) in County Laois as he is married with five children; and when a decision will be reached on his appeal as he has no income.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that his means derived from self-employment as a plasterer exceeded the statutory limit.

He recently completed an appeal application [2226] at his local office and arrangements are being made to have the case referred to an appeals officer for determination. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed as soon as the appeals officer makes a decision in the case.

597.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Offaly did not receive full disability benefit from 2 June to 17 October 1981; and the reason no inspector called on him to explain the position to him as promised in his letter of 5 December 1981.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 8 May 1981 to 17 October 1981 and all disability benefit due for the period was issued at regular intervals as medical evidence was received.

He reported the non-receipt of a number of cheques which issued to him at that time. It was intended that an inspector of the Department would call on him with the cashed cheques concerned for his inspection but the necessary arrangements to do this were not completed. Arrangements have now been made for an inspector to call on the person concerned at an early date and on receipt of his report the matter will be reviewed.

598.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will reissue a cheque for £25.45 unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly as this cheque was cashed by some other person in September 1982.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following inquiries in the matter, arrangements have been made to issue a duplicate payment to the person concerned in respect of the voucher for £25.45 which was not received by him for the week ended 21 September 1982.

599.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the position regarding the application for unemployment assistance [2227] by a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The qualification certificate of the person concerned showing nil means was addressed in error to the wrong local office and cannot be traced. However, a duplicate has now been issued and arrangements have been made for the issue of arrears of unemployment assistance due to him this week less the amount of supplementary welfare allowance paid to him in the meantime. The rate of unemployment assistance appropriate in his case is £50.50 a week.

600.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when children's allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned submitted an application for continuation of children's allowance on 8 March 1983 in respect of her son who reached sixteen years of age in December 1982.

Children's allowance at the rate of £11.25 per month was awarded in respect of this child with effect from 1 January 1983 and an allowance book payable from February 1983 was issued to the claimant on 19 April 1983. A payable order in respect of arrears due for January 1983 was issued on 25 March 1983.

However, as it appears that the person concerned did not receive this book a replacement allowance book payable from April 1983 was issued to her on 23 May 1983. A payable order in respect of arrears due for the period February and March 1983 is in the course of issue.

The claimant is now in receipt of allowance at the rate of £22.50 per month which is the correct rate payable in respect of her two qualified children.

601.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the cause of the long delay in paying a widow's pension to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.

[2228]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A claim form dated 15 February 1983 for a widow's non-contributory pension in respect of the person concerned was received in the Department on 26 April 1983, having been forwarded with a letter dated 25 April 1983 from the claimant's solicitors.

The case has been referred to the local social welfare officer for investigation. When the officer's report is received a decision will be given on the claim without delay.

602.

Mr. Gregory-Independent: Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in issuing unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3 as she has been signing since 1 March 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Unemployment assistance at the maximum weekly rate of £26.25 was authorised in the case of the person concerned with effect from 1 March 1983 on the basis of a nil means assessment from that date. She was paid in respect of the current week on Tuesday, 24 May 1983. She had been in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance in the meantime and the amount paid in the period from 1 March 1983 is due to be refunded to the Eastern Health Board. Any arrears due to her after allowing for the amount due to the board will be paid to her.

Inquiries regarding her means in the period before 1 March have only recently been completed and the social welfare officer's report is in postal transit to the employment exchange. Further inquiries had been necessary as she had refused to disclose particulars of her means and her entitlement could not therefore be determined. A decision as to her entitlement during that period will be given when the social welfare officer's report is received.

603.

Mr. Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  asked the Minister for Social Welfare whether any instances have occurred of a deserted and unemployed wife being simultaneously paid both deserted wife's benefit and unemployment benefit; the number of occasions [2229] on which this has happened; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An unemployed deserted wife can qualify for a reduced rate of unemployment benefit in addition to her deserted wife's benefit. Where she is receiving the maximum rate of the deserted wife's benefit she will receive half the personal rate of unemployment benefit. If she is receiving a reduced rate of deserted wife's benefit the amount of unemployment benefit payable is increased accordingly. However, increases for dependent children are not payable in addition to unemployment benefit in such cases.

Statistics are not maintained which would enable the number of such cases to be stated.

A similar position obtains in the case of widows, unmarried mothers and prisoners' wives.

604.

Mr. Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter  Zoom on Alan Shatter  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of occasions a deserted wife in full-time employment has been paid directly by his Department the dependant's share of her husband's unemployment benefit or assistance; and the number of occasions a deserted husband in full-time employment has been paid the dependant's share of his wife's employment benefit or assistance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An increase of unemployment benefit is paid to a husband in respect of his wife if she is living with him or is wholly or mainly maintained by him. By definition, a deserted wife would not meet either of these criteria and the husband would not therefore qualify for an increase in respect of her.

An increase of unemployment benefit is paid to a wife if her husband is unable by reason of physical or mental incapacity to maintain himself and she is wholly or mainly maintaining him. A husband who was in full-time employment would not meet this requirement and an increase of benefit would not be payable to his wife in respect of him.

[2230]605.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reasons small farmer's dole has been stopped in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed from 27 April 1983 following an investigation by a social welfare officer on the grounds that his means derived from land exceeded the statutory limit.

He has appealed against the disallowance and arrangements are being made to have his case determined by an appeals officer. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

606.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when pay-related benefit at the full rate will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is presently in receipt of pay-related benefit at the weekly rate of £27.76 which is the maximum amount of pay-related benefit appropriate in his case.

His entitlement is calculated on earnings of £3,188 in the income tax year 6 April 1980 to 5 April 1981.


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