Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Thursday, 23 June 1983

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 344 No. 1

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648.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary is only being paid £18.75 per week old age pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following a routine reinvestigation of the means of the person concerned to take account of an increase in his occupational pension, it was decided by the local pension committee that he is entitled to an old age pension at the rate of £12.45 a week plus £6.30 dependent spouse allowance from 15 October 1982. This is the rate appropriate to the latest assessment of his means consisting of half the weekly value of his occupational pension and capital.

649.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit has not been 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 claimed unemployment benefit on 16 [141] May 1983. Inquiries were necessary in relation to her availability for employment and her case is being submitted for a decision as to whether she satisfies this condition for entitlement to benefit. The papers are at present in postal transit to headquarters for that purpose and her entitlement will be determined shortly.

650.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit has not been 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 claimed unemployment benefit on 13 January 1983. Following the completion of inquiries, unemployment benefit has been authorised at the appropriate maximum weekly rate in her case of £15.83 from 13 January 1983 increased to £27.80 from 8 March 1983. Arrangements have been made to have all arrears due paid to her this week and further weekly payments of £27.80 will continue to be made as they become due.

651.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason an application for unemployment benefit made by a person (details supplied) in County Clare for periods in 1980 and 1981 was not approved.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit during the periods from 29 July 1980 to 30 August 1980 and from 27 October 1980 to 10 March 1981. As there was no record of his insurance contributions in the governing contribution year prior to his claim his case was referred to a social welfare officer to establish his employment position during that period.

There was difficulty making contact with the employer in order to determine the insurance contribution position and this has only recently been established. Following the completion of these inquiries, unemployment benefit has been authorised at the maximum weekly rate of £20.45 and arrangements have been made to pay all arrears due to the person [142] concerned in respect of the periods in question this week.

652.

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 County Kilkenny.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  There is no record of an application from the person referred to by the Deputy. However, an application for a qualification certificate from a person with the same surname and address was refused on the grounds that his means, derived from an occupational pension, exceeded the statutory limit in his case of £2,350.40 a year. He appealed against the amount of means assessed in his case but an appeals officer confirmed the deciding officer's decision. He is not, therefore, qualified for unemployment assistance.

653.

Mr. Nolan: Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when payments will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow who was transferred from unemployment to disability benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been paid all disability benefit due from 9 June 1983, first day of incapacity to 17 June 1983, after which date he was discharged from hospital. Further payments will issue on receipt of continuing medical evidence of incapacity.

654.

Mr. Nolan: Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been paid all disability and pay-related benefit due to 9 June 1983, date of latest medical certificate received. Further payments will issue on receipt of continuing medical evidence of incapacity.

655.

Mr. Nolan: Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a children's allowance [143] will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow for the months of April, May and June.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An allowance book covering payment for the period in question was issued to the person concerned on 14 June 1983.

656.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will consider granting a free telephone rental allowance (details supplied) in County Wexford, who is an old age pensioner and who has a handicapped son living with him.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An application form for free telephone rental allowance has been issued to the person concerned and on receipt of the completed application in the Department his entitlement to the allowance will be considered and he will be notified of the outcome.

657.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a death grant 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  A claim for a grant on the death of her father was received from the person concerned on 27 April 1983. The maximum grant of £100 is payable.

According to the particulars furnished on the claim form the deceased died intestate and letters of administration are not being taken out. The sisters of the person concerned therefore have equal title with her to the grant and their consent is necessary before the grant may be paid to her.

The person concerned has been requested to forward her sisters' consent to the Department. On receipt of this consent a cheque for £100 will be issued to her.

658.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the social welfare benefit payable to a married woman who [144] wishes to retire from her employment voluntarily to look after her family.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A married woman who retires voluntarily from employment to look after her family would not normally be entitled to social welfare benefit. She could, however, retain entitlement to certain benefits — for example disability benefit, dental and optical benefits and maternity allowance — for some time after she leaves her employment.

She might also be entitled to a payment under the supplementary welfare allowances scheme, but any entitlement in this regard would depend on an examination of her family circumstances. Application for this allowance should be made to the community welfare officer at the nearest health centre who would be in a position to advise her in the matter.

If the woman in question would like further information on her possible entitlements she could either write to the Department with more detailed particulars or contact one of my Department's information centres, which are listed on page 86 of the booklet Summary of Social Insurance and Social Assistance Services, or one of the comunity information centres listed on pages 103-107 of the booklet.

659.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance was refused 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 claimed unemployment assistance on 22 April 1982 and following the completion of inquiries his claim was disallowed on the grounds that his means exceeded the statutory limit. Means in his case were derived from self-employment, capital and the benefit of his wife's earnings.

He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him but an appeals officer upheld the assessment of his means as being in excess of the statutory limit in his case of £3,380.

He has not been in touch with his local [145] office since 28 September 1982 when he last signed as unemployed.

660.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit was refused 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 was disallowed payment of disability benefit from 1 June 1983 following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work.

The claimant has appealed against the decision to disallow his claim to benefit and in this connection arrangements have been made to have him examined by a different medical referee on 6 July 1983. His entitlement to further payment of disability benefit will be reviewed in the light of the medical referee's report following this examination.

661.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance 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 appealed against the disallowance of his unemployment assistance claim which was disallowed on the grounds that his means derived from self-employment as a carpet layer exceeded the statutory limit.

His case was referred to an appeals officer who upheld the assessment of his means as being in excess of the statutory limit. Accordingly, he is not entitled to unemployment assistance.

662.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a non-contributory old age pension was reduced in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A review of the entitlement of the person concerned revealed that her means, consisting of half her husband's occupational pension and capital, had increased. Her pension was reduced to [146] £26.45 a week, which is the rate appropriate to the latest assessment of her means, from 28 January 1983. She was advised of the position when the question for a reduction in her pension was being referred to the local pension committee for determination.

The appeals officer, to whom her appeal against the committee's decision to reduce her pension was submitted, has confirmed her entitlement to pension at the reduced rate in payment. The appeals officer's decision has been notified to the committee for transmission to the pensioner.

663.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  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 claim of the person concerned to unemployment benefit on 16 February 1983 was authorised at the maximum weekly rate in his case of £31.65. All arrears due to date have been paid.

The information to enable his entitlement to pay-related benefit to be determined has only recently been received. Payment of pay-related benefit has been authorised and all arrears due will be paid to him this week. Further weekly payments of £49.13 including £17.48 pay-related benefit will continue to be made as they become due.

664.

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 receive a contributory old age pension; and, if so, at what rate.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been awarded a contributory old age pension with effect from 8 July 1983 at the weekly rate of £78.10. This is the rate payable to a married man with a wife aged over 66 years, on the basis of a yearly average of 47 qualifying contributions over the prescribed period, in this case, from 5 January 1953 to 5 April 1983.

His wife is at present in receipt of a non-contributory old age pension at a [147] current weekly rate of £26.45, but this will be withdrawn in favour of the higher rate of adult dependant's allowance, £33.65, included in his contributory pension.

A contributory old age pension book will be issued to the designated post office, for collection by him, when his wife returns her non-contributory pension book to the Department.

665.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if disability 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 was paid disability benefit from 3 March 1983 to 10 May 1983. Payment was disallowed after that date following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work.

The claimant appealed against the decision to disallow his claim to benefit and subsequently submitted a final certificate which certified him as fit to resume work on 24 May 1983.

The case was then referred to an appeals officer who decided that the claimant was not capable of work from 11 May 1983 to 23 May 1983 and is, therefore, entitled to be paid disability benefit in respect of this period.

A cheque for the arrears of benefit payable to the claimant was issued on 22 June 1983.

666.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when occupational injury 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 claimed injury benefit in respect of an incapacity resulting from an accident at work on 11 February 1983.

Pending the completion of investigations resulting from the accident, he was awarded disability benefit on an interim basis from 17 February 1983, the fourth day of incapacity.

[148] Following the completion of investigations, which were delayed as a result of the employer's failure to reply to an inquiry to confirm the accident, injury benefit was allowed from the date of the accident. Injury benefit in respect of the period to 15 June 1983, the date of the latest medical certificate received, over and above the disability benefit already paid, has now been paid.

Pay-related benefit is not payable where the flat rate benefit exceeds the reckonable earnings per week in the relevant tax year. The rate of injury benefit paid, £93.85 a week, is greater than the reckonable weekly earnings, £81.18, in respect of the tax year to 5 April 1982 with the result that pay-related benefit is not payable.

667.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance payments will be increased for 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 was assessed with means of £19.00 weekly, derived from the value of board and lodging in her parents' home. She is, accordingly, in receipt of unemployment assistance £6.45 weekly being the maximum rate payable to her £25.45 less £19.00.

She appealed against the amount of means assessed against her but an appeals officer upheld the assessment of her means at £19.00 and she continues to be paid unemployment assistance at the rate of £6.45 weekly.

668.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not received unemployment assistance at the full weekly rate even though he has no property and is married; and when he will receive proper weekly payments and arrears.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  In order to qualify for unemployment assistance at the full rate a person must be assessed with nil means. The person concerned was in receipt of unemployment [149] assistance of £15.70 a week from 25 January 1983, being the rate appropriate to a married man whose means from land were assessed on a notional basis, £25.90 less means £10.20. Following an appeal, an appeals officer assessed his means on a factual basis at £15.00 a week derived from the value of board and lodgings in his son's farm which had previously been transferred to his son under a family settlement. This entitles him to an increased rate of unemployment assistance of £28.95 a week being the maximum rate in his case £43.95 less means £15. He will also qualify for the general rates increase from the end of June.

All arrears due to him will be paid in the coming week.

669.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed maternity benefit under the scheme for women in employment. To qualify for payment under this scheme a woman needs at least (a) 26 contributions paid since entry into insurance and 26 contributions paid or credited in the contribution year governing the claim; or (b) 26 contributions paid in the twelve months immediately preceding the commencement of her maternity leave. The person concerned does not satisfy either of the conditions above and, therefore, does not qualify for payment.

670.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The claim of the person concerned to unemployment benefit on 18 January 1983 was disallowed on the grounds that she did not satisfy the condition of having at least 26 reckonable contributions in the governing contribution year from 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982. She had only 21 reckonable contributions [150] in that year. As a married woman who is a dependant of her husband she does not qualify for unemployment assistance.

671.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit payments will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  There is no trace in the records of the Department of a claim of any sort having been received from the person concerned. He has been written to and requested to furnish details of his claim. The matter will be dealt with on receipt of his reply.

672.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefit/assistance payments will be made 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 claimed unemployment benefit on 10 June 1983. His claim was disallowed on the grounds that he had less than 26 contributions during the contribution period governing his entitlement to benefit 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982.

He has been advised of his right to apply for unemployment assistance.

673.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance was refused to a person (details supplied) in County Cavan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was suspended from 27 April 1983, when it came to light that he was attending school on 3 days a week and, accordingly, did not satisfy the condition of being available for employment. His entitlement is being restored with effect from 6 June 1983, when he finished school, at the weekly rate of £24.05 being the maximum £25.45 in his case less weekly means of £1.40 derived from the value of board and lodgings on his father's holding. [151] Arrangements are being made to pay all arrears due to him in the coming week.

674.

Mr. Ryan: Information on John J. Ryan  Zoom on John J. Ryan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The entitlement of the person concerned to unemployment assistance cannot be determined until his means have been assessed. He has been interviewed in that regard but the social welfare officer is awaiting a reply to an inquiry sent by him to a creamery before he can complete his report.

When his report has been received a decision will be given regarding the entitlement of the person concerned.

675.

Mr. Gregory-Independent: Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7 has had her unemployment assistance reduced to £8.35 per week; and if he will reconsider this person's case in view of the very poor circumstances of her family.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was assessed with means of £17.90 weekly derived from the value of board and lodgings in her parent's home. She is, accordingly, in receipt of unemployment assistance at 8.35 weekly being the maximum rate payable to her £26.25 less 17.90.

If she is dissatisfied with the amount of means assessed against her it is open to her to appeal and to have her case determined by an appeals officer. A form for this purpose may be obtained at her local office.

676.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a prisoner's wife's allowance has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and when it will be paid.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was awarded a prisoner's wife's allowance for [152] the period from 16 December 1982 to 2 March 1983 by a decision dated 14 March 1983 but, before payment could be made, it was necessary to ascertain and withhold the amount of supplementary welfare allowance paid to her during that period.

A payable order for arrears less that deduction has been sent direct to her.

677.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit has not been paid from the first week in March to date to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and when it will be paid.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 3 March 1983 but submitted a number of medical certificates which had no RSI numbers inserted thereon. The certificates were returned to the claimant to quote his correct RSI number which resulted in a delay in issuing payments of benefit.

The matter has since been rectified, however, and all benefit payable to 11 June 1983, date of the latest medical certificate received, has been issued.

678.

Dr. McCarthy: Information on Seán McCarthy  Zoom on Seán McCarthy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason an invalidity pension has not yet been granted to a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and when it will be granted.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A claim to invalidity pension has not been received from the person concerned.

A form on which to claim pension has, therefore, been forwarded to him and on its return, duly completed, the claim will be dealt with without delay.


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