Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Wednesday, 9 November 1983

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 345 No. 9

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274.

Mr. McGinley: Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Extensive inquiries had to be made to ascertain whether the person concerned was genuinely seeking suitable employment before his entitlement to unemployment assistance could be determined. The investigations were recently completed and his claim was allowed and [1876] all arrears due were paid last week. Further payments at the rate of £27.90 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £29.40 less means £1.50 will be made as they become due.

275.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in paying unemployment assistance, at the maximum rate, to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry who is married with four children and who completed a form applying for the maximum rate some months ago.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned applied for a review of the means assessed against him for the purposes of his unemployment assistance claim and his case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation. Extensive inquiries are still being made in the case and only when they are completed will his means be reviewed and the rate of unemployment assistance payable to him determined accordingly. In the meantime weekly payments of unemployment assistance at £50.30 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £80.30 less means £30 continue to be made as they become due.

276.

Mr. Conaghan: Information on Hugh Conaghan  Zoom on Hugh Conaghan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit has ceased to be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 16 August 1982 and payment of benefit was issued to 13 August 1983. Due to an administrative error payment was suspended from 15 August 1983. The error has now been rectified and all benefit due from 15 August 1983 to 10 October 1983, date of the latest medical evidence received, has been issued.

277.

Mr. De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that the Statistical Abstract of Ireland for 1979 (published in 1982) disclosed (1) that the number awarded injury benefit fell from [1877] 11,306 in 1978 to 8,843 in 1979; (2) that the number awarded disablement benefit fell from 1,354 in 1978 to 680 in 1979; and (3) that the number of weeks in respect of which injury benefit was paid fell from 77,876 in 1978 to 59,255 in 1979; if these falls reflected changes in the way in which the statistics were compiled or if there were changes in policies on the awarding of these benefits; 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  The lower figures referred to by the Deputy did not result from any changes made in the way in which the statistics were compiled. The qualifying conditions for the benefits concerned are laid down in the Social Welfare Acts and Regulations and there was no change in these statutory conditions in the period.

The reduction in the number of claims to injury benefit and disablement benefit allowed during 1979 resulted from a reduction in the number of new claims to benefit received and processed in the period. This was influenced by the postal dispute which lasted for approximately four-and-a-half months. On the one hand, there was a reduction in the total number of claims received during the year. In addition, however, the large number of claims received after the strike finished resulted in a temporary lengthening of the time within which claims were decided and the backlog extended into 1980.

The reduction in the number of weeks in respect of which injury benefit was paid during 1979 as compared with 1978 resulted from the fall in the number of claims to injury benefit allowed during the period.

278.

Mr. De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the surplus or deficit of receipts and payments under the Occupational Injuries Fund for each of the last five years for which figures are available.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The information requested is as follows:

[1878]Year Surplus Deficit
1978 £2,365,000
1979 £2,477,000
1980 £5,371,000
1981 £3,280,000(Provisional)
1982 £1,481,000(Provisional)

All receipts including income from investments and all payments including administration expenses were taken into account in arriving at the figures shown above.

279.

Mr. Begley: Information on Michael Begley  Zoom on Michael Begley  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The entitlement of an applicant to unemployment benefit is subject to the condition that the applicant is fully available for work and a person who limits the availability to reduced working periods cannot be regarded as available for work.

The person concerned when claiming unemployment benefit indicated that she is available for work only during the hours while her children are at school and her claim was disallowed on the grounds that she is not available for employment. She appealed against the disallowance and arrangements are being made to have her case determined by an appeals officer. Her entitlement to unemployment benefit will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

280.

Mr. Wallace: Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when three weeks arrears of disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Cork city.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 16 June 1983 but submitted medical certificates in respect of his incapacity for work from only 27 June 1983 to 9 July 1983. He was certified fit to resume work on 11 July 1983. The claimant was paid benefit from [1879] 30 June 1983 fourth day of certified incapacity to 9 July 1983. He was requested on 29 June 1983 to submit medical evidence in respect of the commencement date of his illness but failed to do so. A further request was issued to him on 7 November 1983. When the necessary information is received any benefit due to him will be paid.

281.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to have unemployment assistance at the maximum rate paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following a review of his case the person concerned has been assessed with nil means from the commencement of his unemployment assistance claim on 22 August 1983. He is accordingly entitled to the maximum weekly rate £28 increased to £29.40 from 5 October 1983. Arrangements have been made to pay an arrears adjustment this week and further weekly payments at £29.40 will be made as they become due.

282.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to have a non-contributory old age pension paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as the application has been made for some weeks.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The old age pension claim of the person concerned was received on 12 October 1983 and is currently under investigation. On completion of inquiries, the claim will be referred to the local pension committee for decision. If a pension is recommended by the social welfare officer it will be put into payment on a provisional basis pending the pension committee's decision.

283.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in having unemployment assistance paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as he has been signing for the past 11 weeks.

[1880]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The entitlement of the person concerned to unemployment assistance could not be determined until all inquiries about his means had been completed. The investigations by a social welfare officer were only recently completed and he was assessed with nil means. He is accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at the maximum rate payable to him, £28 weekly. He has not signed as unemployed since 20 October 1983, but he has been written to and advised that the arrears will be paid to him when he next calls to his local office.

284.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to have the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny investigated in respect of the payment of a non-contributory widow's pension as a matter of urgency; and the progress that has been made to date in her application.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned, whose claim was received on 22 August 1983, has been awarded a widow's non-contributory pension at the rate of £89.70 per week with effect from 10 June 1983, the day following her husband's death, increased to £100.40 per week from 1 July 1983. This is the maximum rate of pension payable to a widow under 66 years of age with six qualified children.

A pension order book with orders payable from 7 October 1983 was issued on 3 November to the designated post office for collection by her and she was notified accordingly. Arrears of pension for the period 10 June to 6 October 1983 amounting to £1,674.70 will be sent to her by means of a payable order within the next few days.

285.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to have a telephone rental allowance granted to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as the application has been made for some time.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  There is no record in the [1881] Department of receipt of an application for free telephone rental allowance from the person concerned. An application form has been issued to him and on receipt of the completed application form a decision will be given in the case and he will be notified of the outcome.

286.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to have a telephone rental allowance granted to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as the application has been made for some time.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  In order to qualify for a free telephone rental allowance an applicant must be living entirely alone, or only with persons who are so permanently incapacitated as to be unable to summon aid in an emergency. The person referred to in the Deputy's question is residing with his wife, and their 15 year old daughter who is not, from the information furnished, a permanently incapacitated person. Accordingly free telephone rental allowance cannot be applied in this case. The applicant was notified to this effect on 15 March 1983.

287.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in having either unemployment benefit or assistance paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as he has been unemployed since 28 August 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned does not fulfil the contribution conditions for entitlement to unemployment benefit because his record for the relevant governing contribution period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982 is outstanding. The matter has been referred to a social welfare officer to pursue the apparent non-payment of contributions and his entitlement to unemployment benefit will be considered in the light of the outcome of the inquiries. He was advised that it was open to him to claim unemployment assistance [1882] pending a decision on his unemployment benefit claim but he declined to do so.

288.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is a postal applicant for unemployment benefit and arrangements are being made to issue him an order for encashment at his local post office paying all arrears of flat-rate unemployment benefit and pay-related benefit due, this week. Further combined payments at £42.70 weekly, representing flat-rate unemployment benefit £34.80 and pay-related benefit £7.90, will be made as they become due.

289.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will restore disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 1 October 1982 and was paid to 3 October 1983. Payment ceased at that date as he had fewer than 156 contributions paid on his behalf since his entry into insurance and is therefore entitled to benefit for only 52 weeks.

According to the records of the Department he has only 33 contributions since his entry into insurable employment on 10 November 1980.

In order to requalify for payment of benefit he would require a further 13 weeks employment for which the appropriate contributions have been paid, after the last date of payment of benefit.

290.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit or assistance was not paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry in respect of the two weeks commencing 19 September 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned does not satisfy the contribution condition of [1883] having at least 26 contributions paid or credited during the governing contribution period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982 and accordingly his unemployment benefit claim from 19 September 1983 to 24 October 1983 had to be disallowed.

He was advised of his right to claim unemployment assistance but he declined to do so.

291.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will state in respect of Killarney, Killorglin, Dingle, [1884] Cahirciveen and Kenmare employment exchanges, County Kerry: (a) the number on the live register on 14 October, 1983; (b) the number under 25 years of age; and (c) the number of smallholders; and if he will give the figures for 1982 also.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The nearest date to 14 October 1983 for which the statistics sought are available is 28 October 1983 and the corresponding date for last year is 29 October 1982. The details are as follows:

Date 28 October 1983 29 October 1982
(a) (b) (c) (a) (b) (c)
Local Office Number on Live Register Number aged under 25 years Number of smallholders Number on Live Register Number aged under 25 years Number of smallholders
Killarney 938 311 373 709 199 398
Killorglin 720 206 377 701 218 399
Dingle 533 152 321 446 136 365
Caherciveen 626 149 308 483 146 309
Kenmare 293 67 200 255 63 204

292.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason there was a 14 week delay in paying unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry who is married with three children; 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  The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned from 1 October 1982 was disallowed on the grounds that his means exceeded the statutory limit. He appealed against this decision but on 1 June 1983 an appeals officer upheld the assessment of his means and the disallowance of his unemployment assistance claim continued to stand. He ceased to sign as unemployed after 18 July 1983.

On 13 September 1983 he applied for a review of his means and his case has been referred to a social welfare officer for reinvestigation. The assessment of his means will be reviewed in the light of the outcome of the inquiries.

293.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork who applied for unemployment assistance in June is still waiting for a decision on his appeal; and when he will be paid.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned appealed against the assessment of means at £13.00 weekly which reduced his rate of unemployment assistance during the period 25 May 1983 to 24 September 1983. In the light of his contentions in support of his appeal, his case was referred to a social welfare officer for additional inquiries. The applicant was not available for interview when the investigating officer called to his residence on several occasions and this prolonged the inquiries in the case.

The investigations were recently completed [1885] and the amount of means assessed against him was reduced to nil.

He is accordingly entitled to the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him from 25 May 1983 to 24 September, 1983 after which he ceased to sign as unemployed and arrears of unemployment assistance are due to be paid to him. He has been written to and asked to call to his local office for payment.

294.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a retirement pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo as his disability benefit payments ceased some weeks ago and he was due to be paid approximately £42 pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned reached retirement pension age of 65 on 18 March 1983. One of the conditions for receipt of retirement pension under the Social Welfare Acts requires him to have had contributions paid in respect of at least 156 weeks of insurable employment from the date of his entry into insurance. He does not satisfy this condition as the Department's records show that of his total of 857 Irish contributions only 93 were paid in respect of insurable employment. The remainder were credited contributions allowed to him during periods of unemployment and incapacity for work. A similar condition applies in respect of old age contributory pension and therefore neither will he qualify for this latter pension at age 66.

He also had a record of British employment and in accordance with EEC Regulations on Social Security his Irish and British records have been combined to qualify him for a pro rata rate pension of £37.90 from 24 March 1983, increased to £42.50 from 30 June 1983. The pro rata rate is calculated on the basis of his total of 857 Irish contributions, paid and credited, in proportion to the combined total of 1,491. He is also in receipt of a British retirement pension (currently Stg. £32.58 per week) with effect from 24 March 1983.

[1886] Payment of disability benefit was continued to him at the rate of £52.15 a week up to 29 June 1983 and at the rate of £57.35 a week from 30 June 1983 up to 5 October 1983, based on his combined British and Irish insurance records. Payment of this benefit should have ceased from 24 March 1983. The total disability benefit paid to him from 24 March 1983 to 5 October 1983 amounted to £1,533.05. This overpayment is being partially offset by withholding the amount of retirement pension, £1,338.10, which would otherwise be payable to him for the period 24 March 1983 to 9 November 1983. The balance of £194.95 will be recovered by deducting £3 a week from his pro rata rate retirement pension.

A retirement pension book containing orders at the net rate of £39.50 payable from 10 November 1983 is being issued to the designated post office for collection by him and he has been notified accordingly.

295.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if the correct rate of Irish pension is being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following the award of a British retirement pension to the person concerned and her husband a question for reduction of her old age pension was referred to the local pension committee for decision.

Pension at the weekly rate of £16.60, being the amount appropriate to the current assessment of her means, is in payment pending the pension committee's decision.

296.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an invalidity pension 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 being paid disability benefit at regular weekly intervals and payment has been made to date.

Invalidity pension is payable in place [1887] of disability benefit to insured persons who satisfy the contribution conditions and who are permanently incapable of work. Accordingly arrangements are being made to have him referred for medical referee examination on 24 November 1983. His entitlement to invalidity pension will be reviewed in the light of the report of that examination.

297.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  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 is not entitled to unemployment assistance. His weekly means were assessed at £33.00 and as this amount exceeds the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him, his claim had to be disallowed.

He has not been in touch with his local office since 21 December 1982 when he last signed as unemployed.

298.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will give details of the implementation of the budgetary decision to introduce a family income supplement.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The details of the proposal are still under consideration and a final decision has not yet being taken.

299.

Mr. De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 is not receiving fuel vouchers.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is in receipt of disability benefit and I understand from the Eastern Health Board, which administers the national fuel scheme in the Dublin area, that his application for a fuel allowance was refused on the ground that he is not in receipt of a long-term social welfare payment, which is a normal requirement for eligibility under that scheme. Neither is he among the categories covered by the urban fuel scheme in the Dublin area.

[1888]300.

Mr. De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the proposals, if any, he has to provide funding in 1984 for the Coolock Community Law Centre, Dublin; and the proposals he has to provide long-term funding for this essential community service.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Funds will not be available to my Department in 1984 from which a grant to the Coolock Community Law Centre could be provided. Funds are, however, being provided in 1984 for the establishment of an anti-poverty agency in accordance with the Government's programme and when this agency is established in the new year it will be open to the centre to apply to the agency for assistance in 1984 and future years.

301.

Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn: Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when pension arrears 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 made a claim for old age pension on 4 July 1983 and following the investigation of the claim payment of pension on a provisional basis at the maximum rate of £38.60 per week has been put into effect on the recommendation of the social welfare officer pending the decision of the local pension committee. Pension books, payable at the maximum rate of £38.60 per week from 8 July 1983, the Friday following the receipt of his claim, have been issued to him. No arrears of pension are due in this case.

302.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a contributory widow's pension will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry as she is in receipt of the non-contributory widow's pension at present.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  One of the qualifying conditions for receipt of widow's contributory pension is that there must be at least 156 contribution weeks of insurable employment, [1889] for which the appropriate contributions have been paid, between the date of entry into insurance and the date the husband died or reached pension age. The claim of the person concerned was refused because this condition was not satisfied. According to the records of the Department, her husband had a total of only 36 contributions paid since his entry into insurance in 1941. The claimant herself has no insurance record. She is currently in receipt of a non-contributory old age pension at the weekly rate of £39.60 which includes a living alone allowance of £3 per week. This is the rate of pension applicable to a person with means over £6.00 and up to £8.00 a week. Her possible entitlement to a higher rate of widow's non-contributory pension is being investigated.

303.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance under the small farmers scheme was discontinued in June 1983 in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and when his appeal will be heard.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Arising from a ruling of the High Court that the PLV system was unconstitutional the continued use of the notional method of assessment of means for unemployment assistance purposes is no longer regarded as lawful.

The person concerned was in receipt of unemployment assistance on the basis of a notional assessment of his means and his case was referred to a social welfare officer for reinvestigation. Following the completion of inquiries his means derived from land, from capital held and from the capital value of a house, were assessed as being in excess of the statutory limit.

He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and his case has been referred to an appeals officer for determination. The appeals officer will deal with the case as quickly as possible.

304.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of appeals under consideration by his [1890] Department against decisions to discontinue or reduce unemployment assistance payable to small farmers under the factual assessment system in County Kerry; and the average length of time it takes the appeals officers to decide such cases.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A total of 113 appeals against decisions to reduce or discontinue unemployment assistance payments to small holders in County Kerry following factual assessment of their means are at present under consideration.

The average length of time taken to have an appeal decided in these cases is six to seven weeks.

305.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in paying unemployment benefit 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 is a landholder and extensive inquiries had to be made to establish that he fulfilled the conditions of being unemployed before his entitlement to unemployment benefit could be determined.

The inquiries were recently completed and his claim was allowed at the maximum rate payable to him £34.80 weekly. All arrears due were paid last week and further weekly payments will be made as they become due.

306.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an oral hearing of his appeal against the decision to discontinue unemployment assistance will be granted in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

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 by reason of his failure to furnish information about his means he failed to show that his means do not exceed the statutory limit.

However before referring his appeal against the disallowance to an appeals officer for determination his case has [1891] been referred again to a social welfare officer to afford him a further opportunity of disclosing his means. When these inquiries are completed his case will be referred to an appeals officer and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined in the light of his decision.

307.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in issuing a duplicate free travel card to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry as he mislaid the original some months ago.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following notification to the Department on 1 September 1983, that the person concerned had lost his free travel pass, an application form for a replacement pass was issued to him on 5 September 1983. To date this form has not been returned to the Department. A duplicate form has now been issued to him and when it is returned to the Department his entitlement to a replacement pass will be dealt with immediately.

308.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when occupational injury benefit for a period of eight weeks from 27 June 1983 will be paid 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 claimed occupational injury benefit on 13 July 1983 in respect of an incapacity resulting from an accident at work on 27 June 1983.

Pending the completion of investigations arising from the accident her entitlement to disability benefit on an interim basis was examined. On the record available she did not however satisfy the qualifying contribution conditions for disability benefit.

Inquiries made from her employers did not clearly reveal that the accident concerned was an occupational accident. Following investigations by the social welfare officer it was accepted that the accident had arisen out of and in the course of her employment. The claim was [1892] allowed and injury benefit was awarded from the date of the accident. Cheques for the sum of £301.46 have been issued in respect of the period to 20 August 1983, after which she was certified fit to resume work.

309.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange for the continued payment of disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; 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  Payment of benefit to the person concerned was disallowed from 27 September 1983 following her examination by a medical referee of the Department who considered her to be capable of work.

She appealed against this decision and in this connection arrangements are being made to have her examined by a different medical referee. Her entitlement to further payment of disability benefit will be reviewed on receipt of the report of this examination.


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