Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Wednesday, 18 January 1984

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 347 No. 1

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417.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following a reinvestigation of his means the unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that his means derived from the profit from his land exceeded the statutory limit.

He obtained an appeal application form at his local office but he has not returned it to date. When he does so arrangements will be made to have his means determined by an appeals officer. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer in his case.

418.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a non-contributory old age pension 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  It was decided by an appeals officer that the person concerned is entitled to old age pension at the weekly rate of £6.45 plus £2.70 living alone allowance from 25 October 1982 increased to £10.60 plus £3.00 living alone allowance from 1 July 1983. These are the rates appropriate to the latest assessment of the person's means consisting of the weekly letting value of a holding. If her circumstances have changed in the meantime, it is open to her to apply for an increase in pension. On receipt of an application in that regard, her entitlement will be reviewed and she will be notified of the outcome.

419.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will grant unemployment assistance at the maximum rate to [136] 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 is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at £64.05 weekly being the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him £66.90 less means £2.85 derived from the profit from land. It is open to him to apply for a reassessment of his means after which his case will be referred to a social welfare officer for investigation. A form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

420.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware of the mistake which his Department are making in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Galway as she has been denied unemployment benefit on the grounds that she is not available for work when in fact she is available for work and has been actively seeking employment in her area; 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  Availability for work is a condition of entitlement to unemployment benefit and to fulfil this condition an applicant must be capable of, available for, and genuinely seeking employment.

The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 25 May 1983 and her claim was disallowed on the grounds that she was not available for work. She appealed against the disallowance and attended an oral hearing of her case on 15 November 1983. The appeals officer upheld the disallowance and she was notified of the decision on 16 November 1983.

She ceased to sign as unemployed after 20 December 1983.

421.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a contributory pension was not paid to a widow (details supplied) in County Wicklow.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is at present in receipt of widow's non-contributory [137] pension at the rate of £11.85 per week. She has recently been granted an increase of £10 per week with effect from 3 June 1983 following a review of her case by an appeals officer. Arrangements are being made for payment of this increase and a payable order in respect of the arrears from that date will be sent to her shortly.

Her claim to widow's contributory pension was refused in August 1978 because it was held that she did not have the necessary insurance contributions but further inquiries are now being made regarding her possible entitlement to such pension. She will be notified of the outcome without delay as soon as these inquiries are completed.

422.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason free optical treatment has not been granted to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  From the details supplied by the Deputy it has not been possible to trace an RSI number to refer to the person concerned and therefore his claim to optical benefit cannot be identified. If the Deputy can supply this number the matter will be examined and the information required will be supplied to him.

423.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason optical treatment has not been granted to a person (details supplied) in County Cork as her husband has paid all the contributions.

Minister for Social Welfare (M. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  In order to qualify for optical benefit a claimant must satisfy certain statutory contribution conditions, one of which requires persons over 23 years of age to have not less than 156 weeks of insurable employment for which appropriate reckonable contributions were paid. Contributions paid in respect of the spouse of an insured person cannot be taken into account for the purpose of satisfying this condition.

The person concerned claimed optical [138] benefit on 24 November 1983. According to the Department's records she had a total of only 29 contributions paid in the 1981-82 contribution year and therefore her claim could not be approved. She was informed of the position on 21 December 1983 and asked to submit details of any other employments she might have had.

She has not replied to date to this inquiry.

424.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the first payment of a telephone rental allowance was made to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and the billing period for which it was issued.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been awarded free telephone rental allowance with effect from 1 June 1983. Credit for all rental due for the period 1 June 1983 to 31 March 1984 will be applied to her telephone account for the quarter ended 31 March 1984 which will be issued in February 1984.

425.

Mr. L. Fitzgerald: Information on Liam Fitzgerald  Zoom on Liam Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a deserted wife's allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13; the reason for the delay in having this application processed; and the amount of arrears due to her.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been awarded deserted wife's benefit with effect from 11 August 1983 at the weekly rate of £51.50, which is the maximum rate payable to a woman with one qualified child. It was necessary before a decision could be given to investigate fully all aspects of the desertion and these inquiries took somewhat longer than normal.

An order book payable from 19 January 1984 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by the claimant and she has been notified accordingly. Arrears amounting to £1,236.00 for the period from 11 August 1983 to 18 January 1984 are being held pending receipt of a claim from the Eastern [139] Health Board for a refund of the amount of supplementary welfare allowance paid by them to her during that period.

426.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the date a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan applied for a widow's pension; and when a decision will be made on her case.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The claim of the person concerned to a widow's non-contributory pension was received on 10 November 1983 and the local social welfare officer was requested to investigate her circumstances.

A copy of the late husband's Will has recently been received from the solicitor acting for the widow and it is understood from the solicitor that a transfer of land is being worked out. When final details [140] on this are received, a decision will be given in the case and the claimant will be notified of the outcome.

427.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of fuel vouchers issued in the first three months under the national fuel scheme in each health board in (a) 1982 and (b) 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The general practice among the health boards, who administer the National Fuel Scheme, is for the allowance to be paid by cheque in two or three instalments during the heating season. The number of cheque issues in the first three months varies and it is not possible to give precise information in the form requested. However, the following table gives the total number of recipients in each health board area at the end of December 1982 and December 1983, respectively:

Health Board No. of Recipients
End December1982 End December1983
Eastern 20,266 22,579 (estimated)
Midland 5,314 8,265
Mid-Western 7,306 9,118
North-Eastern 7,828 8,663 (estimated)
North-Western 9,802 9,919
South-Eastern 12,763 11,483 (estimated)
Southern 15,545 15,612
Western 9,225 9,373 (estimated)

428.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason small farmers' unemployment assistance was withdrawn from a person (details supplied) in County Cavan; and when the result of his appeal will be known.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was in receipt of unemployment assistance of £32.25 weekly until 12 July 1983 when following a review of his means he was assessed with weekly means of £43.50 derived from land, capital and his wife's pension with effect from 13 July 1983. Due to an oversight payment of unemployment assistance to him ceased. Unemployment assistance has now been authorised at the weekly rate of £4.85 from 13 July 1983 increased to £7.25 from 5 October 1983. These are the maximum rates appropriate in his case of £48.35 and £50.75 respectively less means £43.50. All arrears due will be paid to him this week. Further weekly payments of £7.25 will continue to be made as they become due.

No appeal was received from the person concerned.

[141]429.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan is not receiving a dependant's allowance in respect of her husband with her disability benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 6 March 1982 and has claimed an increase in respect of her husband. She is not entitled to any increase in payment as her husband is not incapable of self support by reason of physical or mental infirmity and is not being wholly or mainly maintained by her.

430.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following a review of his case the person concerned was assessed with means at £38.45 weekly derived from self-employment with effect from 29 June 1983. All arrears of unemployment assistance due to him less supplementary welfare allowance which had to be refunded to his local health board were paid on 6 January 1984. Further weekly payments at £38.10 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £76.55 less £38.45 will be made as they become due.

He has requested a review of the means assessed against him and arrangements are being made to refer his case to a social welfare officer for a further investigation. The rate of unemployment assistance payable to him will be reviewed in the light of the outcome.

431.

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

[142]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned applied for unemployment assistance on 9 January 1984. His application was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means. When these inquiries are completed, his means will be assessed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

432.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the maximum amount of a non-contributory old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is at present in receipt of old age pension at the weekly rate of £14.60. This is the rate appropriate to the assessment of her means, consisting of half the weekly value of her husband's earnings and income from livestock.

In the event of any change in her circumstances, it is open to her to apply for an increase in pension. On receipt of an application in that regard, her entitlement will be reviewed and she will be notified of the outcome.

433.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance on 1 December 1983. She was assessed with nil means and her claim was allowed at the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to her £29.40 weekly. All arrears due were paid on 20 December 1983 and further weekly payments continue to be made to her as they become due.

[143]434.

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 restored to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 1 August 1983 and was paid from 4 August 1983, fourth day in incapacity. He was requested to attend for a medical referee examination on 15 December 1983 but he failed to attend. The explanation for his non-attendance was not regarded as satisfactory and a six weeks disqualification was imposed from 18 December 1983.

Arrangements are being made to have the claimant examined on 26 January 1984. On receipt of the report of this examination his claim will be reviewed.

435.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance and his case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means. Following the completion of inquiries he was assessed with means at £53.05 weekly derived from self-employment as a painter. He was accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at £2.50 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £55.55 less £53.05 and all arrears due have been paid. Weekly payments continue to be made as they become due.

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 the investigations are completed his case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination and the rate of unemployment [144] assistance payable to him will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

436.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when investigations will be completed in respect of a payment order from his Department addressed to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick which went astray in the post.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned reported the non-receipt of a disability benefit cheque for the period from 26 August to 1 September 1983 which was issued to him on 25 August 1983. Inquiries have established that the cheque was subsequently cashed and returned to the Department with an endorsement in the claimant's name. Arrangements have been made for an inspector of the Department to call on the claimant at an early date regarding the matter.

437.

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 County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed occupational injury benefit from 11 November 1983 in respect of an incapacity which he attributed to the nature of his employment.

Pending investigation of the claim his entitlement to disability benefit on an interim basis was examined. He qualified for disability benefit from 2 January 1984 which has been paid to him less an amount which was withheld and refunded to the Mid-Western Health Board in respect of supplementary welfare allowance advanced. In the absence of any contributions in the governing contribution year 1981-82 he did not qualify for [145] disability benefit in respect of the period to 1 January 1984.

Arrangements have been made for a medical examination of the claimant on 27 January 1984 in connection with his claim for injury benefit. A decision on the claim will then be given.

438.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has not been possible to trace receipt of a claim to unemployment assistance which refers to the person named in the details supplied. Further inquiries in the matter will be made if the Deputy will furnish additional information to enable the person concerned to be identified.

439.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following exhaustion of entitlement to unemployment benefit the person concerned was assessed with means at £10.00 weekly, derived from the value of board and lodging in his parents' home, from 25 August 1983 reducing to nil with effect from 28 September 1983. He was paid all unemployment assistance to which he was entitled up to 11 October 1983 when he ceased to sign as unemployed.

He resumed claiming unemployment assistance from 15 November 1983 and weekly payments at the maximum rate of £29.40 are being made to him as they become due.

440.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare [146] when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 2 November 1983. All payment due to 3 January 1984, the date of the latest medical certificate received, has been issued. There was a slight delay in issuing payment as it was necessary to confirm details of her insurance record.

441.

Mr. De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reasons a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3 is receiving only three days' unemployment benefit at Werburgh Street employment exchange, while colleagues working similar short time in the same job are in receipt of five days' unemployment benefit at the other employment exchanges.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been laid off by his employer on a number of occasions for a week at a time and has claimed unemployment benefit at the Employment Exchange, Cumberland Street, Dublin. The most recent period of claim was from 16 December 1983 to 22 December 1983 and he was paid six days unemployment benefit on 22 December 1983. On each occasion when he was laid off work for a week he was paid six days' unemployment benefit.

None of the workers from the firm in question is proving unemployment at present. On previous occasions when they were laid off for a week, the signing and pay arrangements for those registered at Cumberland Street Employment Exchange, Dublin, were, for administrative reasons, different from those for workers registered at the Employment Exchange, Werburgh Street, but all were paid the full amount of unemployment benefit due to them in respect of the same number of days.

[147]442.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if regular payments of disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will be considered for an invalidity pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 13 April 1982 and has been paid to date. Arrangements have been made to issue payments on a regular weekly basis while medical certificates will be required only at monthly intervals in respect of the claimant's incapacity for work.

The regulations provide that the claimant, apart from satisfying the contribution conditions, must be regarded as permanently incapable of work in order to qualify for invalidity pension.

The person concerned was examined on 20 October 1983, by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was not permanently incapable of work and asked to have him referred for further examination in six months' time. His entitlement to invalidity pension will be reviewed in the light of this examination after it takes place in April 1984.

443.

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 be awarded an invalidity pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been in receipt of disability benefit since 24 November 1981 and payment has been made to date. A form on which to claim invalidity pension has been forwarded to him and on its return, duly completed, the claim will be dealt with without delay.

444.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Richard Dowling  Zoom on Richard Dowling  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason social welfare assistance is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow.

[148]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is in receipt of unemployment assistance at £25.00 weekly which is the maximum rate payable to him, £50.75 less means £25.75 derived from self-employment. He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him but an appeals officer upheld the assessment of his means at £25.75. He applied for a reinvestigation of his means on 25 November 1983 and his case has been referred to a social welfare officer for inquiries. His means will be reviewed in the light of the outcome and his rate of unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

445.

Mr. Dowling: Information on Richard Dowling  Zoom on Richard Dowling  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in Kilkenny.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance on 22 July 1983 and following investigations his means were assessed at £25.60 weekly. He appealed against this assessment and an appeals officer confirmed the assessment at £25.60 weekly. He was in receipt of £2.40 weekly, being the maximum rate of £28.00 payable in his case less means of £25.60, until he ceased to prove unemployment from 11 October 1983.

He again claimed unemployment assistance on 14 December 1983 and payment continued until he qualified for unemployment benefit on 2 January 1984. Weekly payments of £34.80 unemployment benefit are continuing as they become due.

446.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit between [149] 8 August 1983, and 31 August 1983, and again from 8 September 1983. Following the completion of inquiries to establish that he fulfilled the conditions of being available for work, his claim was authorised at the appropriate rate of £34.80 weekly. All arrears due were paid on 11 November 1983, and further payments of £34.80 are being made as they become due.

447.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a contributory widow's 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  One of the qualifying conditions for receipt of widow's contributory pension is that there must be at least 156 weeks of insurable employment in respect of which the appropriate contributions have been paid. This condition may be satisfied on the insurance of the late husband or on that of the widow. In this case there is no record of any insurance in respect of the late husband.

According to the records of the Department, the widow herself has a total of only 122 contributions paid since her entry into insurance in 1969-70 up to the date of her husband's death on 1 January 1981. The other employments referred to by the Deputy are, however, at present being investigated and when these inquiries are completed a decision will be given and the claimant will be notified of the outcome.

448.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in County Wexford is entitled to unemployment assistance; and, if so, when it will be paid.

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 ground that his means derived from profit from his land exceeded the statutory limit. He has been issued with an appeal application form and when it is returned arrangements will be made to have his means determined by an appeals officer. His entitlement [150] to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer in his case.

449.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to 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 on the grounds that his means from self-employment exceeded the statutory limit. He appealed against the disallowance of his claim but following an oral hearing of his case, the appeals officer upheld the assessment of his means as being in excess of the statutory limit. He applied for a review of his case on 24 November 1983, and the case has been referred to a social welfare officer. When the investigations are completed, the assessment of his means will be reviewed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined.

450.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance and his case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation. Inquiries in the matter were recently completed and the case is at present in transit to headquarters for assessment of his means. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined in accordance with the amount of means assessed against him.

451.

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 County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was [151] paid disability benefit in respect of the period from 2 June 1981, fourth day of incapacity, to 25 June 1982. Payment was disallowed after that date following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work. He then submitted a certificate from his doctor to the effect that he was capable of work from 1 July 1982 and claimed unemployment benefit.

In September 1982 he submitted a single medical certificate of incapacity for work and appealed against the disallowance of his disability benefit claim. Two further examinations by a different medical referee were arranged for 28 October 1982 and 22 April 1983. The claimant did not, however, attend for either examination but indicated on 20 April that he was satisfied to sign the unemployment register. He did not submit any further medical certificates and has since continued to sign the unemployment register each week at his local employment office and is paid to date.

452.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to 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 following an investigation by a social welfare officer on the grounds that his means derived from self-employment exceeded the statutory limit.

He has not signed as unemployed since 22 November 1983.

453.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following a reinvestigation of his case the unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that his means derived from the profit from land and [152] from capital exceeded the statutory limit. He appealed against the assessment of his means and in the light of contentions made by him in support of his appeal his case was referred again to a social welfare officer for further inquiries. These inquiries were recently completed and arrangements are being made to have the case determined by an appeals officer after which his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

454.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to 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 on the grounds that the means assessed against him, £31.25 weekly, exceeded the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him. His means were derived from the value of board and lodging on his parents' holding. He appealed against the decision in his case but an appeals officer upheld the assessment of his means at £31.25 weekly and he was notified accordingly on 19 December 1983.

455.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when full unemployment assistance will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was assessed with means at £48.05 weekly derived from the profit from his land. He is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at £10.25 being the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him £58.30 less £48.05. It is open to him to apply for a review of his means and his case will be referred to a social welfare officer for investigation. A form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

[153]456.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be increased in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It was decided by the local pension committee on 11 October 1983 that the person concerned is not entitled to any increase in his existing rate of pension. However, the Deputy's recent representations have been accepted as an appeal against this decision on his behalf and the matter has been referred to an appeals officer for determination. The pensioner will be notified of the outcome in due course.

457.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at £17.75 weekly, being the maximum rate payable to him £29.40 less £11.65. Means in his case are derived from board and lodging on his father's holding.

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

458.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An appeals officer assessed the means of the person concerned at £40.00 weekly, derived from the profit from his land. He is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at £10.75 weekly, being the maximum rate payable to him £50.75 less means £40.00. Further weekly payments continue to be made to him as they become due.

[154]459.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 12 December 1983 and following completion of inquiries to ascertain his contribution record his claim was authorised at £28.90 weekly and all arrears due were paid on 5 January 1984.

Pay-related benefit which is payable with flat rate unemployment benefit has been calculated at £9.30 weekly and all arrears due have been paid. Further combined payments of £38.20 weekly will continue as they become due.

460.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance following the exhaustion of his entitlement to unemployment benefit. His case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means. However, he refused to co-operate in the investigation of his claim.

He has been advised that to enable his entitlement to unemployment assistance to be determined, he must co-operate with the social welfare officer and he must reveal full details of his means.

His case has been referred again to the social welfare officer to pursue inquiries and when they are completed his means will be assessed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

461.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Dublin up to 12 December 1983, which was the date up to which a final medical certificate was submitted by him; and if [155] outstanding pay-related benefit for a four-week period will also be paid as a matter of urgency.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was paid disability benefit from 14 March to 5 December 1983, after which date payment was disallowed following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work. All pay-related benefit due to him to 5 December has also been paid.

He subsequently submitted a final medical certificate which certified him as fit to resume work on 13 December 1983.

462.

Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn: Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit 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 disability benefit but submitted only an intermediate certificate indicating that he was incapable of work on 28 November 1983. Further intermediate certificates dated 5 December and 12 December 1983 were subsequently received and payment was made from 1 December 1983, the fourth day of certified incapacity to 12 December 1983 the date of the latest medical certificate received.

The person concerned has been written to and requested to submit medical evidence covering the full period of his illness. When this is received any further benefit due will be paid.

463.

Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn: Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision will be made on an appeal by a person (details supplied) in County Galway whose unemployment assistance was withdrawn.

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 the profit from land and from capital exceeded the statutory limit. He appealed against the amount of [156] means assessed against him and his case has been referred to an appeals officer for determination. A decision in the case will be made as soon as possible.

464.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying an old age contributory pension to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will expedite the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  One of the conditions for receipt of old age contributory pension under the Social Welfare Acts requires a claimant to have a yearly average of at least 20 reckonable contributions over the period from the beginning of the 1953 contribution year or from the beginning of the year in which he entered into insurance, whichever is the later, to the end of the last complete contribution year before he reached pension age. The person concerned does not satisfy this condition as the Department's records show that he had a total of only 104 such contributions in the required period from 5 January 1953 to 5 April 1983 and this is equal to a yearly average of only three. There are no contributions recorded in respect of him since 1954.

His entitlement to old age non-contributory pension is being investigated.

465.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a death grant will be paid to the relatives of a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  No claim for death grant has, as yet been received in the Department for this case. A letter requesting an application from for death grant was received on 12 January 1984. A claim form has been issued to the claimant and, on its return, the claim will receive prompt attention.

466.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; [157] 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 entitlement of the person concerned to unemployment benefit cannot be determined until inquiries establish that his employment was insurable at a class of contribution which provided cover against unemployment and that the appropriate contributions are paid. Investigations are still being made in the matter and it is expected that the inquiries will be completed shortly.

467.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan as he has been waiting for payment for seven weeks.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has not been possible to trace a benefit claim for the person concerned. If the RSI number of the claimant can be quoted this will enable the claim to be identified and the information sought by the Deputy to be supplied.

468.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision on an appeal by a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan against a reduction in small farmers' unemployment assistance will be taken.

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. His case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation and inquiries are still being made in the matter. The rate of unemployment assistance payable to him will be reviewed in the light of the outcome.

In the meantime weekly payments of unemployment assistance at £9.90 being the maximum rate payable to him £48.35 less means £38.45 continue to be made to him as they become due.

469.

Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn: Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a free [158] telephone rental application will be sanctioned for 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 has been approved for free telephone rental allowance and a notification to this effect was issued to him on 19 August 1983. Bord Telecom Éireann have been advised of the decision and will arrange to apply the allowance from the date on which telephone service is provided.

470.

Mr. Geoghegan-Quinn: Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance has been withdrawn in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if it will be restored at the previous level.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Entitlement to unemployment assistance is subject to the condition that the applicant make himself available for a reasonable opportunity of obtaining employment.

The applicant failed to attend a National Manpower Service interview and consequently a six weeks disallowance was given effective from 28 December 1983. He was given an opportunity to explain his failure to attend the interview but his explanation was not satisfactory.

It is open to him to appeal against the disallowance. A form for this purpose may be obtained from his local office.

471.

Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn: Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be sanctioned for a person (details supplied) in County Galway who applied at the end of September last.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned applied for unemployment assistance on 9 September 1983 and he was issued with an application form for completion which he returned on 20 October 1983. His case was then referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means. Inquiries are still being made in the matter as the applicant has not to date furnished [159] particulars of his capital as requested by the social welfare officer. When he does so his means will be assessed in the light of the report of the social welfare officer and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

In the meantime he is in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance pending the outcome of his unemployment assistance claim.

472.

Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn: Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision will be made on an appeal by a person (details supplied) in County Galway against the total withdrawal of his unemployment assistance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following investigation of his means by a social welfare officer, the unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed from 7 December 1983 on the grounds that his means derived from land and capital exceeded the statutory limit. He recently appealed at his local office against this disallowance of his unemployment assistance claim and arrangements are being made to submit his case to an appeals officer.

His case will be determined by an appeals officer as early as possible and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of his decision.

473.

Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn: Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in County Galway is entitled to a free travel pass.

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 is not, as such, entitled to free travel. His entitlement to invalidity pension is, however, being examined and if this pension is awarded a free travel pass will be issued to him automatically.

474.

Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn: Information on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  Zoom on Máire Geoghegan-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason [160] unemployment assistance has been withdrawn in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Entitlement to unemployment assistance is subject to the condition that the applicant make himself available for a reasonable opportunity of obtaining employment. He failed to attend an interview arranged for him by National Manpower Service. He was given an opportunity to explain the reason why he failed to attend the interview but the explanation furnished by him was not satisfactory and his claim was disallowed for six weeks from 28 December 1983.

If he is dissatisfied with the decision in his case, it is open to him to appeal and to have the matter determined by an appeals officer. A form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

475.

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 County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Entitlement to pay-related benefit with flat-rate benefit is subject to the condition that the weekly sum of pay-related benefit, flat-rate unemployment benefit and income tax rebate may not exceed 85 per cent of the net average weekly earnings of a claimant.

The 85 per cent limit applicable to the person concerned is £79.37 and as the flat-rate unemployment benefit payable since 8 December 1983 is £90.15 weekly, pay-related benefit is not payable in his case.

476.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will have payment of disability benefit restored to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 11 October 1983 and has been paid to 11 January 1984, the date of the latest medical [161] certificate received. Payments were made on receipt of medical evidence of incapacity for work in the Department.

477.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance on 28 November 1983 and his claim was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation. Inquiries are still being made in the case and when they are completed his means will be assessed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

478.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Entitlement to unemployment benefit is subject to the condition that to be available for work a claimant must be genuinely seeking employment.

His claim was disallowed from 15 September 1983 to 26 October 1983 on the grounds that he left his employment voluntarily. Inquiries as to his availability from 27 October 1983 are being made and he has been asked to specify what efforts he is making to find employment on a number of occasions but he has not replied to date. When he does his entitlement to unemployment benefit will be considered with effect from 27 October 1983.

479.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the position regarding an application for a non-contributory old age pension made by a person (details supplied) in Country Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The application of the person concerned for an old age contributory pension has been rejected on the grounds [162] that he does not satisfy the statutory contribution conditions. There is no trace of an application for a non-contributory old age pension having been received in the Department, in this case.

480.

Mr. Gregory-Independent: Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the specific reasons a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7 was refused on appeal unemployment and disability benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Entitlement to unemployment benefit is subject to the condition that to be available for work a person must be genuinely seeking work. The unemployment benefit claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that by reason of not genuinely seeking work she was not available for work on and from 21 July 1983. She appealed the disallowance but did not attend the oral hearing which was arranged for 16 November 1983. The appeals officer disallowed the appeal.

She claimed disability benefit from 29 July 1983 until 27 September 1983 when she was found capable of work by a medical referee. She was again examined by a medical referee on 23 November 1983 who also expressed the opinion that she was capable of work. She then submitted a final medical certificate stating that she was fit to resume work on 1 December 1983. A form of appeal issued to her on 25 November 1983 for completion should she wish to have her case in respect of the period 28 September 1983 to 30 November 1983 referred to an appeals officer for determination. To date the completed form has not been received.

481.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a non-contributory widow's pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following receipt of a claim to widow's non-contributory pension from the person concerned on 18 August last, the local social welfare officer was requested to investigate and report on her circumstances.

[163] Interim reports received from the officer have stated that certain details about her late husband's estate, requested from her solicitor on several occasions, have not, as yet, been received. In the absence of such information a full assessment of the widow's means, necessary to establish her possible entitlement to non-contributory pension, cannot be completed.

When the officer's final report is received a decision will be given on the claim and the widow will be notified.

482.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance/benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

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 exceeded the statutory limit. He has been issued with an appeal application form and when it is returned arrangements will be made to have his means determined by an appeals officer. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer in his case. He signed for unemployment assistance from 19 July 1983 to 16 August 1983 only.

483.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid 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 was a postal applicant for unemployment benefit who exhausted his title on 6 February 1982 when he exhausted 390 days. He was advised of his right to claim unemployment assistance but did not do so. However, he continued to furnish evidence of unemployment and credited contributions have been allowed to him.

He has again been written to and advised of his right to claim unemployment assistance. If he does so his case will be referred to a social welfare officer for investigation after which his means [164] will be assessed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

484.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The investigation of the old age pension claim of the person concerned will be completed shortly and the case 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 committee's decision.

485.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying a children's allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and when payment will be made.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Payment of children's allowance was suspended in this case from July 1983 as information was received that the claimant had taken up residence in the United Kingdom and was in receipt of United Kingdom Child Benefit in respect of her three children. When correspondence was issued to her Irish address in August 1983 it was returned marked “Gone Away”.

It has now been established that the claimant was resident in the United Kingdom from February 1982 to July 1982 and again from July 1983 to September 1983. As she received children's allowance during the period February 1982 to July 1982 an overpayment of £183.00 has occurred on her claim.

Children's allowance has now been restored to her with effect from October 1983. In order to recover the overpayment, arrears of children's allowance for the period October to December have been withheld and deductions are also being made from her current entitlement.

Children's allowance at the rate of £22.50 per month is now in payment to the claimant and this will be increased to [165] £33.75 per month in respect of her three qualified children when recovery of the overpayment has been effected.

486.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite payment of unemployment 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 unemployment benefit on 21 November 1983. Her claim was authorised at £34.80 weekly being the maximum rate appropriate in her case.

All benefit due to date has been paid and further weekly payments are continuing as they become due.

487.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite payment of 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  Following the completion of inquiries the person concerned was assessed with means of £9.00 weekly derived from the value of board and lodging in his parents' home. He is accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at £19.00 weekly being the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him £28.00 less £9.00 and weekly payment commenced to be made on 12 January 1984. The balance of any arrears due will be paid to him when the amount of supplementary welfare allowance, which was paid to him by his local health board pending the outcome of his unemployment assistance claim, is known.

488.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite payment of 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 person concerned is a landholder and a claimant for unemployment benefit. He did not satisfy the contribution condition of having 78 paid contributions in the three-year period prior to his claim. His claim was allowed, however, [166] as a result of an investigation of his income, derived from his land, which is less than £2.00 daily.

All arrears due have been paid and further payments of £34.80 weekly will continue as they become due.

489.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid 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 unemployment assistance and his case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means. Investigations are still being made in the matter. When they are completed his means will be assessed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

490.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite payment of disability 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 injury benefit from 8 November 1983 in respect of an incapacity which he attributed to an accident at work on 5 November 1983.

Pending the completion of investigations arising from the accident, disability benefit was allowed on an interim basis from 11 November 1983, the fourth day of incapacity and was paid in respect of the period to 14 November 1983. When the claimant forwarded a medical certificate in respect of week ended 19 December he explained that he had failed to complete medical certificates which he had submitted since 15 November previously. These certificates accordingly could not be associated with his claim for payment purposes.

In the meantime his employers confirmed details of the occupational accident and injury benefit was awarded from 7 November 1983, the first day of incapacity. Injury benefit has now been paid over and above the disability benefit already paid on an interim basis and less [167] an amount which was withheld and refunded to the Southern Health Board in respect of supplementary welfare allowance advanced to him.

491.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will grant on appeal unemployment benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry in view of the fact that she is genuinely seeking employment; 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  Entitlement to unemployment benefit is subject to the condition that to be available for work a claimant must be genuinely seeking employment.

Following the completion of inquiries the unemployment benefit claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that by reason of not genuinely seeking work she was not available for employment from 6 October 1983. She appealed against the disallowance and arrangements are being made to have her case heard at the earliest opportunity. Her entitlement to unemployment benefit will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

492.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the 13 weeks delay in paying unemployment assistance 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  Extensive inquiries were necessary to determine the means of the person concerned before his entitlement to unemployment assistance could be determined. He was assessed with means £23.20 derived from the benefit of his wife's earnings and from capital. He is accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at £25.15 weekly being the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him £48.35 less £23.20. Arrangements have been made to pay all arrears due this week and further payments will be made as weekly payments become due.

[168]493.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will pay unemployment benefit from the date of the original application 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  The person concerned is a landholder and an applicant for unemployment benefit. He does not satisfy the contribution condition of having 78 paid contributions in a three-year period prior to his claim and his entitlement to unemployment benefit cannot be determined until inquiries to establish whether the income from his holding exceeds £2.00 per day are completed. In addition inquiries are also being made to clarify the periods when he was employed and the appropriate contribution class applicable to his employment.

He is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at £33.10 weekly pending the outcome of the investigations in his case.

494.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry as he is in a difficult financial position; 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 entitlement of the person concerned to unemployment assistance could not be determined until he supplied the social welfare officer who investigated his case certain details of farm income. He recently furnished the required information after which he was assessed with means at £26.70 derived from the value of board and lodgings on his parents' holding and from capital.

All arrears of unemployment assistance due to him were paid on 10 January 1984 and further payments at £2.70 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £29.40 less £26.70 will be made as they become due.

If he is dissatisfied with the amount of means assessed against him, it is open to him to appeal and to have his means [169] determined by an appeals officer. A form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

495.

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 the pay-related rate of unemployment 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  The person concerned is not entitled to pay-related benefit with flat-rate unemployment benefit as she has no reckonable earnings in the income tax period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982 which governs her entitlement. Weekly payments of flat-rate unemployment benefit at £33.55 continue to be made to her as they become due.

496.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the pay-related rate of unemployment benefit will be paid 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  The entitlement of the person concerned to pay-related benefit with flat-rate unemployment benefit is subject to the condition that his earnings in the income tax period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982 are not less than £1,800.

His total earnings during the period amounted to £1,566 and accordingly pay-related benefit is not payable in his case.

497.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will grant unemployment assistance at the maximum rate to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry as he is genuinely seeking employment 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 person concerned was assessed with means of £27.30 weekly, derived from the value of board and lodging on his uncle's holding. He is accordingly in receipt of unemployment assistance [170] at the rate of 70p weekly, being the maximum rate payable to him £28.00 less £27.30.

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

498.

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 children's allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry in respect of her daughter; 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  Children's allowance in respect of the child in question has been awarded with effect from September 1983, the month following which the child became resident with the claimant and the appropriate allowance book and arrears have now been issued. The claimant is now in receipt of £22.50 a month in respect of her two qualified children.

The delay in dealing with this case was due initially to the fact that the claimant misquoted her reference number on the application. Her letter correcting the error was not associated with her claim for some time because of the seasonal build-up of claims on the reopening of the schools after the summer holidays.

499.

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 has been in receipt of disability benefit since 25 January 1982 and payment has been made to date.

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

500.

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.

[171]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been in receipt of disability benefit since 24 November 1981 and payment has been made to date.

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

501.

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 has been in receipt of disability benefit since 22 November 1982 and payment is being made at regular weekly intervals.

Invalidity pension is payable in place of disability benefit to insured persons who satisfy the contribution conditions and who are permanently incapable of work. In this connection arrangements are being made to have him examined by a medical referee on 26 January 1984. His entitlement to invalidity pension will be reviewed in the light of the report of this examination.

502.

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 has been in receipt of disability benefit since 9 September 1981 and payment is being made at regular weekly intervals.

Invalidity pension is payable in place of disability benefit to insured persons who satisfy the contribution conditions and who are permanently incapable of work. In this connection the medical adviser of the Department has requested his doctor to forward a report on his medical condition to him. His entitlement to invalidity pension will be reviewed in the light of this report when it is received.

[172]503.

Mr. Gregory-Independent: Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will, in view of the memorandum (details supplied) submitted to him by the Irish Union of Distributive Workers and Clerks, on behalf of their members who are employed by a firm (details supplied) in Dublin 1, reconsider their request for the payment of unemployment benefit during the period of the recent trade dispute in the firm.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The unemployment benefit claims of the workers concerned were disallowed on the grounds that they lost their employment by reason of a trade dispute at their place of employment. The disallowance was upheld by an appeals officer following an oral hearing which took place on 22 July 1983. An application was then made to the Social Welfare Tribunal but the tribunal rejected the application.

The document furnished by the Deputy was brought to the notice of an appeals officer but he did not consider that it contained any new evidence or new facts which would warrant a revision of the original decision. Accordingly, the persons concerned are not entitled to unemployment benefit for the period of the dispute.

504.

Mr. Fitzsimons: Information on James N. Fitzsimons  Zoom on James N. Fitzsimons  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit was not paid to a person (details supplied) in County Meath for the period 22 November to 6 December 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 23 November 1983 and has been paid to 9 January 1984, the date of the latest medical certificate received. There was no undue delay in issuing payments in this case.

505.

Mr. Fitzsimons: Information on James N. Fitzsimons  Zoom on James N. Fitzsimons  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit has been reduced in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Meath even though she has the [173] required amount of contributions for benefit at the maximum rate.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  In order to qualify for the higher rate of unemployment benefit from the 157th day of signing as unemployed a claimant must satisfy the condition of having an average of not fewer than 280 reckonable contributions paid in respect of insurable employment in the seven complete contribution years immediately prior to the date of making the claim. The person concerned did not satisfy this condition and her claim to unemployment benefit was rerated at the special rate of £28.90 per week from 1 December 1983. In her case the 20 per cent phase of pay-related benefit became effective on 1 December 1983 and her weekly rate of pay-related benefit was reduced from £8.03 to £6.42.

Further payments of unemployment benefit and pay-related benefit at the combined weekly rate of £35.32 will be made as they become due.

506.

Mr. J. Leonard: Information on James Leonard  Zoom on James Leonard  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in taking a decision on unemployment assistance for a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The entitlement of the person concerned could not be determined until investigations by the social welfare officer to enable his means to be assessed had been completed. The social welfare officer made a number of void calls to his home address before being able to interview him and inquiries in the matter were only recently completed.

The case is in transit to a deciding officer in headquarters for an assessment of his means on the basis of the report of the social welfare officer. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

507.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an appeal by a person (details supplied) in County Cork against the decision to disqualify him for disability benefit will be heard.

[174]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed occupational injury benefit on 18 July 1983 in respect of an incapacity resulting from an accident at work on 14 July 1983. Pending the completion of investigations resulting from the accident he was paid disability benefit from 19 July 1983, the fourth day of certified incapacity, and also pay-related benefit from 5 August 1983, the 19th day of certified incapacity.

He was examined by a medical referee on 26 September 1983 who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work and as a result benefit was disallowed from 26 September 1983. The claimant continued to furnish medical certificates of incapacity.

Representations received from the Deputy regarding the disallowance were treated as notice of an appeal against the decision. Arrangements have been made for a further examination by a different medical referee on 25 January. The decision will be reviewed in the light of the result of the second examination. If the claimant is found to be capable of work, his appeal will then be referred to the appeals officer for consideration.

Following confirmation by his employers of details of the occupational accident, claimant was allowed injury benefit from 16 July 1983, the first day of incapacity. Injury benefit in respect of the period to 24 September 1983 over and above the benefit already paid has been issued to him.

508.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  One of the qualifying conditions for receipt of deserted wife's allowance/benefit by a claimant under 40 years of age is that she must have at least one qualified child residing with her. This condition is not satisfied by the person concerned who is 37 years of age. Her claim has consequently been disallowed and she has been notified accordingly. [175] She is currently in receipt of unemployment assistance from the Department.

509.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision will be made on a claim by a person (details supplied) for disability benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 22 April 1983 and submitted medical evidence of incapacity for work to 21 December 1983. He is not qualified for benefit as according to the records of the Department he has fewer than the required minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in 1981-82, the contribution year governing his claim. The claimant's record of insurable employment from 1981 is being investigated by an outdoor officer of the Department and when the inquiries are completed his claim for benefit will be reviewed.

510.

Mr. L. Fitzgerald: Information on Liam Fitzgerald  Zoom on Liam Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a deserted wife's allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 as she is at present experiencing extreme hardship.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been awarded deserted wife's allowance with effect from 12 May 1983 in respect of herself and two qualified children at the maximum rate of £52.30 per week, increased to £58.55 from 30 June 1983. An order book payable from 19 January 1984 has been forwarded to the designated post office for collection by the claimant and she has been notified accordingly.

A payable order in respect of arrears for the period from 12 May 1983 to 18 January 1984, less the amount of supplementary welfare allowance paid to her by the Eastern Health Board during that time, will be issued direct to her shortly.

511.

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

[176]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance following the exhaustion of his title to unemployment benefit on 3 November 1983, when he completed 390 days. His case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means after which he was assessed with nil means.

He is accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at £50.75 weekly and payment will commence this week. The balance of any arrears due will be paid as soon as the amount of supplementary welfare allowance which was paid to him pending the outcome of his unemployment assistance claim is known.

512.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an orphan's pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford in respect of her brother.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  As already indicated to the Deputy on 13 December 1983 in reply to a previous question from him about this case, the claim of the person concerned for an orphan's pension in respect of her brother has been refused.

Representations subsequently made by the Deputy on her behalf have been accepted as an appeal against the decision and the case is being submitted to an appeals officer for determination. The claimant will be notified of this officer's decision as soon as it is given.

513.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Availability for work is a condition of entitlement to unemployment benefit and to fulfil this condition, an applicant must be capable of, available for and genuinely seeking employment.

The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 6 September 1983 and her claim was disallowed on the grounds that she was not available for [177] work. She was notified of the disallowance on 7 October 1983 at which time she ceased to sign the unemployment register.


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