Ceisteanna—Questions. Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Wednesday, 2 May 1984

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 350 No. 1

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639.

Mr. Briscoe: Information on Ben Briscoe  Zoom on Ben Briscoe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Dublin who had made an application for unemployment assistance and who waited at her home for three weeks for a social welfare officer to call has now been granted the unemployment assistance, has not been allowed assistance for the three weeks that she was waiting for the officer to call; and if he will instruct his Department to pay her the unemployment assistance to which she was obviously entitled and did not receive because of the delay on the part of his Department.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance on 18 January 1984 and her case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of her means. She was subsequently assessed with means at £0.15 weekly derived from capital and her unemployment assistance claim was allowed at the weekly rate of £28.75 being the maximum rate payable to her £28.90 less means £0.15. All arrears due less supplementary welfare allowance which she received pending the outcome of her unemployment assistance claim have been paid and [69] weekly payments are continuing. She was advised at her local office that she must continue to sign as unemployed while awaiting a decision on her claim but she failed to do so from 15 February 1984 to 19 March 1984 and unemployment assistance was not payable in respect of that period. She applied for permission to sign retrospectively but her application was refused on the grounds that she did not show good cause for her failure to sign as unemployed during the period in question.

640.

Mr. Briscoe: Information on Ben Briscoe  Zoom on Ben Briscoe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 has had his unemployment benefit reduced by £8.45 and who as a result of this reduction is suffering considerable hardship.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was in receipt of unemployment assistance at the maximum rate of £28.90 weekly until 27 March 1984. Following a review of the case his means were increased to £8.45 weekly derived from self-employment. He was therefore entitled to the weekly rate of £20.45 — £28.90 the maximum rate less means £8.45 and payment is continuing at this rate. He recently appealed and the case has been returned to the social welfare officer for further inquiries in the light of contentions made by him in support of his appeal. When these inquiries are completed his means will be assessed by an appeals officer and the rate of unemployment assistance payable to him will be reviewed accordingly.

641.

Mr. Briscoe: Information on Ben Briscoe  Zoom on Ben Briscoe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to have a medical examination carried out in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 who is quite severely disabled and who has been refused a free bus pass because she in not in receipt of a disability pension; 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  To qualify for free travel the person concerned as well as being permanently incapable of work would also [70] need to be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare type payment in respect of her incapacity. She is, however, engaged in full-time employment and is not in receipt of benefit from this Department. In those circumstances she would not, therefore, satisfy the qualifying conditions for receipt for free travel.

642.

Mr. L. Fitzgerald: Information on Liam Fitzgerald  Zoom on Liam Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin, 13 who is in receipt of a deserted wife's allowance has had assistance, by way of the payment of a rent allowance and gas bills, withdrawn from her by the Eastern Health Board from October, 1983; 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  Under the supplementary welfare allowances scheme the amount of any payment of supplementary welfare allowance in respect of rent or mortgage interest is a matter to be decided by the health board having regard to the circumstances of each particular case. It is understood from the Eastern Health Board that the person concerned was paid supplementary welfare allowance together with a weekly supplement of £5 towards her mortgage interest while she was awaiting a decision on her claim to deserted wife's benefit. Payment of the allowance ceased on 1 October 1983 when she was awarded deserted wife's benefit and it was considered that payment of a supplement towards mortgage interest was no longer warranted having regard to the level of the mortgage repayments and her income as a deserted wife.

It is also understood that the person concerned received assistance towards payment of gas and electricity bills on a number of occasions in 1983 under a provision which enables the health board, in any case where it considers it reasonable, to make a single payment to meet an exceptional need. Payments under this heading are made on a once-off basis and there is no provision for continuing payments. It is understood, however, that from October 1983 the person concerned was granted an allowance of £4 weekly under the national fuel scheme.

[71]643.

Mr. L. Fitzgerald: Information on Liam Fitzgerald  Zoom on Liam Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason the Eastern Health Board decided to withdraw a rent allowance of £5.00 per week and assistance in the payment of gas bills for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13 who is in receipt of a deserted wife's allowance; 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  Under the regulations governing the supplementary welfare allowances scheme the amount of any payment of supplementary welfare allowance in respect of rent or mortgage interest payments is a matter to be determined by the health board which must decide what is reasonable in the circumstances of each particular case. It is understood from the Eastern Health Board that, following a review of the circumstances of the person concerned, it was decided that having regard to the level of her mortgage interest repayments and her income as a deserted wife she should not be entitled to a payment in respect of mortgage interest.

It is understood that the person concerned received assistance towards payment of her gas bills on a number of occasions under a provision which enables the health board, in any case where it considers it reasonable, to make a single payment to meet an exceptional need. Payments under this heading are made on a once-off basis and there is no provision for continuing payments in respect of gas bills. It is understood however that from October 1983 the person concerned was granted an allowance of £4 weekly under the national fuel scheme.

644.

Mr. L Fitzgerald: Information on Liam Fitzgerald  Zoom on Liam Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the rate at which an invalidity pension is being paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5; the reason for this rate; and when he is due to be granted an increase in the current year.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is in [72] receipt of invalidity pension at the weekly rate of £39.75. This is the maximum rate payable in respect of a single man who is under 66 years of age.

The rate of invalidity pension will be increased to £42.55 from 5 July 1984 and a supplementary pension order book payable from that date covering this increase has been issued to the designated post office of payment.

645.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite an increase in the old age pension of a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It was decided by an appeals officer on 10 April 1984 that the person concerned is entitled to old age pension at the weekly rate of £22.60 from 16 February 1984, date claimant reached 66 years. This is the rate to which he is entitled having regard to the assessment of his means, consisting of the weekly value of a holding and capital. The appropriate pension book payable from 17 February 1984 was issued on 17 February 1984.

646.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will approve the maximum rate of unemployment assistance for 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 was assessed with means of £23.70 weekly derived from the profit from his holding and from capital following a re-investigation of his case by a social welfare officer. He is accordingly in receipt of weekly unemployment assistance at £5.70 being the maximum rate payable to him £29.40 less £23.70. If he is dissatisfied with the amount of means assessed against him it is open to him to appeal and to have his means determined by an appeals officer. A form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

647.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite the [73] appeal against the refusal of unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The unemployment assistance case of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that the means, £48.05 exceeded the maximum rate payable. Means were derived from land. He appealed and an appeals officer also decided that his means exceeded the rate payable. The applicant recently furnished further details of expenses which he contends were incurred by him in earning his income. His case was referred to the appeals officer to enable him to consider whether the details supplied warranted a revision of his decision. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the appeals officer's decision.

648.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason only a low rate of widow's pension was approved for a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The non-contributory widow's pension which is in payment to the person concerned was recently reviewed to take account of increases in her British pension since the previous assessment of her means was carried out. This review resulted in a reduction in her Irish pension from £23.85 per week to £19.85 per week with effect from 6 April 1984. It will be increased to £22.50 from 6 July next. This is the rate of pension payable to a widow under 66 years of age with no qualified children whose weekly means exceed £22.00 but do not exceed £24.00. The claimant's means derived from a British pension and a ½ share in a holding are assessed at £24.00 per week.

In view of information supplied in representations received recently from the Deputy, which have been accepted as an appeal against the decision to reduce the rate of pension, the social welfare officer has been requested to furnish an up-to-date report on the case. When this report is received the case will be forwarded [74] to an appeals officer for determination and the claimant will be notified of the outcome.

649.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite the approval of small holders unemployment assistance 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 exhausted his title to unemployment benefit on 14 February 1984 when he received 390 days benefit after which he claimed unemployment assistance. His case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means. Inquiries are still being made in the case but it is expected that they will be completed shortly. His means will be assessed in the light of the outcome of the investigations and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

650.

Mr. J. Fahey: Information on John Fahey  Zoom on John Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in the payment of unemployment benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 16 February 1984. His claim was disqualified from 10 February to 23 March 1984 on the grounds that he lost employment through circumstances within his own control. His entitlement to unemployment benefit from 24 March 1984 could not be determined until inquiries to establish that he fulfilled the conditions of being available for work were completed. These investigations were recently completed and his claim was allowed at the weekly flat-rate unemployment benefit £82.50 and pay-related benefit £46.00. All arrears due, less the amount of supplementary welfare allowance, which he received pending the outcome of his claim, were paid on 20 April 1984. Further combined payments of £128.50 will be made as they become due.

[75]651.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will confirm that a free electricity allowance and a free TV licence will be granted to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 as he applied on 15 March 1984.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The ESB have been instructed to apply a free electricity allowance to the account of the person concerned from the June-July billing period onwards. He also qualifies for a free television licence which he may obtain on application at the local post office.

652.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will take steps to ensure that a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 who has two eligible children and who is now unemployed will be granted unemployment assistance in view of the fact that he has no other source of income and has been refused unemployment assistance which he has now appealed.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was assessed with means in excess of the statutory limit of £3,387.80 per annum derived from self-employment and his unemployment assistance claim was disallowed. He has appealed against the disallowance of his claim and his case has been referred to an appeals officer for determination. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer. He is at present in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance pending the outcome of his unemployment assistance claim.

653.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will review the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8 who is 80 years old and lives alone in private accommodation with a view to granting assistance towards the rent as he is now threatened with eviction and a decree has been granted in his case for rent arrears.

[76]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The claim of the person concerned for a rent allowance was refused on the ground that his weekly means derived from an ESB pension exceeded the maximum amount at which an allowance would be payable in his case. He has appealed against the decision and when the appeals officer has given his decision he will be notified of the outcome.

654.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will re-investigate the case where a person (details supplied) in County Wexford was refused unemployment assistance on the grounds that his means exceeded the statutory limit even though he has no means.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was assessed with means in excess of the statutory limit derived from the benefit of a half share in the capital value of a holding not personally used by him and from capital. His unemployment assistance claim following the exhaustion of his entitlement to unemployment benefit was accordingly disallowed. He recently appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and his case has been referred to an appeals officer for determination. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

655.

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 an application for a deserted wife's allowance for a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The claim to deserted wife's allowance/benefit of the person concerned is at present under investigation. The claimant has been visited by a local officer of the Department but it will also be necessary to have her husband interviewed in order to obtain his version of the circumstances which led to the break-up of the marriage. It is hoped to [77] call on him shortly and when the report of this interview is received a decision will be given in the case without delay and the claimant will be notified. Meanwhile she is in receipt of the dependants' portions of her husband's disability benefit payment, in respect of herself and her two children.

656.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be approved for a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been in receipt of old age pension at the maximum rate plus living alone allowance from 19 October 1977.

657.

Mr. J. Fahey: Information on John Fahey  Zoom on John Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in having a children's allowance book and arrears forwarded to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed a continuation of children's allowance in respect of one of his children in November 1983. The allowance was, in error, awarded at the rate of £11.25 a month instead of £17.50 per month. The claimant returned the incorrect allowance book, which had issued to him, on 9 March 1984 and a replacement book at the rate of £17.50 payable from April 1984 was issued to him on 19 April 1984. A payable order for £18.75 in respect of arrears due for the period January to March 1984 was issued to him on 18 April 1984.

The claimant is now in receipt of £73.75 monthly which is the correct rate of allowance for six children.

The delay in returning the allowance book, which was due to a filing error, is regretted.

658.

Mr. J. Fahey: Information on John Fahey  Zoom on John Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in having unemployment assistance paid to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford.

[78]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 investigations about his means were completed. He failed to co-operate with the social welfare officer on his first visit. He was however given a further opportunity of disclosing his means but the social welfare officer was not satisfied that he had fully disclosed all aspects of his means. His claim was disallowed on the grounds that by failing to furnish particulars of his means he failed to show that his means did not exceed the statutory limit. If he is now prepared to co-operate fully in the investigation of his means it is open to him to appeal and have his entitlement decided by an appeals officer.

659.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance was reduced to £2.55 per week in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry as he is married with one qualified child and is in poor financial circumstances; if he will arrange to have his case re-investigated with a view to restoring unemployment assistance to him at the maximum rate; 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  Following a re-investigation of his unemployment assistance claim the means of the person concerned were reassessed at £55.75 weekly derived from the profit from his land. He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and an appeals officer also assessed his means at £55.75 weekly. He is accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at £2.55 weekly.

He applied for a review of his means and his case was again referred to a social welfare officer and inquiries are still being made in the matter. When they are completed his means will be reviewed and the rate of unemployment assistance payable to him will be determined accordingly.

660.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason the rate [79] of unemployment assistance being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry was reduced from £77.00 to £52.00 per week in view of the fact that he has no other income and no other means; 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 exhausted his title to unemployment benefit on 31 March 1984 and the payment of £52.00 which he received represented unemployment benefit due to the last 4 days of this entitlement.

He applied for unemployment assistance from 1 April 1984. He is the holder of a qualification certificate with means assessed at £8.65 weekly. He is entitled to unemployment assistance at £71.65 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £80.30 less £8.65 and payments are being made to him as they become due. His case has been referred to a social welfare officer for a further investigation of his means and when the inquiries are completed the assessment of his means will be reviewed and the rate of unemployment assistance payable to him will be determined accordingly.

661.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason the rate of unemployment assistance being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry was reduced from £75.00 to £69.00 per week; and if he will arrange to restore unemployment assistance to him at the maximum rate in view of the fact that he is married with six qualified children and is not in good financial circumstances.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was assessed with means at £23.05 weekly derived from the profit from his holding and from self-employment as a hackney driver. He is accordingly in receipt of unemployment assistance at £69.30 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £92.35 less £23.05.

If he is dissatisfied with the amount of means assessed against him it is open to him to appeal and to have his means [80] assessed by an appeals officer. A form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

662.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the position in regard to an appeal against a decision to withdraw unemployment benefit from a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

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 failing to furnish details of his means he failed to show that his means did not exceed the statutory limit. He appealed against the disallowance and he was afforded a further opportunity to disclose his full means. He co-operated with the social welfare officer and his means were assessed at £19.75 weekly derived from profit from a holding and capital from 12 October 1983. He is therefore entitled to the weekly rate of £9.65 from 12 October 1983. All arrears due were paid to him on 6 March 1984 and further weekly payments at £9.65 are being made as they become due.

663.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the position in regard to an appeal against a decision to reduce the unemployment benefit of 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 £7.30 weekly being the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him £29.40 less means £22.10 His means are derived from the value of board and lodgings on his parents' holding and from self-employment.

He did not appeal against the decision in his case but he applied in January 1984 for a reinvestigation of his means. His case was referred to a social welfare officer and inquiries are still being made in the matter. When these are completed, the assessment of his means will be reviewed and the rate of unemployment assistance payable to him will be determined accordingly.

[81]664.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an invalidity pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been awarded an invalidity pension from 3 November 1983. A pension book payable from 17 May 1984 has been issued to the designated post office of payment.

Arrears in respect of the period from 3 November 1983 to 16 May 1984, less the amount of disability benefit paid for the same period, will be withheld in part refund of an overpayment which occurred on foot of his disability benefit claim.

665.

Mr. Reynolds: Information on Albert Reynolds  Zoom on Albert Reynolds  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will take immediate action to have the small farmers income supplement restored immediately to those farmers (details supplied) in the north County Longford area whose herds have been decimated by rampant animal disease and whose land is totally unsuited for any alternative type of farming, and who have no other income; and if he will temporarily assign a welfare officer to handle it.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Before unemployment assistance can be awarded in any case the person concerned must submit an application. The persons, details of whom have been supplied by the Deputy, are being written to and invited to apply for unemployment assistance. On receipt of their applications the cases will be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

666.

Mr. Wilson: Information on John P. Wilson  Zoom on John P. Wilson  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of (i) men and (ii) women, living in (a) Cootehill (urban) area and (b) in County Cavan that are in receipt of the following social welfare benefits:- (1) unemployment benefit, (2) disability benefit, (3) pay related benefit, (4) invalidity pension, (5) contributory widow's pension, (6) deserted wife's benefit, (7) contributory orphan's allowance, (8) retirement pension, (9) contributory old age pension, [82] and (10) disablement benefit; and the number of recipients of each benefit that are (a) under 25 years old and (b) over 25 years old.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The information sought by the Deputy is not available as statistics of social welfare recipients are not maintained on an age by county basis. There is, however, a regular analysis by county, published by the Central Statistics Office, of the number of people on the live register of unemployed. According to the latest such analysis, which relates to 17 February 1984, the total number of people registered as unemployed in County Cavan was 2,914; while the number in Cootehill town was 129.

667.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A living alone allowance will be put into payment as soon as confirmation is received that the conditions for receipt of the allowance are satisfied in this case. The social welfare officer, who has called to pensioner's home on three separate occasions, has been unable to complete his inquiries as the claimant was not available for interview.

668.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance has been refused on means in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; and if he will give a breakdown of his income.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that the means assessed against him £30.25 weekly derived from the profit from his land, exceeded the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him. His income consisted mainly of moneys received from the sale of crops amounting to £4,074.00 per annum less expenses [83] amounting to £2,500.00 per annum incurred by him in earning his income.

If he is dissatisfied with the amount of means assessed against him it is open to him to appeal against the decision. A form on which to appeal may be obtained from his local office.

669.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason an old age pension has not been granted to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The old age pension claim of the person concerned has been investigated by the social welfare officer and forwarded to the local pension committee for decision. Payment of pension has not been recommended as the assessment of his means, consisting of half the weekly value of a British war pension exceeds the statutory limit of £42.

670.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A repeat claim to old age pension from the person concerned has been referred to the social welfare officer for investigation. When inquiries have been completed it will be referred to the local pension committee for decision.

If payment of pension is recommended by the social welfare officer it will be put into payment on a provisional basis pending the committee's decision.

671.

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.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 24 March 1984 and following inquiries her claim was disqualified for six weeks on the grounds that she lost her employment through circumstances within her own control. She has not appealed against the [84] disqualification to date. Inquiries are being made to establish that she fulfils the condition of being available for work from 1 May 1984 and when these are completed her entitlement to unemployment benefit will be determined.

672.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the present position regarding a deserted wife's allowance application made by 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 awarded deserted wife's allowance with effect from 19 January 1984 at the rate of £80.25 per week which is the maximum rate payable to a woman with four qualified children.

An allowance order book payable from 3 May 1984 has been sent 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 19 January 1984 to 2 May 1984, less deductions for supplementary welfare allowance paid to her during that time, will be issued to her shortly.

673.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the present position regarding an application for an old age pension made by a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The local pension committee decided on 31 March 1984 that the person concerned is entitled to an old age pension at the weekly rate of £10.60 plus £5.40 adult dependant allowance from 25 November 1983. The social welfare officer has appealed against this decision as the claimant's means, consisting of half the weekly value of a holding and capital exceed the statutory limit of £42 per week.

The person concerned will be notified of the appeals officer's decision in due course.

674.

Mr. Molloy: Information on Robert Molloy  Zoom on Robert Molloy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange for the [85] regular payment of disability benefit 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 has been in receipt of disability benefit since 12 May 1982. Payment is issued on receipt of medical evidence of incapacity in the Department and on this basis all disability benefit due to 24 April 1984, date of the latest medical certificate received, has been issued.

675.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that disability benefit payments have been withdrawn from a person (details supplied) in County Limerick since 12 March 1984 and have not been paid since even though he was hospitalised for a period of ten days in the meantime and discharged still unfit for work by the hospital authorities; if he is further aware that the appeal which was forwarded to his Department for consideration by the local social welfare officer (details supplied) has been mislaid; and if he will have the matter fully investigated and details given to Deputy Collins on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Payment of disability benefit to the person concerned was disallowed from 10 March 1984 following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work.

The local community welfare officer appealed on his behalf against the disallowance and indicated that the person concerned had been hospitalised from 12 March 1984 to 20 March 1984. A cheque paying disability benefit for the period from 12 March 1984 to 20 March 1984 less the amount of supplementary welfare allowance already advanced was issued on 1 May 1984.

In connection with his appeal arrangements have been made to have him examined by a different medical referee on 17 May 1984. His entitlement to further payment of disability benefit will be reviewed in the light of the medical referee's report following this examination.

[86] The delay in dealing with the claimant's appeal was caused by an administrative error.

676.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision will be made concerning an appeal in respect of unemployment assistance for a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The means of the person concerned were assessed at £73.05 weekly derived from the profit of his holding. He is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at £3.50 per week being the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him £76.55 less £73.05 means.

He appealed against the assessment of £73.05 on 27 April 1984 at his local office. The appeal is in transit to headquarters and when it is received it will be submitted to an appeals officer, and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the appeals officer's decision.

677.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite a decision on an unemployment assistance application for 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 unemployment assistance on 27 February 1984 and his claim was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation.

Inquiries are still being made in the case but it is expected that these will be completed shortly. His means will be assessed in the light of the outcome and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

678.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite a decision on an appeal regarding unemployment assistance for a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon.

[87]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was assessed with means at £34.90 weekly derived from the profit from land and from capital. Accordingly his means exceeded the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him and his unemployment assistance claim was disallowed.

He obtained an appeal application form at his local office but to date he has not returned it. When he does so his case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

679.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefit 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  An applicant for unemployment benefit who is a landholder and whose income from his holding exceeds £2.00 daily is not entitled to unemployment benefit unless he satisfies the contribution condition of having 78 contributions paid in a three-year period.

The person concerned is a landholder whose income from his holding exceeds £2.00 daily. Inquiries are at present being made to establish if he satisfies the contribution condition of having 78 contributions paid in a three year period. His entitlement to unemployment benefit will be reviewed in the light of the outcome of these inquiries.

In the interim unemployment assistance is being paid at the weekly rate of £33.25 being the maximum rate applicable to a married man with two dependent children with means of £33.65 assessed against him.

680.

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 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 [88] concerned to unemployment assistance could not be determined until inquiries about his means were completed. The investigations were recently completed and he was assessed with means at £15.40 weekly derived from the profit from his holding and from capital. He is accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at £76.95 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £92.35 less £15.40.

He is a postal applicant and arrangements have been made to issue him with an order for encashment at his local post office paying all arrears due this week. Further payments of unemployment assistance will be made as weekly payments become due.

681.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a prescribed relative's allowance will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been awarded a prescribed relative allowance with effect from 2 March 1984.

A pension book implementing the increase from 6 April 1984 was issued to her on 27 April 1984 and a payable order in respect of the arrears due is in the course of issue.

682.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason dental treatment has not been sanctioned to date for a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter in view of the fact that she was drawing unemployment benefit from February 1982 to 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed dental benefit on 15 March 1984. Owing to an administrative error the credited contributions arising out of her unemployment benefit claim had not been registered on her insurance record and when her claim was received she was, in the normal course for such cases, informed of the record position and [89] requested to furnish details of employment and claims during the relevant contribution year. The error was corrected on receipt of her reply.

Her claim has now been approved and both herself and her dentist have been notified.

683.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a free telephone rental service will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry as she applied some time ago.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has been approved for a free telephone rental allowance and a notification to this effect was issued to her on 27 April 1984.

Telecom Éireann has been advised of the decision and will arrange to apply the allowance from the date on which telephone service is provided.

684.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a disability payment will be issued to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed injury benefit on 10 January 1984 in respect of an incapacity which he attributed to an accident at his part-time employment on 5 December 1983.

Pending the completion of investigations resulting from the accident his entitlement to disability benefit on an interim basis was examined. The contributions recorded in respect of him in the governing contribution years 1981-82 and 1982-83 are at Class H — the rate appropriate an enlisted member of the Defence Forces. The contributions do not reckon for disability benefit purposes while the person in respect of whom they have been paid continues to serve as a member of the Defence Forces. The person concerned is still a serving member of the Defence Forces and he was not, therefore, entitled to disability benefit based on these contributions. His part-time employment is insurable for occupational injuries benefits only.

Following investigations injury benefit [90] was allowed in respect of periods of absence from work resulting from the incapacity from 5 December to 9 December and from 30 January to 20 March 1984. Injury benefit in respect of the periods has been paid to him.

685.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason there is a delay in the issue of disability payments to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath as all the necessary documentation has been forwarded.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 31 March 1983. Payment was issued from 4 April 1983, fourth day of incapacity, to 31 March 1984. There was a delay in issuing payment from 2 April 1984 which was caused by an administrative error. This error has since been rectified and a cheque for £98.60 representing arrears of benefit for the period from 2 April 1984 to 20 April 1984, the date of the latest medical evidence received, was issued on 30 April 1984.

Further payment of disability benefit will issue on receipt of weekly medical certificates while she remains unfit for work.

686.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will grant an oral appeal hearing without delay to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is the holder of a qualification certificate with means assessed at £57.85 derived from self-employment as a carpenter. He is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at £5.90 being the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him at £63.75 less £57.85.

He recently obtained an application form at his local office for the purpose of having the assessment of his means reviewed. When he completes and returns this form his case will be referred to a social welfare officer for investigations after which his means will be [91] reviewed and the rate of unemployment assistance payable to him will be determined accordingly.

687.

Mr. J. Fahey: Information on John Fahey  Zoom on John Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying a widow's pension to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned, whose husband died on 3 March 1984, has been awarded a widow's non-contributory pension at the weekly rate of £119 with effect from Friday, 9 March 1984. This is the maximum rate of pension payable to a widow under 66 years whose means are nil and who has eight qualified children.

Before an award of pension could be made in this case it was necessary to have claimant's circumstances examined by a social welfare officer.

A widow's pension book with orders payable from 4 May 1984 has been sent to the designated post office for collection by her and she has been notified accordingly. Arrears of pension for the period 3 March 1984 to 3 May 1984, less unemployment assistance and supplementary welfare allowance paid to her after the death of her husband, will be issued direct to her shortly by payable order.

Inquiries are continuing to establish the late husband's full insurance record. When these inquiries are completed a decision on her claim to contributory widow's pension will be given. The husband also held a British insurance number and her possible entitlement to a British widow's pension under the provisions of EEC regulations will also be examined.

688.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the position regarding an application for the payment of unemployment assistance made 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  Following reinvestigation of [92] his unemployment assistance application the means of the person concerned were assessed at £40.00 per week derived from the value of board and lodgings on his mother's holding. As this amount exceeded the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable in his case the claim was disallowed. If he is dissatisfied with the amount of means assessed against him it is open to him to appeal and to have his means determined by an appeals officer. A form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

689.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment benefit at the maximum rate is being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and, if not, the reason.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was in receipt of the maximum rate of flat-rate unemployment benefit to 6 September 1983 when he exhausted 156 days of benefit. He did not fulfil the contribution condition for continuous payment of unemployment benefit at the maximum rate and accordingly his weekly rate of unemployment benefit was reduced from £103.90 weekly to £89.45 weekly from 7 September 1983 and he is at present in receipt of payment at this rate.

He is not entitled to pay-related benefit with his flat-rate unemployment benefit as the amount of flat-rate unemployment benefit which he is paid exceeds the 85 per cent limit of £63.88 weekly, applicable in his case.

690.

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 granted 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 the person concerned to unemployment assistance cannot be determined until investigations about his means have been completed. It is however expected that the social welfare officer will complete his inquiries shortly after which his means will be assessed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined.

[93]691.

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 restored to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; the position in connection with the appeal against the decision to discontinue payment of unemployment assistance to him under the small farmers scheme; 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 was disallowed from 14 December 1983 on the grounds that the means assessed against him, £30.75 weekly, exceeded the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him. His means were derived from the profit from his land. He appealed the decision and the appeals officer also assessed his means at £30.75. He applied for a review of his case on 10 April 1984 and the case has been referred to a social welfare officer for investigation. When these inquiries are completed the assessment of his means will be reviewed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

692.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension and a living alone allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has ben in receipt of a contributory widow's pension since December 1982. She is currently getting £41.40 per week which is the maximum personal rate payable to a widow over 66 years of age with no qualified children. The pension was awarded on the basis of her late husband's insurance contributions.

She has in addition recently been awarded a living alone allowance at the rate of £3 per week from 25 February 1984, her 66th birthday. An allowance order book with orders payable from 6 April 1984 has been sent to the designated post office for collection by her and she has been notified accordingly. [94] Arrears for the period from 25 February 1984 to 5 April 1984 amounting to £15.00 will be paid direct to her shortly by payable order.

There is no trace of a claim ever having been made by the person concerned for a contributory or non-contributory old age pension.

To be eligible for the award of a contributory old age pension she would herself need to have been insurably employed and to satisfy the insurance contribution conditions. She indicated in her claim to widow's pension that she was employed from 1934 to 1946. However, the condition requiring a yearly average of at least 20 contributions paid or credited, could not be satisfied by her as it is only contributions from and subsequent to 1953 that are reckonable for this purpose.

It would not be in her interest to change to non-contributory old age pension because the maximum rate of that pension is less than the contributory widow's pension at present in payment to her.

693.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a pension book will be issued to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The old age pension claim of the person concerned has been investigated and referred to the local pension committee for decision. Pension at the weekly rate of £10.60 has been recommended with effect from 20 February 1984. This is the rate of pension to which she is entitled having regard to the assessment of her means, consisting of half the weekly value of her husband's British invalidity pension.

The appropriate pension book payable from 6 April 1984 has been issued on a provisional basis pending the committee's decision and a payable order covering the arrears due in respect of the period 20 February 1984 to 5 April 1984 issued separately.


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