Thursday, 10 May 1984
Dáil Eireann Debate
Mr. Enright: asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Laois as she has been signing since November 1983 and has received no payment yet.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance and her case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of her means. The case was subsequently investigated by a social welfare officer but the case papers were lost in postal transit between the local office dealing with the claim and the headquarters of the Department.
When it was ascertained that the claim papers were missing a duplicate claim was prepared and it was referred to the social welfare officer for an urgent report on the means of the applicant. Her means will be assessed as soon as the inquiries are completed and her entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Investigations into the means of the person concerned were recently completed and she was assessed with nil means. She is, accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at the maximum rate of £28 weekly. All arrears due to her will be paid this week. Further payments will be made as weekly payments become due.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned exhausted his title to unemployment benefit when he received 390 days of benefit on 29 February 1984. He claimed unemployment assistance but following an investigation of his case by a social welfare officer his claim was disallowed on the grounds that his means derived from the profit of a shop exceeded the statutory limit applicable to him. He recently appealed at his local office against the amount of means assessed against him. Arrangements are being made to have his means determined by an appeals officer and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of his decision.
Mr. L.T. Cosgrave: asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will make an exemption for a person (details supplied) in County Dublin who is seeking a free telephone rental but is being refused same because she is receiving an American pension even though she is an Irish citizen.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): There is no record of an application for free telephone rental allowance from the person mentioned by the Deputy in the details supplied by him. Under the conditions of the scheme an allowance is payable to a person who receives any one of a number of specified pensions. An American pension is not one of those and it would not be possible  to make an exception in the case of an individual applicant.
Mr. N. Treacy: asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a free electricity allowance has not been granted to a person (details supplied) in County Galway who lives alone; if he will now grant it; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): An application for a free electricity allowance which was received from the person concerned on 3 May 1984 has been approved and the ESB has been instructed to apply the allowance to his electricity account from the May-June 1984 billing period onwards.
Mr. N. Treacy: asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a living alone allowance was not paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; if he will increase this person's old age pension and pay the living alone allowance immediately; the date on which it will be paid; the total arrears that will be paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Notification of a change in his address was received from the pensioner in January 1984 and as is normal in such instances the payment of living alone allowance was suspended until such time as the social welfare officer could confirm that the conditions for receipt of the allowance were fulfilled at the new address. This was done and the living alone allowance was restored to the pensioner on 27 March 1984 with retrospective payment to 27 January date on which payment had ceased.
A claim for increase in his old age pension has been partially investigated by the social welfare officer. Details of the sale and letting of lands and the purchase of a house have been requested and when these are received the claim will be referred to the local pension committee for decision. If an increase in pension is recommended by the social welfare officer, it will be put into payment  on a provisional basis pending the committee's decision. Meanwhile, pension at the weekly rate of £8.60 plus £3 living alone allowance will continue to be paid in accordance with the last assessment of his means.
Mr. N. Treacy: asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a widow's non-contributory pension was not paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; if farm accounts will now be acceptable in deciding this claim; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): One of the conditions for the receipt of a widow's non-contributory pension is that the claimant's means must not exceed the statutory limit applicable to her. In the case of the person concerned who is under 66 years of age with three qualified children the limit is £72.00 per week. Her means were assessed at £153.69 per week derived from a holding and capital and her application was therefor refused. She was notified of this decision on 22 March 1984 and of her right to appeal if she was dissatisfied with it but no appeal has been received to date.
Mr. N. Treacy: asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has not been granted the maximum rate of pension, in view of the fact that this person does not own any property; if he will grant him the maximum rate of pension; the weekly increase that the person will receive; the total amount of arrears that will be paid; the date that these payments will be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The claim of the person concerned for maximum rate old age pension 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 an increase in pension is recommended by the social welfare officer, it  will be put into payment on a provisional basis pending the committee's decision.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): A first certificate of incapacity for work was received from the person concerned on 13 April 1984 indicating that she was unfit for work from 6 April 1984. Payment of benefit is not ordinarily payable on a first certificate which is a notice of incapacity for work only. Continuing medical evidence is required to enable payment of benefit to be issued.
An interim certificate dated 12 April 1984 was received in the Department on 27 April 1984 and payment of benefit was issued for the period from 10 April to 12 April on 27 April. A further payment was issued on 1 May 1984 on receipt of a certificate dated 19 April 1984 which is the latest medical certificate received. If she contends that she is still incapable of work the claimant should submit medical evidence of her incapacity in order for payment of benefit to continue.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed benefit from 6 October 1983 in respect of an incapacity which he stated resulted from an accident at work on 24 August 1983. Pending the completion of investigations he was allowed disability benefit on an interim basis from 10 October, the fourth day of certified incapacity. He was also allowed pay-related benefit from 27 October, the nineteenth day of incapacity. Benefit was paid in respect of the period to 14 January 1984 after which he resumed work.
Inquiries from his employers failed to confirm the occupational accident in  respect of which benefit was claimed. Further investigations are however being carried out following which the claim to injury benefit will be reviewed. He has also claimed injury benefit from 15 February 1984 in respect of the same incapacity. Disability benefit on an interim basis has been allowed from 18 February, the fourth day of incapacity and also pay-related benefit from 7 March, the nineteenth day of incapacity. Benefit has been paid to the date of the latest medical certificate received less an amount which was withheld and refunded to the Southern Health Board in respect of supplementary welfare allowance advanced.
Mrs. O'Rourke: asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a pension will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath as all required documentation has been forwarded to his Department.
Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned has been awarded an old age contributory pension, at the rate appropriate to her yearly average of 20 contributions, with effect from 9 September 1983 i.e. 3 months prior to the date of her claim.
An old age contributory pension book containing orders payable from 4 May 1984 has been issued to the nominated post office for collection by her and she has been notified accordingly. The arrears in respect of the period from 9 September 1983 to 3 May 1984 will be issued direct to her by payable order within the next few days.
Mr. G. Collins: asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying additional children's allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick as it is on claim since November 1983.
Children's allowance at the rate of  £17.50 per month was awarded in respect of the child from December 1983. A payable order in respect of payment for December 1983 was issued on 21 March 1984 and an allowance book payable from January 1984 was issued on 1 March 1984 to the claimant's home address. The claimant reported that she did not receive either the payable order or the allowance book and a replacement book payable from December 1983 was issued direct to her home address on 8 May 1984.
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