Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Tuesday, 25 June 1985

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 359 No. 9

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133.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath who has been on disability benefit for 15 years can be transferred to an invalidity pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Invalidity pension is payable in place of disability benefit to insured persons who satisfy the contribution conditions and who are permanently incapable of work. The person concerned has been in receipt of disability benefit since 15 September 1976 and payment is being made at regular weekly intervals. Arrangements are being made to have him examined on 2 July 1985 by a medical referee. His entitlement to invalidity pension will be reviewed in the light of the report of this examination.

134.

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 the payment of a children's allowance for an additional child to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Children's allowance was awarded in respect of the child in question from February 1985 and the appropriate allowance book issued on 14 February 1985.

The claimant was recently in touch with the Department seeking payment for the months of August 1984 to January 1985 which had been refused because she was late in claiming. She has been advised that payment may only be made in respect of these months if there were exceptional or extenuating circumstances which prevented her claiming in time. If evidence to this effect is received, her claim will be reviewed and she will be notified of the outcome.

[1694]135.

Mr. Coughlan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason payment of an old age pension has been refused to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It was decided by an appeals officer on 11 September 1981 that the person concerned was not entitled to an old age pension as the assessment of her means, consisting of the weekly value of her share in a holding, exceeded the statutory limit for entitlement to pension. If her circumstances have deteriorated since the last assessment of her means it is open to her to re-apply for pension by completing the appropriate form which is available at any post office.

136.

Mr. Coughlan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when payment of unemployment assistance will be reinstated for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The appeal of the person concerned against the disallowance of his unemployment assistance claim has been submitted to an appeals officer for determination. The appeals officer will deal with his case at the first available opportunity and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

137.

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 the payment of a non-contributory old age pension to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A recent repeat claim to old age pension from the person concerned is at present under investigation by the social welfare officer. On completion of inquires it will be referred for decision. The person concerned will be notified of the outcome. The delay in dealing with this case is due to pressure of work in the social welfare station concerned.

[1695]138.

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 was deemed ineligible for disability benefit and deemed fit for work by his Department although her own doctor has refused to certify her fit for work; in view of these circumstances if he will clarify that she is eligible to qualify for unemployment benefit as she is unfit and incapable of returning to work; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Payment of disability benefit to the person concerned was disallowed from 18 February 1985 following an examination by a medical referee who considered her to be capable of work. She appealed against the disallowance and she was examined on 20 May 1985 by a different medical referee who also considered her to be capable of work.

Her case has been referred to an appeals officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing as soon as possible. She will be notified of the time and place of the hearing as soon as the arrangements have been made. The person concerned last signed the unemployment register on 28 December 1983. If she is now unemployed it is open to her to make a claim and have her case determined by a deciding officer.

139.

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 5 has only been granted disability benefit for the period 21 November 1984 to 26 February 1985.

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 21 November 1984 following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that she was capable of work. She appealed against the disallowance and was examined by a different medical referee who found her to be incapable of work from 26 February 1985. Accordingly payment of benefit was restored from 26 February 1985 and [1696] all benefit payable to 14 June 1985, the date of the latest medical evidence received, has been issued to her.

The question of her entitlement to payment from 21 November 1984 to 25 February 1985 was referred to an appeals officer who decided that she was not incapable of work from 21 November 1984 to 25 February 1985 and is not entitled to be paid disability benefit for that period. The appeals officer's decision is final and may only be revised in the light of new facts or fresh evidence.

140.

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 5 is only in receipt of £10 pension; and the reason his wife is only in receipt of £2.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned reached age 65 on 7 April 1984. He then resided in Britain and details of his claim for retirement pension were received from the British Authorities on 22 May 1985.

One of the qualifying conditions for receipt of a retirement pension under the Social Welfare Acts requires a person to have a yearly average of at least 24 reckonable contributions over the period from the beginning of the 1953 contribution year or from his year of entry into insurance, whichever is the later, to the end of the last complete contribution year before reaching pension age. The person concerned does not satisfy this condition as the Department's records show that he had a total of 199 reckonable contributions in the relevant period which, in his case, is from 5 January 1953 to 5 April 1984. This is equal to a yearly average of only six and, therefore, he does not qualify for a retirement pension under the Social Welfare Acts. Neither did he qualify for old age contributory pension at age 66; a yearly average of at least 20 is required for this latter pension.

He was insurably employed in Britain from 1956 to 1984. Under EC Regulations on social security a person who has been employed in another member state [1697] can qualify for a pro rata retirement pension on his combined Irish and British records, the amount payable being based on the number of his Irish contributions in proportion to the combined total. His total of 199 Irish and 1,426 British contributions entitles him to a pro rata pension of £10.30 per week, at present rates. This includes an allowance of £4.40 in respect of his wife. He is also in receipt of a British retirement pension.

The Department have no record of a pension payment of £2 to his wife. If this is a payment being made by the British Department of Health and Social Security any inquiry regarding it should be addressed to that Department in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

141.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the cause of the long delay in reaching a decision on the appeal of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny against the decision by his Department not to grant him unemployment assistance where the appeal was lodged last March.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned appealed against the disallowance of his unemployment assistance claim and the case was referred to a social welfare officer for further inquiries. The social welfare officer requested details of his part-ownership of a holding but he failed to supply this information. When the social welfare officer made a further call to afford him an opportunity of co-operating he intimated that he was not in a position to supply the information requested at the moment. When the information is supplied his case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination.

142.

Mr. Wallace: Information on Dan Wallace  Zoom on Dan Wallace  asked the Minister for Social Welfare as to why a person (details supplied) in County Cork was found capable of work on 12 December 1984 and when he appealed the decision was found incapable by the medical referee on 6 May 1985; the reason he must [1698] now appeal the decision again in order to establish if he is entitled to payment from his first medical examination in December.

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 7 December 1984 following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work. He appealed against the disallowance and was examined by a different medical referee who also expressed the opinion that he was capable of work. He then submitted fresh medical evidence and in this connection he was referred for a third examination by a medical referee on 7 May 1985 who expressed the opinion that he was incapable of work from that date only.

His claim for the period from 7 December 1984 to 6 May 1985 was then referred to an appeals officer who decided on 17 June 1985 that he was incapable of work during this period. Payment has now been restored and all benefit payable from 6 December 1984 to 19 June 1985, the date of the latest medical certificate received, less the amount of supplementary welfare allowance advanced by the Southern Health Board, has now been issued to the person concerned.

143.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when he will pay unemployment assistance at the maximum rate 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 applied for unemployment assistance on 14 August 1984 and her claim was allowed at the weekly rate of £17.15 being the appropriate rate £29.95 less means £12.80 derived from the value of board and lodgings on her parent's holding.

In accordance with the provisions of the legislation governing the unemployment assistance scheme the value of the benefit derived by an applicant from board and lodgings in the holding of a parent or relative must be taken into [1699] acount in the assessment of means. Weekly payments of unemployment assistance at £17.15 weekly are continuing to be made as they become due.

144.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a death grant 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  Payment of a death grant at the maximum rate has been authorised. A cheque for £100 was issued to the person concerned on 17 June 1985.

145.

Mr. Coughlan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when payment of unemployment assistance will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

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 laying tarmacadam exceded the maximum rate payable to him. If he is dissatisfied with this decision it is open to him to appeal and have his case determined by an appeals officer. A form for this purpose can be obtained at his local office.

146.

Mr. J. O'Leary: Information on John O'Leary  Zoom on John O'Leary  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kerry who was off work sick for a period of eight weeks got paid for only five weeks; 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 claimed disability benefit from 20 February 1985 and payment was issued from 23 February 1985, the fourth day of incapacity, to 26 March 1985.

Payment was discontinued after that date as it was found that she was only entitled to pay contributions at a modified rate, class J, from April 1983. These contributions only entitle her to benefit under the occupational injury benefit [1700] scheme and do not qualify her for payment of disability benefit.

147.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying a contributory old age pension to a person (details supplied) in County Clare as he applied in the middle of February.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A contributory old age pension has been awarded to the person concerned with effect from 3 May 1985, that is, the Friday following his 66th birthday. A pension book containing orders payable from 3 May 1985 was issued to the designated post office on 7 June 1985 for collection by him and he was notified accordingly. The award of the pension was delayed because he did not quote his RSI number on his application. The Department tried to trace the number from its index and having failed to do so it had to write to the person concerned for the number before the relevant contribution record could be extracted.

148.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Clare as he applied for it approximately three months ago.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The old age pension claim of the person concerned is partially investigated. The social welfare officer is still awaiting a copy of deed of transfer of a holding which has not yet come to hand. When this document becomes available the matter will be referred to a deciding officer for decision. The claimant will be notified of the outcome in due course.

149.

Mr. Nolan: Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow as she has been signing since 24 April 1985.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability from 26 April 1985 to [1701] date. Payment of benefit was not authorised as according to the records of the Department she has not the required minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in 1983-84, the contribution year governing her claim. She has only 25 contributions paid in that year.

Credited contributions have been awarded from 26 April 1985 to 5 June 1985, the date of the latest medical evidence received. However, no payment of benefit can be made in respect of the current benefit year which runs from 7 January 1985 to 4 January 1986.

150.

Mr. Cowen:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Offaly received only £20.57 for the week ending 8 June 1985; and if he will now confirm that this unemployed person will be in receipt of his full entitlement to unemployment assistance forthwith, with arrears paid in full.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned exhausted his entitlement to 390 days benefit on 29 May 1985. He was accordingly entitled to one day's payment —£20.57 in respect of 29 May 1984— in the benefit week ending 4 June 1985. He applied for unemployment assistance and his claim was allowed at £86.75 the appropriate rate for a married man with four children who has been assessed with nil means. All arrears of unemployment assistance due to him were paid last week.

151.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will consider giving a full old age pension to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick having regard to the fact that he has signed over his property to a member of his family.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has been decided that the person concerned is entitled to old age pension at the maximum weekly rate of [1702] £62.05 from 18 January 1985 which includes £20.75 adult dependant allowance. The pensioner has been requested to return his pension book for the necessary adjustment. When this is received, payment at the increased rate and the arrears due will be issued.

152.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Limerick has not been given the stamp money due to him for the period 18 January 1985 to 15 April 1985; 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 a person must have at least 26 contributions paid or credited in the governing contribution year. According to the Department's records the person concerned had no contributions paid or credited during the period 6 April 1983 to 5 April 1984 which governed entitlement to unemployment benefit on his claim of 21 January 1985.

Following protracted inquires it was ascertained that he had 21 contributions paid during the period 6 April 1983 to 5 April 1984. He stated that he also attended an AnCO training course during this period and inquiries were made from AnCO to ascertain whether further contributions at the appropriate class were paid or credited on his behalf. However, these inquiries were inconclusive as AnCO were unable to trace him on their records without receiving additional information on the course he had attended.

He was written to on 6 May 1985 requesting full details of the AnCO training course but he has failed to reply to date. As soon as he supplies this information the matter will be taken up again with AnCO and when his contribution record is clarified his entitlement to unemployment benefit will be determined. He last signed the unemployment register on 9 April 1985.

153.

Mr. Bell: Information on Michael Bell  Zoom on Michael Bell  asked the Minister for [1703] Social Welfare the reason for the nonpayment of social welfare benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Louth.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Where a person has less than 156 contributions paid since entry into insurable employment, entitlement to disability benefit is limited to 52 weeks. According to the records of the Department the person concerned has only 149 contributions paid on her behalf since entry into insurance. She claimed disability benefit from 14 February 1984 and was paid to 14 February 1985 after which date her 52 week entitlement became exhausted.

In order to requalify for disability benefit it will be necessary for her to have at least a further 13 weeks of insurable employment for which the appropriate contributions are paid.

154.

Mr. Nolan: Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when free telephone rental allowance will be issued to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  To qualify for a free telephone rental allowance a person in receipt of a qualifying payment must be living alone or only with children under 15 years of age or other persons who are so permanently incapacitated as to be unable to summon aid in an emergency. A local officer of the Department has been requested to investigate the applicants circumstances. On receipt of his reply, an early decision will be given in the case and the applicant will be notified of the outcome.

155.

Mrs. Taylor-Quinn: Information on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  Zoom on Madeleine Taylor-Quinn  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a full old age pension 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  It has been decided that the person concerned is entitled to old age pension at the increased weekly rate of [1704] £39.30 from 19 April 1985. This is the rate to which she is entitled having regard to the assessment of her means, consisting of the weekly value of capital. The pension book of the person concerned has been recalled for the necessary adjustments. When this has been returned the appropriate pension book and any arrears of pension due will issue without delay.

156.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if non-contributory old age pension payments will be reconsidered for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford in view of the recent change in her circumstances.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The Deputy's representations have been accepted as an application for an increase in the existing rate of old age pension of the person concerned. The case is being referred to the social welfare officer for investigation. On completion of inquiries it will be referred for decision. The pensioner will be notified of the outcome in due course.

157.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment assistance payments will be reconsidered for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford in view of his recent appeal and the fact that he has no income at the present time.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Arising out of contentions made by the person concerned in support of his appeal against the disallowance of his unemployment assistance claim his case is being referred to a social welfare officer for further inquries. When these inquiries are completed his case will be submitted 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.

158.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will re-examine the case of a person (details supplied) [1705] in Dublin 24 who was told that she would not receive benefit after having been disallowed disability benefit for 13 weeks without a medical examination; and if he will now give details of her entitlements.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Where a person has less than 156 contributions paid since entry into insurable employment, entitlement to disability benefit is limited to 52 weeks. According to the records of the Department the person concerned has only 136 contributions paid on her behalf since entry into insurance. She claimed disability benefit from 2 May 1983 and was paid to 2 May 1984 after which date her 52 week entitlement became exhausted.

Payment was inadvertently issued on her claim from 12 July 1984 to 19 December 1984 resulting in an overpayment of £737. In order to requalify for disability benefit it will be necessary for her to have at least a further 13 weeks of insurable employment for which the appropriate contributions are paid.

159.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 is entitled to dental treatment which she badly needs; if not the reason; and the action this person can take to have the essential dental work done.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  In order to qualify for dental benefit under the Social Welfare Acts claimants must satisfy certain statutory contribution conditions one of which requires persons over 21 years of age to have not less than 26 reckonable contributions paid or credited in the contribution year which governs the claim. The governing contribution year for claims made during 1985 is the 1983-84 contribution year (from 6 April 1983 to 5 April 1984).

The person concerned claimed dental benefit on 22 March 1985. According to the records of the Department contributions at PRSI class K1 had been paid on [1706] her behalf during the 1983-84 governing contribution year. These class K1 contributions had been paid in respect of an annuity paid to her by a life assurance company and are not reckonable for dental benefit purposes. She may, however, be entitled to assistance towards the cost of dental treatment under the Health Acts and inquiries should be made to the Chief Executive Officer, Eastern Health Board, 1 James's Street, Dublin 8.

160.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange for unemployment benefit arrears to be paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 who signed on for 18 weeks but who was only paid from the 11th week.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Arrears of unemployment assistance due to the person concerned could not be paid until his local health board confirmed that he was not in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance pending the outcome of his unemployment assistance claim. This information is now to hand and all arrears due to him were paid on 19 June 1985. Weekly payments of £12.80 the approporiate rate £30.90 less means £18.10 will continue to be made as they become due.

161.

Miss Harney: Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if, in view of her special circumstances, he will grant a deserted wife's allowance to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 22 who has made every effort through the courts to trace her husband.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Two of the conditions for the receipt of a deserted wife's payment are that a husband must have left his wife of his own volition and that she must make and continue to make reasonable efforts to trace her husband and to prevail on him to contribute to the support and maintenance of herself and her children. The deciding officer held that these conditions were not satisfied in this case and [1707] disallowed the claim of the person concerned. She appealed against the decision and after an oral hearing of the case on 12 November 1979 an appeals officer disallowed the appeal.

Since then the claimant has made a number of further applications for payment which have all been refused. The most recent was on 14 May 1985 when she forwarded a copy of a maintenance order she had obtained against her husband. However, an attempt to serve an attachment of earnings order on the husband was unsuccessful as he had apparently left his job. The appeals officer accepted at that stage that she had made the necessary efforts to obtain maintenance. He also held, however, that the other ground on which the claim was refused, viz. that her husband had not left her of his own volition was still in effect. She is not therefore entitled to a deserted wife's payment and she has been notified to this effect.

162.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 has been deducted three waiting days from his unemployment benefit entitlement; and if he will amend the regulations to eliminate this situation for AnCO trainees who take up courses on the advice of Manpower.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Payment of unemployment benefit is normally made from the 4th day of unemployment in a period of interruption of employment. However, any two periods of interruption of employment not separated by more than 13 weeks are treated as one period of interruption of employment.

The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit to 27 February 1985 after which date he ceased to sign as unemployed as he commenced participation on an AnCO course. He again registered as unemployed from 3 June 1985 and his claim was allowed at the weekly rate of £80.15. As these two dates are separated by a period in excess of 13 [1708] weeks, under the legislation he would not be entitled to unemployment benefit for the first three days of the second period of interruption of employment. However, the exact period during which the course in question took place has not been verified and the matter will be clarified with the claimant on his next attendance at the exchange.

The general position governing entitlement to unemployment benefit of claimants who resume signing the unemployment register after participation at an AnCO course is at present under examination in the Department. Any changes in the present arrangements in this regard would involve amending legislation and would be for consideration in the context of the annual Social Welfare Bill.

163.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 is entitled to an electricity allowance, free travel and free telephone rental; and, if not, the reason.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  There is no record in the Department of receipt of an application for a free electricity allowance or a free telephone rental allowance from the person concerned. Application forms for these benefits have therefore been issued to him. If he considers that he satisfies the conditions for receipt of the allowances as outlined on the forms, he should have them completed. On their return to the Department, the matter will be considered further and he will be notified of the outcome. a free travel pass has been issued to him.

164.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the present position in regard to the application for an old age pension made by a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has been decided that the person concerned is entitled to an old age pension at the weekly rate of £29.30 from [1709] 14 June 1985 (the date of his 66th birthday). This is the rate to which he is entitled having regard to the assessment of his means consisting of capital. The appropriate pension book payable from 14 June 1985 has issued.

165.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance has not been granted for the past 14 weeks to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

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 extensive inquiries regarding his means had been completed. Following completion of these inquiries his means were assessed at £38.45 weekly derived from self-employment. He is accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £29.70 the appropriate rate £68.15 less means £38.45. All arrears due were paid last week and weekly payments of £29.70 will continue to be made as they become due.

166.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Offaly who has been signing for unemployment benefit at Portarlington exchange for the past 12 weeks has not been paid.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 20 March 1985 but as she did not furnish here RSI number her claim could not be processed immediately. She was requested to supply her RSI number and on 29 April 1985 she furnished a number to her local office which, on investigation, turned out to be incorrect. Accordingly, inquiries had to be made to ascertain her correct RSI number.

These inquiries have now been completed and her claim has been allowed from 20 March 1985 at the weekly rate of £32.75 being the appropriate rate in her case. All arrears were paid last week.

[1710] Further weekly payments will be made as they become due.

167.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when he will pay an old age pension to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford who is fully entitled to it.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The old age pension entitlements of the person concerned have been partially investigated. The social welfare officer is awaiting details from the county council and the Agricultural Credit Corporation regarding her husband's pensions. When these are received the case will be reported on and referred for decision. The person concerned will be notified of the outcome in due course.

168.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when he will grant free telephone rental allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  To qualify for a free telephone rental allowance a person in receipt of a qualifying payment must be living entirely alone or only with children under 15 years of age or other persons who are so permanently incapacitated as to be unable to summon aid in an emergency.

The person concerned is residing with his wife and son who are not, from the medical evidence furnished, permanently incapacitated as required by the scheme. His application was therefore rejected and he was notified accordingly on 22 May 1985.

In the light of the Deputy's question the person concerned has been requested to furnish more comprehensive medical evidence in support of his claim. On receipt of his reply his entitlement to the allowance will be reviewed and he will be notified of the outcome.

169.

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 pay-related benefit in addition to unemployment benefit; and, if so, at what rate.

[1711]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned has insufficient earnings during the relevant income tax year to be entitled to pay-related benefit. The income tax year which governs entitlement to pay related benefit on his claim of April 1985 is the year 6 April 1982 to 5 April 1983 by reason of the fact that he claimed unemployment benefit intermittently from 17 September 1984 without having an interruption of at least 13 weeks between his claims.

170.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Wexford is not entitled to a contributory old age pension; and if there are any circumstances whereby this decision could be reconsidered.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  One of the qualifying conditions for the receipt of a contributory old age pension requires the claimant to have a yearly average of at least 20 reckonable contributions from 5 January 1953 or from his year of entry into insurance, whichever is the later, to the end of the last complete contribution year before he reaches pension age.

The Department's records show that the person concerned had a total of 365 reckonable contributions in the relevant period which, in his case, is from 5 January 1953 to 5 April 1979. This is equal to a yearly average of only 14, and therefore, he does not qualify for a contributory old age pension.

Contributions at a reckonable rate were paid in respect of him up to 1959. There is no record of any contributions for him from 1960 to April 1967 and his contributions, thereafter, were paid at a low rate giving cover for occupational injuries benefit only. These latter contributions cannot be taken into account to enable him to qualify for contributory old age pension.

171.

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 [1712] awarded a non-contributory old age pension further to her application made last February; and, if so, at what rate.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has been decided that the person concerned is entitled to old age pension at the maximum weekly rate of £41.30 from 8 March 1985. The appropriate pension book and arrears due have been issued.

172.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment assistance payments will be reconsidered for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford in view of his recent appeal in respect of fresh evidence supplied.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned appealed against the amount of means assessed against him on his unemployment assistance claim and arising from contentions made in support of his appeal the case was returned to the social welfare officer for further inquiries. The inquiries were recently completed and the papers have been referred to an appeals officer for determination. The appeals officer has decided to hold an oral hearing of the case and the hearing will be arranged to take place at the earliest opportunity. He is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £16.20 being the appropriate rate £31.75 less means £15.55.

173.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in making a decision on the application for injury benefit made by a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will ensure that payment is made immediately to this applicant.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was awarded injury benefit in respect of an incapacity resulting from an occupational accident on 10 May 1985. All injury benefit due including increases in respect of his wife and children has been paid to the date of the latest medical certificate [1713] received. This included injury benefit over and above the disability benefit already paid on an interim basis to 10 June.

174.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in processing the application for a free telephone rental allowance made by a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An application from the person concerned for a free telephone rental allowance was approved with effect from 17 May 1985, the date on which the application was received. He was notified accordingly on 18 June 1985. Telecom Éireann are aware of the decision in the case and are arranging to apply the allowance to his telephone account. The application could not be finalised any earlier because of pressure of work in the area concerned.

175.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason he requested the return of a pension book from a person (details supplied) in County Limerick 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  A condition for receipt of living alone allowance is that the claimant must be living entirely on her own. Following a recent investigation of her domestic arrangements the person concerned was found to have a grown-up daughter living with her. She was therefore asked to return her living alone allowance book because she was no longer entitled to the allowance. It was then terminated with effect from 31 May 1985. She was notified of this decision and of her right to re-apply for the allowance should she satisfy the conditions at any time in the future.

176.

Mr. Nolan: Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit has been reduced in the case of a [1714] person (details supplied) in County Carlow.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An overpayment amounting to £52.38 was assessed against the person concerned in respect of a period in 1984 during which he claimed unemployment benefit and disability benefit concurrently. Weekly deductions of £5 towards recovery of this amount have been made from 24 April 1985. The balance of the overpayment outstanding as at 19 June 1985 was £7.38.

177.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason the maximum amount of old age pension is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if he will have his case investigated.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has been decided that the person concerned is entitled to an old age pension at the weekly rate of £13.30 from 8 February 1985. This is the rate to which he is entitled having regard to the latest assessment of his means comprising of the weekly value of a holding and capital. If the person concerned feels that his circumstances have deteriorated since the date of his last assessment it is open to him to notify this Department to that effect and his case will be reinvestigated.

178.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason he has not granted a free telephone rental allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Cork who applied for the telephone last February and has not yet been made aware of a decision; the reason for the delay; and if he will have the payments back dated to February.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The application for a free telephone rental allowance from the person concerned was approved and a notification to this effect was issued to her on 13 June 1985. Telecom Éireann are aware of the decision in the case and will arrange to apply the allowance from the date [1715] on which she is provided with telephone service. The delay in this case was due to a clerical error.

179.

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

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.

180.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay smallholders 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 claimed unemployment assistance and his case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means. He was asked by the social welfare officer to supply documentary evidence of the number of livestock owned by him but he has failed to supply this information to date. When this information is received his case will be referred to a deciding officer for assessment of means and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.

181.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will pay a non-contributory old age pension at the maximum rate to a person (details supplied), in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following a routine review of the old age pension entitlements of the person concerned it was found that his means consisting of the weekly value of a holding had increased since the last assessment. Accordingly it has been [1716] decided that he is entitled to old age pension at the reduced weekly rate of £29.30 from 11 January 1985. Living alone allowance was subsequently awarded from 15 February 1985.

The person concerned appealed against this decision and the matter has been submitted to an appeals officer for determination. The appeals officer feels that an oral hearing is necessary in this case and this will be held as soon as possible. The claimant and his solicitor will be notified of the venue in due course.

182.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that his means exceeded the maximum rate payable to him. He recently requested a review of his means and his case has been referred to a social welfare officer for further inquiries. When these inquiries are completed his case will be submitted to an appeals officer for determination. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

183.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will pay a non-contributory old age pension at the maximum rate to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following a routine investigation of the old age pension entitlements of the person concerned it was found that there had been an increase in his means since the date of his last assessment. Accordingly it has been decided that he is entitled to an old age pension at the weekly rate of £23.30 from 24 May 1985. This is the rate to which he is entitled having regard to the assessment of his means consisting of the weekly value of capital and a holding.

[1717]184.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will pay 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 does not satisfy the contribution condition for entitlement to unemployment benefit on the basis of her Irish record. However, details of her contribution record in respect of a period of work in the UK have been requested from the UK social security authorities. When this information is received her entitlement to unemployment benefit will be determined.

185.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will pay a family income supplement 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 awarded a family income supplement at the weekly rate of £5 from 6 September 1984. Following a change in job he appealed against the decision in his case but the appeals officer decided that he was entitled to supplement at the rate of £5 a week. Under the legislation governing the scheme family income supplement is awarded for a fixed period and the weekly rate of supplement is not affected by changes in earnings during that period.

186.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in County Laois is in receipt of the correct rate of unemployment assistance and if he will be granted an increase on his present rate.

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 £2.40 weekly the appropriate rate £31.75 less means £29.35 derived from profit from his holding and from capital. He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him but an appeals officer also assessed his means at £29.35 weekly. He was notified of the decision [1718] of the appeals officer. In the absence of fresh facts or new evidence the decision of the appeals officer is final.

187.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an oral hearing will be heard on the appeal of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin, and the reason for the prolonged delay in arranging the hearing.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed injury benefit from 13 December 1984 in respect of an incapacity attributed to an accident at work on 25 September 1984. Following investigation, which failed to confirm that the accident had arisen out of and in the course of her employment, the claim was disallowed on 16 January 1985.

The person concerned appealed against the decision and in the light of a statement submitted in support of the appeal it was decided to make further inquiries. The deciding officer considered that the results of the inquiries did not warrant a revision of the decision and the case as soon as possible. officer. A decision will be made in the case as soon as possible.

188.

Mr. L. Fitzgerald: Information on Liam Fitzgerald  Zoom on Liam Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a non-contributory widow's pension has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 who applied over three months ago; 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 has been awarded a widow's non-contributory pension at the weekly rate of £40.50 with effect from 3 May 1985, increasing to £43.15 from 12 July 1985. These are the maximum rates of non-contributory pension payable to a widow under 66 years with no qualified children.

A pension book with orders payable from 21 June 1985 was issued to the designated post office on 12 June for collection by her and she was notified accordingly. Arrears for the period from 3 May 1985 to [1719] 20 June 1985, less supplementary welfare allowance paid to her by the Eastern Health Board, will be sent direct to her shortly by payable order.

Her late husband had been in receipt of an old age non-contributory pension of £62.05 a week, which included an increase in respect of his wife, and this pension was paid to her for six weeks after his death on 18 March 1985, in place of widow's pension. The claim form was received from the widow on 16 April 1985 and it was then necessary to have her means investigated before an award of pension could be made to her.

189.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when 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  A recent repeat claim for old age pension received from the person concerned has been referred to the social welfare officer for investigation. When his inquiries have been completed it will be referred for decision. The claimant will be notified of the outcome in due course.

190.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason social assistance has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has not been possible to trace a claim for a social assistance allowance from the person concerned. An application form for an allowance was sent to her former address on 28 November 1984 in response to previous representations from the Deputy. There is no record, however, of the return of the completed form by her. A local officer of the Department has now been asked to call on her and have her complete a claim form. He will investigate her claim at the same time. When the officer's report is received a decision will be given in the case and she will be notified. Meanwhile [1720] she is in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance from the area health board.

191.

Mr. Aylward: Information on Liam Aylward  Zoom on Liam Aylward  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will reinvestigate the application of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny for unemployment assistance; and if he will give full details of the unemployment assistance paid to him.

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 letting land and benefit from his wife's earnings exceeded the statutory limit. He appealed against the disallowance of his claim and on 16 May 1985 a letter issued to him inviting him to submit a written statement of the facts and contentions on which he was relying in support of his appeal.

He has not replied to his letter to date and his case is now being referred to an appeals officer for determination on the basis of the facts available. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

192.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason an increase in pension is no longer payable to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath in respect of his daughter as she is still at school and cannot claim children's allowance or unemployment assistance and is nevertheless deemed to be able to support herself 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  Allowances for dependent children under the retirement pensions scheme are paid up to age 18 which is the general age limit for child dependant allowances under the social welfare code. Persons aged over 18 are entitled to claim unemployment assistance in their own right if they satisfy the conditions of being unemployed, available and genuinely seeking work. Full time attendance at a course of education, however, is not [1721] consistent with being available for work. It would be open to the person concerned to apply for a qualification certificate at her local employment exchange which will enable her to apply for unemployment assistance when she becomes available for work.

The Commission on Social Welfare is examining the issue of child dependency as part of a comprehensive review of the welfare system.

My Department have recently published a new leaflet entitled “Social Welfare and School-Leavers.” Copies of this have been sent to the Deputy and I am arranging for copies to be sent also to the person in question for information.

193.

Mr. J. Leonard: Information on James Leonard  Zoom on James Leonard  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in the payment of a living alone allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has been decided that the person concerned is entitled to a living alone allowance from 8 February 1985. The appropriate pension book payable from 5 April 1985 issued on 19 June 1985 and a payable order covering arrears of living along allowance due from 8 February 1985 to 29 March 1985 issued separately. The reason for the delay in dealing with this case was due to the pressure of work at the social welfare station concerned.

194.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will have the full circumstances of a couple (details supplied) in County Westmeath investigated bearing in mind that the lady in question is a complete invalid and that their total income is £54.80 per week.

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 £54.80 weekly the appropriate maximum rate payable to a man and wife assessed with nil means. If there are special circumstances applicable in this [1722] case the person concerned should make application to the community welfare officer attached to the local health board so that he can investigate the case.

195.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Entitlement to unemployment benefit is subject to the condition that a person must be available for and genuinely seeking work. The person concerned is self-employed on three days a week and he claimed unemployment benefit on the other three days. Inquiries had to be made to ascertain that he satisfied the condition of being fully available for work. These inquiries were completed. However as the relevant papers were lost in postal transit between the local office and headquarters additional inquiries had to be made. These were recently completed and his claim has been allowed at the appropriate rate of £5.99 for each day on which he proves unemployment. All arrears due will be paid this week and further weekly payments will continue to be made as they become due.

196.

Mr. L. Fitzgerald: Information on Liam Fitzgerald  Zoom on Liam Fitzgerald  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason social welfare benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 although she has been signing on since 1983 and the other benefits to which she is entitled on the basis of the contributions paid by her for over one year.

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 a person must have at least 26 contributions paid or credited in the governing contribution year. According to the Department's records the person concerned does not satisfy this contribution condition.

She stated that she worked for a period in 1982-83 and has been asked on several occasions to furnish details of her [1723] employment to enable her insurance record to be established. She has not supplied this information to date.

However it is understood that the company for whom she worked went into liquidation. Arrangements are being made for a social welfare officer to make inquiries to establish whether for the period of her employment contributions were paid at the appropriate class providing cover against unemployment. When these inquiries are completed her entitlement to unemployment benefit will be reviewed.

197.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reasons unemployment assistance has been reduced in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; if he is aware of this man's circumstances; if he will direct his Department to review his means and increase his allowance immediately; 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 his unemployment assistance claim the means of the person concerned were assessed at £67.30 weekly derived from profit from his holding. He is accordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £19.45 being the appropriate rate £86.75 less means £67.30. He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him but an appeals officer also assessed his means at £67.30 weekly. He was notified of the decision of the appeals officer. It is open to him to apply for a review of his means if he considers that his circumstances have changed since the last investigation of his means.

198.

Mr. Crowley: Information on Frank Crowley  Zoom on Frank Crowley  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a children's allowance cheque for the sum of £60.25 was paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; the reason this cheque was payable; and what it is for.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned submitted an application for a continuation [1724] of children's allowance in October 1984 in respect of his daughter who reached 16 years of age in July 1984. Children's allowance was awarded in respect of her from August 1984 to June 1986 and an allowance book payable from August 1984 was issued on 7 November 1984.

A second application in respect of this child, for the same period, was received from the person concerned on 10 May 1985 and in error, a duplicate award was made. The payable order in question, together with an allowance book, were issued to the claimant on the basis of this award. The claimant has been notified of the position in this case and has been requested to return the cheque and the allowance book.

199.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason the full rate of unemployment assistance is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at £45.35 weekly the appropriate rate £72.25 less means £26.90 derived from the beneficial occupation of his father's holding. He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him but an appeals officer also assessed his means at £26.90 weekly. He was notified of the decision of the appeals officer. In the absence of fresh facts or new evidence the decision of an appeals officer is final.

200.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance was refused to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned exhausted his entitlement to unemployment benefit on 29 March 1985 and then applied for unemployment assistance. Pending an investigation of his means by a social welfare officer his claim was put into payment on the basis of a qualification certificate issued to him in connection with a previous claim which recorded [1725] him as having nil means. He was accordingly in receipt of unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £72.25 for the period 1 April 1985 to 21 May 1985. The results of the social welfare officer's investigation revealed means of £10.65 derived from benefit from his wife's earnings and his weekly rate was adjusted to £61.60 the appropriate rate £72.25 less means £10.65 with effect from 22 May 1985. Weekly payments of £61.60 are continuing to be made as they become due.

201.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite the approval of a contributory old age pension 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 reached pension age on 25 August 1974. He was in receipt of a non-contributory old age pension from 28 August 1974, which was revoked from 24 May 1985 when it was found that his means exceeded the statutory limit. He submitted a claim for contributory old age pension on 12 June 1985 and on the basis of his contribution record from 1953 to 1967 he is entitled to the contributory pension at the rate appropriate to a yearly average of 30. It has been decided to treat his 1974 non-contributory old age pension claim as if it had been a claim for the contributory pension and, accordingly, the latter pension has been awarded to him with effect from 28 August 1974. A contributory old age pension book containing orders payable from 24 May 1985 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by him and he has been notified accordingly. The arrears of contributory old age pension, less the amount of the non-contributory old age pension paid to him from 28 August 1974, will be issued to him as soon as possible.

202.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit was withdrawn from a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if [1726] he will have her case reviewed with a view to restoring payment.

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 9 April 1985 following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that she was capable of work. She appealed against the disallowance and arrangements are being made to have her examined by a different medical referee at an early date. Her entitlement to further payment of disability benefit will be reviewed in the light of the medical referee's report following this examination.

203.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive payment of his non-contributory old age pension; and the reason for delay as this application was made three months ago.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has been decided that the person concerned is entitled to old age pension at the weekly rate of £26.50 from 1 February 1985 which includes £3.20 living alone allowance. This is the rate to which he is entitled having regard to the assessment of his means, comprising the weekly value of income from a holding and income from self-employment. The appropriate pension books and arrears due have issued. The delay in this case was due firstly to the need to consider his entitlement to contributory old age pension, his claim to which has been rejected, and secondly to the pressure of work in the social welfare station concerned.

204.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Cork will receive payment of her non-contributory old age pension for which she applied on 1 February 1985; the reason for the delay; and if he is aware of the hardship being suffered by this person.

[1727]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The old age pension entitlements of the person concerned are partially investigated. The social welfare officer expects to have his inquiries completed shortly and the matter will be decided on. The person concerned will be notified of the outcome. The delay in this case is due to the pressure of work at the social welfare station concerned. An adult dependent allowance is being paid in respect of the person concerned on her husband's old age pension.

205.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason his Department have not yet paid the sum of approximately £450 in unemployment assistance which is due 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 in receipt of unemployment assistance from 16 August 1984 up to 22 April 1985 when he ceased to sign at his local office. His weekly payment was £56.70 the appropriate rate £72.25 less means £15.55 derived from the value of capital. There are no arrears of unemployment assistance due to him in respect of the period for which his claim was in payment. He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and his case has been submitted to an appeals officer for determination. His rate of unemployment assistance in respect of the period for which his claim was in payment will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

206.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in dealing with the disability pension claim made by a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; 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  It has been confirmed that the person concerned claimed sickness benefit directly from the Department of Health and Social Security, Newcastleupon-Tyne, from 28 November 1984.

[1728] The UK authorities have been connected in the matter and have advised that the person concerned has no titled to sickness benefit under UK legislation as he does not satisfy the relevant contribution conditions. They also advised that the person concerned stated, during the course of recent correspondence, that he was last insurably employed in Ireland. Under EC regulations his claim therefore falls to be dealt with under Irish legislation. Accordingly, the claim papers have been requested from the UK authorities, along with his British insurance record. When these are to hand his entitlement to disability benefit under Irish legislation will be considered and he will be informed of the outcome.

207.

Mr. Carey: Information on Donal Carey  Zoom on Donal Carey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the claim of a person (details supplied) in County Clare for unemployment assistance will be resolved as he has no other 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 his means derived from self-employment as a painter exceeded the maximum rate payable to him. He appealed against the disallowance of his claim and an appeals officer decided that he should be given an opportunity of submitting a written statement of the facts and contentions on which he relied in support of his appeal. Accordingly a letter issued to him on 21 May 1985 to which he has not so far replied. His case will now be resubmitted to an appeals officer who will decide the case on the basis of the facts available to him. The applicant's entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

208.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned [1729] claimed disability benefit from 30 July 1984. She is not entitled to payment as she has less than the required minimum of 26 contributions recorded in the 1982-83 year, on which her entitlement to benefit is based from 30 July 1984. The insurance contributions paid on her behalf for 1983-84, the contribution year governing her claim from 7 January 1985, are not reckonable for disability benefit as they were paid at the Class J rate which does not give cover for disability benefit. Accordingly, she is not entitled to payment of disability benefit.

209.

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.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following reinvestigation the unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that his means derived from the profit from his holding exceeded the maximum rate payable to him. He appealed and an appeals officer has decided to grant him an oral hearing of his case. The appeal is due to be heard on 25 June 1985. His case will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

210.

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 who has been signing for the past seven weeks; 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 claimed unemployment benefit on 8 May 1985. Inquiries had to be made to establish his contribution record in the period 6 April 1983 to 5 April 1984 which governed his claim to unemployment benefit. These inquiries were recently completed and his claim was allowed at the weekly rate of £35.90. All arrears due were paid [1730] on 21 June 1985 and further weekly payments will be made as they become due.

211.

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 allowance will be granted 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  To qualify for a free telephone rental allowance a person in receipt of a qualifying payment must be living entirely alone or only with children under 15 years of age or other persons who are so permanently incapacitated as to be unable to summon aid in an emergency. The person concerned is in receipt of a qualifying payment and resides with his wife. From the medical evidence furnished however his wife is not permanently incapacitated as required by the scheme. His application has therefore been rejected and he was notified accordingly on 14 June 1985.

212.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit cheques are arriving so irregularly 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 disability benefit from 18 February 1985 and is currently being paid at the weekly rate of £32.75, the maximum rate appropriate to married women. Payment is issued on receipt in the Department of medical evidence and all benefit payable has been issued up to 17 June 1985 the date of latest medical evidence received. There have been no undue delays in issuing payment to the person concerned.

213.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the up-to-date position in relation to an unemployment assistance appeal made by a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

[1731]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned made a repeat claim to unemployment assistance on 22 April 1985 and his claim was put into payment on the basis of a qualification certificate issued to him in connection with a previous claim. He is accordingly in receipt of unemployment assistance at £6.45 weekly the appropriate rate £29.95 less means £23.50. His case has been referred to a social welfare officer for reinvestigation of his means. When these inquiries are completed his means will be reassessed and his rate of unemployment assistance reviewed in the light of the amount of means assessed against him.

214.

Mr. Bell: Information on Michael Bell  Zoom on Michael Bell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in the payment of disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Louth.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  There is no trace in the records of the Department of a claim for disability benefit having been received from the person concerned. Arrangements have been made for an officer of my Department to visit the claimant and on receipt of his report the matter will be dealt with.

215.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  From the particulars supplied it has not been possible to trace an old age pension application from the person concerned in the records of this Department. A claim form has, therefore, issued. On receipt of the completed form in this Department her entitlement will be investigated and she will be notified of the outcome.

216.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a free telephone rental allowance will be granted to a [1732] person (details supplied) in County Laois.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  To qualify for a free telephone rental allowance a person in receipt of a qualifying payment must be living alone or only with children under 15 years of age or other persons who are so permanently incapacitated as to be unable to summon aid in an emergency. An application from the person concerned was rejected in February 1984 as her nephew with whom she resided at that time was not permanently incapacitated as required by the scheme. She was notified accordingly on 20 February 1984. If she feels that she now satisfies the conditions the person concerned should reapply for the allowance. On receipt of her application a decision will be given and she will be notified of the outcome.

217.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance 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  The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that the means assessed against him derived from the profit from his holding exceeded the maximum rate payable to him. It is open to him to appeal against the disallowance of his claim and a form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

218.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a deserted wife's allowance will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned returned her deserted wife's allowance order book to the Department on 6 February 1985 because her husband had returned home. There is no trace of the receipt of any further correspondence from her since then. If her husband has again left her she should reapply in writing for the allowance.

[1733]219.

Mr. Enright: Information on Tom Enright  Zoom on Tom Enright  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 16 April 1984 and payment was issued to 16 April 1985 based on her contribution record in the 1982-83 contribution year. She was not entitled to payment of benefit from 17 April 1985 as according to the records of the Department she had fewer than the required minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in the 1983-84 contribution year which governed her claim from that date. Subsequent inquiries to her employer have revealed that she has sufficient contributions paid in 1983-84 to qualify her for payment of benefit and all benefit payable to 14 June 1985, the date of the latest medical evidence received, has been issued.

220.

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 receiving the maximum rate of family income supplement.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is not entitled to receive the maximum rate of family income supplement. His gross family income for the purpose of calculating the amount of supplement payable was assessed at £127 weekly. The amount of supplement awarded, £7, represents 25 per cent of the difference between his gross income and the limit of £155 which applies in the case of a family with five or more qualified children.

221.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Limerick has not received any payments since 21 November 1984; 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 [1734] claim of the person concerned 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. He was issued with an appeal form to enable him to appeal against the disallowance of his claim but to date has not returned the completed form to his local office. When the appeal form is received his case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination and his entitlement to unemployment assistance reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

222.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that there is an appeal on hand from a person (details supplied) in County Limerick in connection with the denial of unemployment assistance payments to him under the small farmers' unemployment scheme; and if he will deal with his appeal as quickly as possible.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The appeal of the person concerned against the disallowance of his unemployment assistance claim was recently lodged at his local office. Arrangements are being made to submit his case to an appeals officer for determination. The appeals officer will deal with the case at the first available opportunity and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

223.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in dealing with the appeal for unemployment assistance made by a person (details supplied) in County Limerick who had his unemployment assistance reduced from £20.75 to nil.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following reinvestigation the unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that his means derived from the profit from his holding exceeded the maximum rate payable to him. He has [1735] not appealed against the disallowance of his claim and it is open to him to do so by completing an appeal form at his local employment office.

224.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (Details supplied) in County Limerick has not received his unemployment assistance since 28 May 1985; and if he will make arrangements to pay whatever arrears are due.

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 disclose details of his means he failed to show that his means did not exceed the statutory limit. He recently appealed against the disallowance of his claim and he will be given a further opportunity to co-operate with the social welfare officer in the investigation of his means. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the outcome.

225.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the irregularity in the payments of disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he can give an assurance that all payments have been made to her as it appears that over eight certificates have not been dealt with.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 28 November 1984. She was not entitled to benefit at the commencement of her claim as according to the records of the Department she has less than the minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in 1982-83, the contribution year governing her claim.

From 7 January 1985 entitlement to benefit is based on her insurance record for the 1983-84 year. She has sufficient contributions recorded for that year to qualify for payment from 7 January 1985. Payments are issued to the person concerned on receipt in the Department of [1736] medical evidence of incapacity and all benefit payable to 18 June 1985 the date of the latest medical certificate received has been issued to her.

226.

Mr. G. Collins: Information on Gerard Collins  Zoom on Gerard Collins  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in arranging the hearing of appeal for a person (details supplied) in County Limerick whose unemployment assistance was reduced to £54 per week; and if he is aware that the appeal was requested over eight months ago.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Arising out of contentions made by the person concerned in support of his appeal against the amount of means assessed against him his case was referred to a social welfare officer for further inquiries. These inquiries were extensive and when they were completed his case was referred to an appeals officer for determination. Due to the increased number of persons applying for appeals under the various social welfare services there is an invitable lengthening of the time elapsing before a case can be determined. The case will be dealt with at the first available opportunity and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

227.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a non-contributory old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork as she is only a small farmer; and the reason for the delay in this case.

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 partially investigated by the social welfare officer. Information is awaited in regard to payment received for surrender of her milk quota. When this becomes available the case will be referred for decision and the claimant will be notified of the outcome.

228.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the [1737] delay in granting a non-contributory old age pension to a person (details supplied) in County Cork as she applied approximately 15 weeks ago; and if he is aware of the hardship being suffered by this lady.

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 partially investigated by the social welfare officer. Details regarding the transfer of a holding have been requested and when these are received the claim will be referred to a deciding officer for decision. The claimant will be notified of the outcome in due course.

229.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork is not in receipt of the maximum rate of pension as she claims that her contribution record has not been assessed properly; and if he will have the matter reviewed with a view to giving her the maximum amount.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is in receipt of an old age contributory pension since 29 October 1982. She is being paid the pension at the weekly rate appropriate to her yearly average number of contributions during the required period which, in her case, is from 5 July 1953 to 5 April 1982. She has a total of 1,344 contributions recorded during this 29 year period, equal to a yearly average of 46. An average of at least 48 is required to qualify for the pension at maximum rate. There are no contributions recorded in respect of the person concerned for the years 1954-55, 1955-56 or 1956-57.

230.

Mr. Bell: Information on Michael Bell  Zoom on Michael Bell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an unmarried mother's allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Louth.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned who is already in receipt of an unmarried mother's allowance has been awarded an [1738] increase in respect of her second child with effect from 28 March 1985, the Thursday following the child's birth. She has been requested to return her current allowance book for replacement by a book at the higher rate. The arrears for the period from 28 March 1985 to the date of the last order cashed in her old book will then be sent to her direct by payable order.

231.

Mr. Bell: Information on Michael Bell  Zoom on Michael Bell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a children's allowance will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Louth in respect of her last child who is now three months old.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned submitted an application for children's allowance in respect of her fifth child on 26 April 1985. The allowance was awarded from May 1985 and the appropriate allowance book was issued to the claimant at her home address on 14 May 1985. Payment was refused in respect of the period from December 1984 to April 1985 as she was late in claiming. Under the regulations, payment in respect of this period may be made only if there were exceptional or extenuating circumstances for her failure to claim in time. If evidence to this effect is furnished, her claim will be reviewed and she will be notified of the outcome.

232.

Mr. Bell: Information on Michael Bell  Zoom on Michael Bell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Louth did not receive a double payment of her old age pension last Christmas.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  In order to give effect to the Christmas double payment due on Friday, 7 December 1984, post offices were required, as in previous years, to pay double the face value of orders payable on that date. The paid orders indicate that the double payment was made in this case and An Post are satisfied that the person concerned received her full entitlement.

[1739]233.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when he will issue butter vouchers to persons (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  One of the persons concerned is in receipt of a non-contributory old age pension and a book of butter vouchers to cover the 1985-86 year was issued to her on 14 June 1985. The other person is in receipt of a disabled person's maintenance allowance and it is understood from the area health board that a book of butter vouchers for 1985-86 year is in the course of issue to him.

234.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if living alone allowance payments will be made to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford who is a non-contributory old age pensioner; if so, when, and if the recent reduction in payment will be reversed because this person's circumstances have changed again.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The Deputy's representations have been accepted as an application for an increase in old age pension and a living alone allowance on behalf of the person concerned. The case is being referred to the social welfare officer for investigation. On completion of inquiries it will be referred for decision. The pensioner will be notified of the outcome in due course.

235.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a free telephone rental allowance 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  To qualify for a free telephone rental allowance a person in receipt of a qualifying payment must be living alone or only with children under 15 years of age or other persons who are so permanently incapacitated as to be unable to summon aid in an emergency. The person concerned is residing with his wife who is not from the medical evidence [1740] furnished permanently incapacitated as required by the scheme. His application was therefore rejected and he was notified accordingly on 17 June 1985.

236.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an appeal will be arranged for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

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 17 December 1984, following an examination by a medical referee who considered her to be capable of work. She appealed against the disallowance and she was examined on 4 April 1985 by a different medical referee who also considered her to be capable of work. Her case has been referred to an appeals officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing of her case on 2 July 1985. The person concerned has been notified of the time and place of the hearing.

237.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason payment of unemployment assistance was reduced in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The rate of unemployment benefit payable to a claimant is reduced after 156 days of benefit, if he does not satisfy the contribution condition of having 280 paid contributions in a seven year period. The person concerned who is a claimant for unemployment benefit, did not satisfy the contribution condition of having 280 paid contributions in the seven year period. Accordingly the rate of unemployment benefit payable to him was reduced from £37.25 weekly to £30.90 from 23 May 1985 the 15th day of his claim. He also entered the second phase of pay-related benefit on that date and payment of this benefit was reduced from £1.81 weekly to £1.45. He is accordingly in receipt of the flat-rate unemployment benefit and pay-related [1741] benefit to which he is entitled and combined weekly payments of £32.35 continue to be made to him as they become due.

238.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason the full rate of unemployment assistance is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

239.

Mrs. A. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason payment of unemployment assistance was reduced in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It is proposed to take Questions Nos. 238 and 239 together.

The person concerned is in receipt of unemployment assistance at £5 weekly being the appropriate rate £31.75 less means £26.75 derived from the value of board and lodgings in his parents' home. If the circumstances on which his means were assessed have changed it is open to him to apply for a reinvestigation of his case. An application form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

240.

Mr. G. Brady: Information on Gerard Brady  Zoom on Gerard Brady  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6 who has been unemployed for the past 13 weeks is entitled to any benefits.

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 benefit or 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.

241.

Mr. McEllistrim: Information on Thomas McEllistrim Jnr.  Zoom on Thomas McEllistrim Jnr.  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will consider extending the free travel scheme to allow a wife to travel and visit her invalid husband if he is in hospital.

[1742]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Individual entitlement to free travel under the existing scheme is confined to persons over age 66 or if under that age, receiving a social welfare type payment as permanently incapacitated persons. Extension of the scheme to give individual entitlement to a spouse who is not qualified for free travel in his or her own right would redically alter the nature of the scheme and would have significant cost implications. There are no plans to extend the scheme on the lines proposed.

242.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will grant an increase in the rate of unemployment assistance awarded 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 the weekly rate of £16.20 being the appropriate rate £29.95 less means £13.75. He has not requested a review of his means. However, if the circumstances on which his means were assessed have changed it is open to him to apply for a reinvestigation of his case. An application form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

243.

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 reapplied for unemployment assistance on 11 June 1985 and his claim was put into payment on the basis of a qualification certificate issued to him in connection with a previous claim. He is accordingly in receipt of unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £11.65 being the appropriate rate £31.75 less means £20.10. His case has been referred to a social welfare officer for review of his [1743] means. When these inquiries are completed his means will be reassessed and his rate of unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the amount of means assessed against him.

244.

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 with regard to the application for unemployment assistance made by 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 referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means. These investigations are expected to be completed this week and when the report of the social welfare officer is received it will be submitted to a deciding officer for assessment of means. The entitlement of the applicant to unemployment assistance will be determined in the light of the amount of means assessed against him.

245.

Mr. J. Walsh: Information on Joe Walsh  Zoom on Joe Walsh  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay arrears of an increase in an old age pension to a person (details supplied) in County Cork from the date on which he transferred his holdings to his daughter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An application for increase in old age pension has not been received from the person concerned since he transferred his holding. In the light of the information supplied by the Deputy the case is being forwarded to the social welfare officer for investigation. When inquiries have been completed it will be referred for decision. The pensioner will be notified of the outcome in due course.

246.

Mrs. A. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Wexford will receive arrears of an unmarried mother's allowance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A payable order for the [1744] arrears in question, after deductions for unemployment assistance paid to her by the Department, was sent to the person concerned on 10 June 1985.

247.

Mrs. A. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Wexford is not entitled to all or part of a contributory old age pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  One of the qualifying conditions for the receipt of a contributory old age pension requires the claimant to have a yearly average of at least 20 reckonable contributions from 6 July 1953 or from her year of entry into insurance, whichever is the later, to the end of the last complete contribution year before she reaches pension age.

The Department's records show that the person concerned has a total of 384 reckonable contributions in the relevant period which in her case, is from 6 July 1953 to 5 April 1980. This is equal to a yearly average of only 14 and, therefore, she does not qualify for a contributory old age pension under the Social Welfare Acts.

Under EC regulations the contribution records of a person who was employed in two or more EC member states may be combined to enable her to qualify for a pro-rata pension. However, she had a total of only 54 British contributions since 1953 and her combined Irish and British total in the period from 6 July 1953 to 5 April 1980 is equal to a yearly average of only 16. She does not, therefore qualify for a pro-rata pension under EC regulations.

248.

Mrs. A. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Wexford has not received disability benefit for the month up to 3 June 1985.

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 3 June 1985, following an examination by a medical referee who expressed [1745] the opinion that he was capable of work. He appealed against the disallowance and arrangements have been made to have him examined on 2 July 1985 by a different medical referee. The person concerned will be notified of the time and place of the examination as soon as the arrangements have been completed. His entitlement to further payment of disability benefit will be reviewed, on receipt of the medical referees report following this examination.

249.

Mrs. A. Doyle: Information on Avril Doyle  Zoom on Avril Doyle  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Wexford has had £176 deducted over several weeks from his unemployment benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was in receipt of disability benefit from 4 January 1982 to 20 October 1984. During the period 8 October 1984 to 20 October 1984 he also claimed unemployment benefit intermittently and this resulted in an overpayment of disability benefit amounting to £176.70. Arrears of unemployment benefit amounting to £147.27 for the period in question were offset against the overpayment and the balance of £29.43 was recovered by weekly deductions of £3 from his unemployment benefit payments. The total overpayment has now been fully recovered and he is at present in receipt of unemployment benefit at £76.50 the appropriate rate in his case.

250.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 who was made redundant three years ago only received unemployment benefit for the first seven months and has not received any payment since.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit for days of proved unemployment during the period 26 April 1982 to 5 November 1982 while she was engaged in systematic short [1746] time work. She then became fully unemployed and continued to claim unemployment benefit to 3 July 1983 when she exhausted her entitlement to 312 days benefit. She will not requalify for unemployment benefit until she resumes employment for a period of not less than 13 weeks with contributions paid at the appropriate class providing cover against unemployment. She is currently signing for credits.

251.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 has sufficient payments or credits to qualify for unemployment benefit or disability benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is not qualified for disability benefit or unemployment benefit as regulations provide that where a claimant has no contributions paid or credited for any two consecutive contribution years preceding her claim, she cannot qualify for payment of disability benefit or unemployment benefit or the award of credited contributions in respect of periods of incapacity for work or unemployment until she has a further 26 weeks of insurable employment for which the appropriate contributions have been paid.

According to the records of the Department, the person concerned had no contributions paid or credited in the years 1982-83 and 1983-84 and has not had 26 weeks of insurable employment since that time. If her means are insufficient to meet her needs she may be entitled to supplementary welfare allowance and in this regard she should contact her local community welfare officer.

252.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason an old age pension payable to a person (details supplied) in County Cork was not back-dated to his 65th birthday.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned reached age 65 on 26 January 1983. He [1747] claimed a retirement pension on 26 September 1983. He was awarded the pension at the rate appropriate to his yearly average of 33 contributions with effect from 30 June 1983, that is three months prior to the making of his claim. Under the regulations this is the maximum period for which his claim can be backdated unless good cause is shown for the delay in making the claim. If good cause is shown for the delay, payment can be back-dated for a maximum of six months from the date of the claim. The person concerned stated that the reason for the delay was that he did not know that he was entitled to claim a retirement pension at age 65. This reason is not, however, acceptable as good cause for delay and he was informed accordingly.

253.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason payments of disability benefit have not been issued to a person (details supplied) in County Cork for the past four months.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Payment of disability benefit to the person concerned ceased on 9th April 1985 as no medical evidence had been received since 30 January 1985. The person concerned is required to submit medical evidence at monthly intervals. When medical evidence covering the period from 30 January 1985 was received all benefit payable from 11 April 1985 was issued to her.

254.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an invalidity 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  Invalidity pension is payable in place of disability benefit to insured persons who satisfy the contribution conditions and who are permanently incapable of work. The person concerned has been awarded an invalidity pension from 23 May 1985, the Thursday following the completion of claim form. A pension book payable from 1 August 1985 will be issued to the designed post office of [1748] payment. Arrears in respect of the period from 23 May 1985 to 31 July 1985 less the amount of disability benefit paid during that period will be withheld and offset against an overpayment.

255.

Mr. Allen: Information on Bernard Allen  Zoom on Bernard Allen  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason an invalidity pension was not awarded 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 has been in receipt of disability benefit since 19 July 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.

To determine his entitlement to invalidity pension the person concerned was examined on 27 February 1985 by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was not permanently incapable of work and requested that he be referred for a further examination after nine months. He is not therefore qualified for the receipt of invalidity pension. If he is not satisfied with this decision it is open to the person concerned to forward a detailed report from his doctor. On receipt of this report the question as to whether he is permanently incapable of work will be reviewed by the medical adviser of the Department.

256.

Mr. Crotty: Information on Kieran Crotty  Zoom on Kieran Crotty  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny will receive the result of his appeal for injury benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed injury benefit from 16 June 1984 in respect of a prescribed disease which he attributed to the nature of his employment. While his claim was being investigated he was paid disability benefit on an interim basis from 19 July 1984 to 24 January 1985, after which he was certified fit to resume work. Following the completion of the investigations it was decided on the evidence available that [1749] injury benefit was not payable. The person concerned appealed against the decision and the case has been referred to an appeals officer for consideration. It is proposed to deal with the appeal by way of an oral hearing which will be held as soon as possible.

257.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange for a free telephone rental allowance, a free electricity allowance and other such allowances to issue to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 who is living alone as she applied eight weeks ago but has not yet received an acknowledgement.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An application for a free telephone rental allowance from the person concerned was received on 3 May 1985, and acknowledged at that time. Further inquiries are necessary before a decision can be given in her case and when these are completed she will be notified of the outcome.

Her application for a free electricity allowance has been approved and she was notified accordingly on 11 June 1985. The ESB are arranging to apply the allowance to her electricity account from the June-July 1985 billing period onwards. All persons approved for this allowance are automatically entitled to a free television licence. The person concerned has been in receipt of free travel since 1977.

258.

Mr. G. Mitchell: Information on Gay Mitchell  Zoom on Gay Mitchell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will now arrange for a free telephone rental allowance and a free electricity allowance to issue to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 who now lives alone but who was turned down some time ago when she had a person living with her.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was granted a free electricity allowance in October 1980 and the ESB have confirmed that the allowance is applying to her account. Her application for a free telephone rental allowance was last [1750] rejected in June 1984 as she did not satisfy the living alone condition of the scheme. In the light of the Deputy's question a local officer of the Department has been requested to furnish a report on the composition of her household. On receipt of his reply a decision will be given in her case and the applicant will be notified of the outcome.

259.

Mr. Connolly: Information on Gerard C. Connolly  Zoom on Gerard C. Connolly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Offaly who has been in receipt of an invalidity pension for the past 15 years is being called before a medical referee in Tullamore.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was paid disability benefit from 19 May 1977 and was transferred to invalidity pension on 25 June 1981. Invalidity pension is payable in place of disability benefit to insured persons who satisfy the contribution conditions and who are permanently incapable of work. The person concerned was examined on 15 September 1978 by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that he was permanently incapable of work. There is no record of the person having been called since then for medical examination and no further medical examination is envisaged at present.

260.

Mr. N. Treacy: Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in making a decision regarding the payment of unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; if he is aware of this person's financial circumstances; if he will now direct his Department to make weekly payments including all arrears; 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 cannot be determined until extensive inquiries being made at present by a social welfare officer, are completed. When the inquiries are completed his [1751] means will be assessed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance determined accordingly.

261.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if approval can now be given to the disability benefit application made some time ago by a person (details supplied) in County Dublin.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 26 February 1985. She is not qualified for benefit as regulations provide that where a claimant has no contributions paid or credited for any two consecutive contribution years preceding her claim, she cannot qualify for payment of disability benefit, or the award of credited contributions in respect of periods of incapacity for work, until she has a further 26 weeks of insurable employment for which the appropriate contributions have been paid.

According to the records of the Department, the person concerned had no contributions paid or credited in the years 1981-82 and 1982-83 and has not had 26 weeks of insurable employment since that time. She is not therefore, entitled to payment on her current claim or the award of credits in respect of her incapacity for work from November 1983.

262.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the total amount of disability benefit received by a person (details supplied) in County Dublin in the tax year 1983-84.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The following payments were issued to the person concerned in the 1983-84 tax year: Disability Benefit, £1,812.61; Pay-Related Benefit, £934.39; Total, £2,747.00.

263.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a medical examination can be arranged urgently for a person (details Supplied) in County Dublin as she did not receive any notice to attend [1752] the examination fixed for 30 April 1985, and has explained this to his Department.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Arrangements have now been made to have the person concerned examined by a medical referee on 27 June 1985. Her entitlement to further payment of disability benefit will be reviewed on receipt of the medical referee's report following this examination.

264.

Mr. Bell: Information on Michael Bell  Zoom on Michael Bell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details Supplied) in County Louth.

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 a claimant must be fully available for and genuinely seeking work. When the person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 19 April 1985 she stated that she was only seeking part time work and consequently her claim was disallowed. She appealed against the disallowance and her case has been referred to an appeals officer for determination. Her entitlement to unemployment benefit will be determined in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

265.

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 17 June 1985 and stated that he had commenced systematic short time work at his place of employment on that date. Inquiries are being made at present to ascertain the exact days of unemployment each week. When these inquiries are completed his entitlement to unemployment benefit will be determined.

266.

Mr. J. Fahey: Information on John Fahey  Zoom on John Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance which amounted to [1753] £31.75 per week has been discontinued 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 is at present in receipt of unemployment assistance at £1.20 weekly the appropriate rate £31.75 less means £30.55 derived from a British retirement pension. He recently appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and arrangements are being made to have his case submitted to an appeals officer for determination. His rate of unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

267.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  One of the qualifying conditions for the receipt of a contributory old age pension requires the claimant to have a yearly average of at least 20 qualifying contributions from 5 January 1953 or from his year of entry into insurance, whichever is the later, to the end of the last complete contribution year before he reaches pension age.

The husband of the person concerned claimed a contributory old age pension on 14 October 1980. The Department's records show that he had a total of 320 qualifying contributions in the relevant period, which, in his case, is from 5 January 1955 to 5 April 1980. This is equal to a yearly average of only 12 and, therefore, he does not qualify for a contributory old age pension. He was awarded a non-contributory old age pension at the weekly rate of £26.05 from 8 March 1985. This includes an adult dependent allowance of £8.75 in respect of his wife. This is the rate to which he is entitled having regard to the assessment of his means, consisting of half the weekly value of a holding. A non-contributory old age [1754] pension book and the arrears due have been issued to him.

268.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is at present in receipt of an old age pension at the weekly rate of £44.30 which includes an over-eighty allowance. This is the maximum rate of pension payable to a pensioner who is over 80 years of age and does not reside alone. The pensioner was in receipt of a living alone allowance up to 25 January 1985 but this allowance has since been revoked as he is no longer living alone.

269.

Mr. Gregory-Independent: Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7 is entitled to a deserted wife's allowance; and, if not, the reason.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned is at present in receipt of maximum rate deserted wife's benefit for herself and her two children. One of the conditions for receipt of this payment is that the wife must make and continue to make reasonable efforts to prevail on her husband to contribute to the support and maintenance of herself and children. However, because he was unemployed at the time the award was made to her (early in April last) he was not considered to be in a position to do so. The husband returned to work on 2 May 1985 and the claimant was notified of the steps she should take to obtain maintenance from him. She was requested to inform the Department of the outcome of her efforts and her claim will then be reviewed. In the meantime payments to her are continuing.

270.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when he will pay an old age pension to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

[1755]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has been decided by an appeals officer that the person concerned is not entitled to an old age pension as she does not fulfil the statutory conditions with regard to means. The assessment of her means, comprising half the weekly value of her husband's earnings and income from renting a mobile home, exceed the statutory limit for entitlement to pension.

271.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will ensure that a children's allowance book is in order and made available to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The claimant's renewal book was issued in the normal way to her post office of payment. It has been confirmed that the book is available there for collection by her.

272.

Mr. H. Byrne: Information on Hugh Byrne  Zoom on Hugh Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when he will grant a free electricity allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  There is no record in the Department of receipt of a recent application for a free electricity allowance from the person concerned. An application form was therefore issued to him on 20 June 1985. If he considers that he satisfies the conditions for receipt of the allowance as outlined on the form he should complete it and forward it in the first instance to the ESB for attention. On receipt of the completed application in the Department, the matter will be considered further and he will be notified of the outcome.

273.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The rate of unemployment benefit payable to an applicant is reduced [1756] after 156 days of benefit if he does not satisfy the contribution condition of having 280 paid contributions in a seven year period. The person concerned who is an applicant for unemployment benefit, did not satisfy the contributions condition of having 280 paid contributions in the seven year period. Accordingly the rate of unemployment benefit payable to him was reduced from £88.35 weekly to £76.50 from the 157th day of his claim. He also entered the second phase of pay-related benefit and payment of this benefit was reduced from £0.49 weekly to £0.40. He is accordingly in receipt of flat-rate unemployment benefit of £76.50 weekly and pay-related benefit of £0.40 weekly and combined weekly payments of £76.90 will continue to be made to him as they fall due.

274.

Mr. Browne: Information on John Browne  Zoom on John Browne  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Wexford will be transferred to an old age pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  One of the qualifying conditions for the receipt of an old age contributory pension requires the claimant to have a yearly average of at least 20 reckonable contributions from 6 July 1953 or from her year of entry into insurance, whichever is the later, to the end of the last complete contribution year before she reaches pension age. The person concerned reached age 66 years on 4 January 1985. She claimed an old age contributory pension on 7 June 1985. The Department's records show that she had a total of 99 reckonable contributions in the relevant period which, in her case, is from July 1959 to 5 April 1984. This is equal to a yearly average of only three and, therefore she does not qualify for an old age contributory pension. Her widow's pension will continue to be paid to her.

275.

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.

[1757]Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance on 9 January 1985 and his claim was disallowed on the grounds that his means derived from self-employment exceeded the statutory limit. He appealed against the disallowance of his claim and an appeals officer on 7 May 1985 also assessed him with means exceeding the statutory limit. He made a repeat claim on 6 June 1985 and his case has been 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.

Question No. 276 withdrawn.

277.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an appeal will be heard against a decision not to grant unemployment benefit 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 unemployment benefit is subject to the condition that a claimant must be available for and genuinely seeking work. The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit from 16 January 1985 but her claim was disallowed on the grounds that she was not available for employment. She did not appeal against the disallowance although she was advised of her right to do so. If she now wishes to appeal she can obtain the appropriate form at her local office.

278.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the circumstances under which a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 has been judged fit for work although his medical advisers have certified otherwise and have warned him against returning to work until advised by them.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was allowed injury benefit from 29 January [1758] 1985. All benefit due including pay-related benefit from 20 February was paid to 16 May when he was examined by a medical reference who expressed the opinion that he was not incapable of work. Following his appeal against the decision arrangements have been made for a further examination by a different medical referee and the claim will be reviewed in the light of the results of the examination. People who appeal on medical grounds in such cases are invited to forward all available and it is open accordingly to the person concerned to furnish supporting medical evidence in connection with the appeal he has made.

279.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason he has not found it possible to provide a free telephone rental allowance for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 who is 66 years of age and lives with his wife who is at present a patient at the Mater Hospital.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  To qualify for a free telephone rental allowance a person in receipt of a qualifying payment must be living alone or only with children under 15 years of age or other persons who are so permanently incapacitated as to be unable to summon aid in an emergency. The person concerned is residing with his wife who from the information furnished is not permanently incapacitated as required by the scheme. His application was therefore rejected and he was notified of this decision and the reason for it on 10 June 1985. In the light of the Deputy's question, the applicant has been requested to furnish a comprehensive medical certificate in respect of his wife. On receipt of this medical certificate his application will be examined again and the applicant will be be notified of the outcome.

280.

Mr. Tunney: Information on James C. Tunney  Zoom on James C. Tunney  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the present pension entitlements of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11; if he will give details of the changes governing this person's [1759] position since March last; and the amount of arrears, if any, that are due to him.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was awarded an old age contributory pension at the maximum rate with effect from 8 March 1985, that is, his 66th birthday. He was in receipt of an invalidity pension and this continued to be paid to him up to and including 9 May 1985. He was paid supplementary welfare allowance by the local health board the following week. An old age contributory pension book containing orders payable from 24 May 1985 was issued to the designated post office on 22 May 1985 for collection by him and he was notified accordingly. The arrears of old age contributory pension for the period from 8 March 1985 to 23 May 1985 amount to £869.55. From this falls to be deducted an amount of £701.50 invalidity pension paid to him from 8 March 1985 and a further £103.40 being the amount of supplementary welfare allowance paid to him pending the issue of his old age contributory pension book. This leaves a balance of £64.65 which has been issued direct to him by payable order.

281.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if disability benefit payments can now be resumed for a person (details supplied) in County Dublin based on her credits in Ireland and the EC if appropriate; and if a decision can be given as a matter of urgency.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Where a person has less than 156 contributions paid since entry into insurable employment, entitlement to disability benefit is limited to 52 weeks.

According to the records of the Department the person concerned has only 53 contributions paid on her behalf since entry into insurance. She claimed disability benefit from 30 April 1984 and was paid to 1 May 1985 after which date her 52 week entitlement became exhausted.

In order to requalify for disability benefit it will be necessary for her to have [1760] at least a further 13 weeks of insurable employment for which the appropriate contributions are paid.

The claimant has indicated that she was employed in Britain and her insurance record has been requested from the British authorities. When this information comes to hand her entitlement to disability benefit will be reviewed.

282.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if approval can now be given to the application for a deserted wife's allowance made by a person (details supplied) in County Dublin having regard to the fact that she is in urgent need and has a large family of dependent children.

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 at the maximum weekly rate in respect of herself and seven qualified children, with effect from 3 January 1985.

An order book payable from 20 June 1985 was issued on 19 June to the designated post office for collection by her and she was notified accordingly. Arrears for the period from 3 January 1985 to 19 June 1985, after deductions for supplementary welfare allowance paid to her by the Eastern Health Board during this time, will be sent direct to her shortly by payable order.

283.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment assistance payments will be increased for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford in view of the alteration in his means since the last means test.

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 the weekly rate of £19.55, being the appropriate rate £31.75 less means £12.20 derived from the value of capital and a company pension. If the circumstances on which his means were assessed have changed it is open to him to apply for a reinvestigation of his case. An application form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

[1761]284.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a free electricity allowance decision will be reconsidered for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  To be eligible for a free electricity allowance a person must either be living alone or be living with certain categories of persons only. The free electricity allowance which applied to the account of the person concerned has been terminated as his son resides with him who is not a person who comes within these categories for satisfying the living alone condition of the scheme.

285.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a free telephone rental allowance will be reconsidered for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  To qualify for a free telephone rental allowance a person in receipt of a qualifying payment must be living alone or only with children under 15 years of age or other persons who are so permanently incapacitated as to be unable to summon aid in an emergency. The application from the person concerned was rejected as her friend with whom she resides is not permanently incapacitated as required by the scheme. The applicant was notified of this decision and the reason for it on 3 October 1984.

From recent inquiries it has been ascertained that the friend of the person concerned is in receipt of a qualifying payment. Her entitlement to the allowance is now being investigated and when inquiries are completed in the case she will be notified of the outcome.

286.

Mr. Yates: Information on Ivan Yates  Zoom on Ivan Yates  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefit payments will be issued 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 [1762] claimed unemployment benefit from 27 May 1985 and her claim was allowed at £32.75 weekly the appropriate rate in her case. All arrears were paid last week less an amount in respect of supplementary welfare allowance paid by her local health board pending a decision on her claim. Further weekly payments will be made as they become due.

287.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Entitlement to pay-related benefit with flat-rate unemployment 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 an applicant.

The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 9 April 1985 and inquiries had to be made to ascertain the 85 per cent limit applicable in his case. These inquiries have now been completed and pay-related benefit has been allowed at the rate of £29.07 weekly. All arrears of pay-related benefit due to him were paid last week.

288.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if an oral appeal can be arranged for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo who has applied for unemployment assistance.

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 his holding and from the value of capital exceeded the maximum rate payable to him. He appealed against the disallowance of his claim but an appeals officer also assessed him with means exceeding the maximum rate payable to him.

In the absence of fresh evidence or new facts, the decision of an appeals officer is final. If he feels that his circumstances [1763] have changed, it is open to him to request a review of his means. A form for this purpose can be obtained at his local office.

289.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed injury benefit in respect of the period from 20 April 1985 to 25 May 1985, after which he resumed work. All benefit due has now been paid less a sum refunded to the South Eastern Health Board in respect of supplementary welfare allowance advanced.

290.

Mr. Farrelly: Information on John V. Farrelly  Zoom on John V. Farrelly  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in County Meath will be transferred to an invalidity pension as she has been on disability benefit for over seven years.

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 December 1974 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.

To determine her entitlement to invalidity pension the person concerned was examined on 22 April 1985 by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that she was not permanently incapable of work and requested that she be referred for a further examination after six months. She is not therefore qualified for the receipt of invalidity pension.

If she is not satisfied with this decision it is open to the person concerned to forward a detailed report from her doctor. On receipt of this report the question as to whether she is permanently incapable of work will be reviewed by the medical adviser of the Department.

291.

Mr. Noonan: Information on Michael J. Noonan  Zoom on Michael J. Noonan  (Limerick West)[1764] asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite a decision on the appeal by a person (details supplied) in County Limerick against the decision of a deciding officer in granting him inadequate unemployment assistance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The appeal of the person concerned was referred to an appeals officer who has decided to grant him an oral hearing of his case. The hearing is due to take place on 27 June 1985.

292.

Mr. Gregory-Independent: Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7 is entitled to an unmarried mother's allowance; and when she will receive this allowance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was in receipt of unmarried mother's allowance up to 5 June 1985. She then returned her allowance book to the Department without explanation. Her case was therefore referred to a local officer of the Department for investigation. On receipt of the officer's report, which is expected within a week or so, a decision will be given on whether she has continued entitlement to the allowance and she will be notified of the outcome.

293.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in the issue of pension arrears for the period from 1 March to 29 March 1985 in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The arrears of old age contributory pension payable to the person concerned have been issued to him by payable order. The delay in payment is regretted.

294.

Mr. Taylor: Information on Mervyn Taylor  Zoom on Mervyn Taylor  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Dublin was disallowed social welfare assistance; and as the appropriate credits have been [1765] signed for and submitted since, if her welfare payments can now be reinstated.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Where a person has less than 156 contributions paid since entry into insurable employment, entitlement to disability benefit is limited to 52 weeks. According to the records of the Department the person concerned has only 137 contributions paid on her behalf since entry into insurance. She claimed disability benefit from 4 January 1983 and was paid to 5 January 1984 after which date her 52 week entitlement became exhausted.

In order to requalify for disability benefit it will be necessary for her to have at least a further 13 weeks of insurable employment for which the appropriate contributions are paid.

295.

Mr. Gregory-Independent: Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the evidence required by a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1 to show that she is available for work for the purpose of unemployment 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 a claimant must be fully available for and genuinely seeking work. The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 7 March 1985 but her claim was disallowed on the grounds that by reason of being only available for part time work she did not fulfill the condition of being available for work. She appealed against the disallowance and attended an oral hearing of her case on 23 May 1985. The appeals officer also decided that she was not available for work.

296.

Mr. Bell: Information on Michael Bell  Zoom on Michael Bell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when arrears of an unmarried mother's allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Louth.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A payable order for the [1766] arrears in question, less adjustments in respect of maternity allowance and disability benefit paid to her by the Department, has now been sent to the person concerned.

297.

Mr. Bell: Information on Michael Bell  Zoom on Michael Bell  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when arrears of an unmarried mother's allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Louth.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A payable order for the arrears in question, less adjustments in respect of supplementary welfare allowance paid to her by the North Eastern Health Board and maternity allowance paid to her by the Department, has now been sent to the person concerned.

298.

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 a non-contributtory pension to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An old age pension claim by the person concerned was disallowed in 1977. There is no record of a repeat claim having been received in this Department since. If the person concerned wishes to reapply for old age pension it is open to her to do so by sending a completed application form to the Department and the matter will be investigated.

299.

Mr. Coughlan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason there has been such an inordinate delay in having a living alone allowance book issued to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The living alone allowance book payable from 5 April 1985 did not issue to the person concerned due to a clerical error. The appropriate allowance book has since been issued direct to the pensioner. Any inconvenience caused is regretted.

[1767]300.

Mr. Coughlan:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will clarify the position regarding the old age pension entitlements of persons (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  It has been decided that the wife is entitled to an old age pension at the weekly rate of £11.30—from 1 March 1985. An appeal has been lodged against this decision and her case has been referred to an appeals officer for determination. She will be notified of the outcome.

During the course of the investigation of the wife's entitlement it was discovered that their means consisting of half the weekly value of the husband's British retirement pension has increased since the date of their last assessment. Accordingly, the social welfare officer recommended that the husband's pension be reduced to the weekly rate of £11.30. His old age pension book has been recalled and when this has been returned the matter will be referred to a deciding officer for decision. He will be notified of the outcome in due course.

301.

Mr. E. O'Keeffe: Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork has not been granted an increase in his family income supplement in respect of a third child.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed family income supplement on 2 November 1984 and based on his family circumstances at that time was awarded a supplement of £1 weekly. Under the legislation governing this scheme, family income supplement is payable for a fixed period (normally 52 weeks) and the weekly rate of supplement payable is not affected by changes in family size during that period. Accordingly the person concerned is not entitled to an increase in supplement in respect of an additional child, born during the period of entitlement.

[1768]302.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 20 February 1985 and all benefit payable in respect of his claim has been issued to 13 June 1985, the date of the latest medical certificate received.


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