Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Thursday, 28 November 1985

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 362 No. 3

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60.

Mr. Crotty: Information on Kieran Crotty  Zoom on Kieran Crotty  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason payment of unemployment assistance was discontinued to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny when he commenced a two-day course per week with AnCO.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The entitlement of the person concerned to unemployment assistance from 28 October 1985 could not be determined until inquiries to establish why he left an AnCO course and whether he was available for and genuinely seeking work had been completed. These inquiries have recently been completed and his claim has been allowed at the weekly rate of £88.35, being the appropriate rate applicable to a married man with five child dependants who has means of £11.70 weekly, assessed against him. Arrangements have been made to pay all arrears of unemployment assistance due this week and further payments of £88.35 weekly will continue to be made to him as they become due.

61.

Mr. Crotty: Information on Kieran Crotty  Zoom on Kieran Crotty  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who applied for a non-contributory pension seven weeks ago will receive payment.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  From the particulars supplied it has not been found 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, his entitlement will be investigated and he will be notified of the outcome.

62.

Mr. Crotty: Information on Kieran Crotty  Zoom on Kieran Crotty  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who applied for old age pension quite some time ago will receive payment.

[677]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 maximum weekly rate of £75.40 from 20 September 1985 which includes an adult dependant allowance of £22.10 and a dependent child allowance of £9.30. The appropriate pension books payable from 8 November 1985 issued on 25 October 1985. A payable order covering arrears of pension due for the period 20 September 1985 to 7 November 1985 less the amount of supplementary welfare allowance paid for the same period issued separately.

63.

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 pay-related benefit as he has been in receipt of unemployment benefit for six weeks.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit from 7 October 1985 and his claim was authorised at £65.10 weekly, being the appropriate rate of unemployment benefit applicable to a married man. It has now been established that he is also entitled to pay-related benefit at £28.20 weekly in addition to flat rate unemployment benefit. Arrangements have been made to pay all arrears of pay-related benefit due this week and combined weekly payments will continue to be made as they become due.

64.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a decision will be made in the appeal for unemployment assistance by a person (details supplied) in County Cavan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following an oral hearing on 3 October 1985 of the appeal of the person concerned against the disallowance of his unemployment assistance claim, an appeals officer decided that he was not available for employment on and from 5 May 1984 to 18 June 1984, (excluding 17 May 1984) and on and from 26 September [678] 1984. Notification of this decision was issued to the person concerned on 26 November 1985.

65.

Dr. O'Hanlon: Information on Rory O'Hanlon  Zoom on Rory O'Hanlon  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cavan who is in receipt of a disabled person's maintenance allowance has not received a free electricity allowance.

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. A free electricity allowance cannot be granted to the person concerned as her husband resides with her who is not a person who comes within these categories for satisfying the living alone condition of the scheme.

66.

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 payment of unemployment benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned was in receipt of unemployment benefit to 16 September 1981, when he exhausted his entitlement to 390 days benefit. He will not requalify for unemployment benefit until he resumes employment for a period of not less than 13 weeks with contributions paid at the appropriate class providing cover against unemployment. He made a repeat application for unemployment assistance on 5 November 1985 and his claim was allowed from that date. He is at present in receipt of £25.85 weekly, being the appropriate rate in his case of £88.35 less means assessed against him of £62.50. The arrears due were offset against advances of supplementary welfare allowance which had been paid to him pending a decision on his entitlement to unemployment assistance. Further weekly payments will continue to be made as they become due.

67.

Mr. Hyland: Information on Liam Hyland  Zoom on Liam Hyland  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will make an early decision on an application for unemployment [679] assistance from a person (details supplied) in County Laois.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  A person convicted of an offence under the Social Welfare Acts in respect of a claim for unemployment assistance is disqualified for the receipt of unemployment assistance for a period of six months immediately following the date of the conviction. This penalty is specifically provided for by statute as being mandatory, apart from any penalty which a court may impose.

The person concerned was convicted of an offence on 23 October 1985 and accordingly he has been disqualified for the receipt of unemployment assistance for six months from 24 October 1985. If his means are insufficient to meet his needs he may apply for supplementary welfare allowance from the local community welfare officer.

68.

Mr. Hyland: Information on Liam Hyland  Zoom on Liam Hyland  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if his Department will grant the maximum rate of unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Laois.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The person concerned applied for unemployment assistance on 6 August 1985 and 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 1984 which recorded him as having means of £48. He was, accordingly, in receipt of unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £31.50, being the appropriate rate in his case of £79.50, less means of £48.

The social welfare officer recently completed his inquiries and the applicants means have been assessed at nil, with effect from 6 August 1985. His claim has now been authorised for payment on the basis of nil means and payment at the maximum appropriate weekly rate of £79.50 will commence this week. The person concerned was in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance pending [680] the outcome of the investigation and when the amount to be recouped to his local health board is known the balance of any arrears of unemployment assistance due will be paid to him. Weekly payments will continue to be made as they become due.

69.

Mr. Hyland: Information on Liam Hyland  Zoom on Liam Hyland  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will now approve an application for unemployment assistance from a person (details supplied) in County Laois.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Before the entitlement of the person concerned to unemployment assistance could be determined, it was necessary to have his means investigated by a social welfare officer. The inquiries, which were extensive, have now been completed and arrangements are being made to refer the case to a deciding officer for assessment of means. The entitlement of the person concerned to unemployment assistance will be determined in the light of the amount of means assessed against him.

70.

Mr. F. Fahey: Information on Frank Fahey  Zoom on Frank Fahey  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the present position in relation to an appeal from a person (details supplied) in County Galway with regard to the amount of unemployment assistance granted to him.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The claim to unemployment assistance of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that his means derived from self-employment exceeded the statutory limit. He appealed against this decision and an appeals officer, on 26 July 1985, assessed his means at £67.30 weekly. He is, accordingly, in receipt of unemployment assistance at £32.50 weekly, being the appropriate rate in his case of £99.80 less means of £67.30. He recently requested a review of his means and his case has been referred to a social welfare officer for investigation. When these inquiries are completed his means will be reassessed and the rate of unemployment [681] assistance payable to him will be reviewed in the light of the amount of means assessed against him.

71.

Proinsias De Rossa: Information on Prionsias De Rossa  Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will outline the arrangements for the proposed scheme which will enable persons over 55, who have been out of work for more than 15 months, to sign on once every three months; 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  In accordance with the commitment given in the national plan Building on Reality special arrangements are being introduced under the unemployment assistance scheme for people aged 55 and over who have been continuously unemployed for at least 15 months.

The new arrangements provide that the claimants involved will only have to sign the unemployment register once every three months to confirm that they have been and remain unemployed. Payment of unemployment assistance will continue to be made on a weekly basis and this payment will be made by means of a pay voucher which will be encashable at the local post office.

The introduction of the new arrangements has had to be postponed because certain of the staff interests involved have not, to date, agreed the necessary administrative procedures. The arrangements will commence as soon as this matter has been resolved.

72.

Mr. Leyden: Information on Terry Leyden  Zoom on Terry Leyden  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite approval of 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  It has been decided by an appeals officer that the person concerned is not entitled to old age pension on the grounds that he does not fulfil the statutory conditions as to means. The assessment of his means, consisting of half the weekly value of income from a holding and capital, exceed the statutory limit for [682] entitlement to pension. The transfers of both the holding and capital are not acceptable for pension purposes.

73.

Mr. Cowen:  asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a contributory old age pension will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Laois; if it was a retirement pension that should have been applied for, if he will confirm that a retirement pension application form will now be forwarded immediately to him.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  There is no record of receipt of a claim for retirement pension or old age contributory pension from the person concerned. His pension entitlement will be examined if he submits a completed claim form to the Department. A retirement pension claim form has been issued to him.

74.

Mr. Kenny: Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit was disallowed to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  An applicant for unemployment benefit who is a landholder but does not satisfy the contribution condition of having 78 paid contributions in a three year period is not entitled to unemployment benefit if the income from his holding exceeds £2 daily. The person concerned is a landowner who did not satisfy the contribution condition of having 78 paid contributions in a three year period. The profit from his holding was deemed to exceed £2 daily and accordingly his claim for unemployment benefit was disallowed. He recently appealed against this decision and arrangements have been made to have an oral hearing of his appeal next week. His entitlement to unemployment benefit will be determined in the light of the decision of the appeals officer. In the interim, unemployment assistance is being paid at £36.35 weekly being the appropriate rate in his case of £94 weekly [683] less means of £57.65 weekly, recently assessed against him.

75.

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 Carlow.

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 claimed unemployment benefit on 1 November 1985 and inquiries had to be made to establish whether he fulfilled the condition of genuinely seeking work. These inquiries were recently completed and his claim was allowed at the maximum appropriate weekly rate of £74.50. All arrears due will be paid this week and further weekly payments will continue to be made as they become due.

76.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will sympathetically reconsider the case of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath who has had his unemployment assistance severely reduced.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Following a recent reinvestigation of his unemployment assistance claim the means of the person concerned were assessed, with effect from 30 October 1985, at £50 weekly, derived from the profit from his holding. He is, accordingly, entitled to unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £26.95, being the appropriate rate in his case of £76.95 less means of £50.

The person concerned recently appealed against the means assessment and arrangements are being made to refer his case to an appeals officer for determination. The rate of unemployment assistance payable will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer. Weekly payments will continue to be made as they become due.

77.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister [684] for Social Welfare the present position regarding sanction of an old age pension for a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath as he has submitted all details and legal documentation as requested.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  The appeal of the person concerned against the refusal to grant him an old age pension is with an appeals officer for determination. The person concerned will be notified of the outcome as soon as possible.

78.

Mrs. O'Rourke: Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will give sympathetic consideration to the case of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath who wishes to transfer from disability benefit to an invalidity pension.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Information on Barry Desmond  Zoom on Barry Desmond  Invalidity pension is payable to insured persons who satisfy the contribution conditions and who are permanently incapable of work. Arrangements are being made to have the person concerned examined by a medical referee. His entitlement to invalidity pension will be reviewed in the light of the report of this examination.


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