Tuesday, 11 December 1990
Dáil Éireann Debate
136. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will examine the terms under which a person gets disability benefit and where he is worse off than if he was on unemployment assistance where he would be entitled to a number of benefits; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a husband, wife and three children on disability would be receiving a weekly allowance of £112.80 plus £3 smokeless fuel voucher whereas on unemployment assistance long term he would be receiving £109.80 plus a £5 fuel voucher, £3 smokeless fuel allowance, butter vouchers, Christmas bonuses, thereby making him extremely worse off by being on disability benefit; it he will correct this anomaly; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Disability benefit is essentially a short-term payment for those who are unable to work due to temporary incapacity. Disability benefit recipients are treated similarly to other short-term benefit recipients as regards rates of payment and entitlement to additional allowances. Those who are in receipt of disability benefit for a year or longer, who satisfy medical and contribution conditions, are entitled to transfer to invalidity pension.
Invalidity pensioners are entitled to the full range of benefits that long-term unemployment assistance recipients receive. Allowances such as fuel vouchers, smokeless fuel allowance, butter vouchers and Christmas bonuses are all paid to invalidity pensioners. These additional allowances for those in receipt of long-term welfare payments, such as long-term unemployment assistance and invalidity pension, are part of the Government's policy of targeting scarce resources towards those most in need.
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