Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Wednesday, 10 June 1992

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 421 No. 1

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  63.  Mr. Gregory  Information on Tony Gregory  Zoom on Tony Gregory   asked the Minister for Social Welfare  Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy   if he will review the request of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1 for a supplementary welfare special clothing allowance as she attends St. Michael's House and all her family are unemployed.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  Under the provisions of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, a health board may make a single payment to a person to meet an exceptional need.

It is understood from the Eastern Health Board, which is responsible for the administration of the scheme in the Dublin area, that the person in question applied to the board in respect of a payment for clothing costs. The application was disallowed on the grounds that the person in question did not produce the requested documentation in support of the claim. The decision to refuse payment was upheld on appeal.

  64.  Mr. Deenihan  Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan   asked the Minister for Social Welfare  Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy   when a decision will be made on the appeal made by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry against the decision refusing him a clothing and footwear allowance in 1991.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  The question of entitlement to assistance under the back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance scheme which is administered under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme is a matter for determination by the health board. It is understood from the Southern Health Board, which is responsible for the administration of the scheme in Kerry, that an application under the scheme from the person concerned, was refused on the grounds of means and that the refusal was upheld on appeal.

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  65.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Social Welfare  Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy   if he will outline the total numbers of persons whose applications for unemployment assistance or unemployment benefit have been rejected in the past six months; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  Unemployment assistance claims are processed at the Department's local offices throughout the country, and statistics such as the Deputy has requested are not available.

In relation to unemployment benefit, it is estimated that 2,684 applications were refused in the last quarter of 1991 and the first quarter of 1992 (i.e. October 1991 to March 1992).

  66.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Social Welfare  Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy   if he will outline the total amount paid by the various health boards in respect of supplementary welfare under the headings of (a) rent supplement and (b) mortgage supplement for each of the past four years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  The health boards do not maintain statistical records in such a way as to provide the information requested by the Deputy.

The possibility of health boards providing more detailed statistics on the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, including a more comprehensive analysis of rent and mortgage supplementation, is currently being explored by my Department in consultation with the boards in the context of the proposed computerisation of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme.

  67.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Social Welfare  Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy   the proposals if any, he has for improvement in respect of old age pensions with particular reference to the wording of the qualifying age limit; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): Information on Charlie McCreevy  Zoom on Charlie McCreevy  Social welfare retirement pension is payable at age 65 and old age [136] pensions (contributory and non-contributory) are payable at age 66.

The net cost of the reduction of the old age pension age by one year is estimated to be in the order of £30 million in a full year.

The question of pension age is one of the issues being addressed by the National Pension Board in the context of its final report on the future development of pensions generally. I expect to receive the board's report shortly and further consideration will be given to the matter at that stage.


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