Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Tuesday, 22 March 1994

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 440 No. 4

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  105.  Mr. R. Bruton  Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton   asked the Minister for Social Welfare  Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods   if he will continue paying child dependant allowance to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5, for the remaining weeks up to the end of the course of education being pursued by the dependant child.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  Social welfare legislation provides for the payment of increases in respect of child dependants to people who are in receipt of certain social welfare payments. Such increases are normally payable in respect of each dependant child up to age 18. However, in the case of child dependants who continue in full-time education, the legislation specifies that payment of the allowance may be continued until the child reaches 21 years of age. This special extension of the age limit from 18 years was introduced by me in 1989 for lone parents and certain other groups and is now the standard upper age limit for payment of child dependant allowance across all long term social welfare schemes.

The person concerned was in receipt of a lone parent's allowance at the reduced rate of £63 per week inclusive of child dependant allowance increases in respect of two of her children who were in full-time education. However, when one of the children reached age 21 in February 1994, the allowance payable to her for that child had to be discontinued. Accordingly, her lone parent's allowance was reduced to £42.10 per week with effect from 17 February 1994.

The legislation does not allow my Department to extend payment of the allowance beyond the upper age limit in any particular case. Any proposal to extend payment of child dependant allowances beyond age 21 would have significant budgetary implications.

If the person concerned is experiencing particular difficulties she should apply to the community welfare officer at her nearest health centre for additional support through the supplementary welfare allowance scheme.

[816]

  106.  Mr. Nealon  Information on Edward Nealon  Zoom on Edward Nealon   asked the Minister for Social Welfare  Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods   the number of people in County Sligo and County Leitrim, who are receiving non-contributory old age pensions and the breakdown between men and women.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  On 31 December 1993, there were 3,041 people in receipt of non-contributory old age pensions in County Sligo and 1,992 in County Leitrim. A breakdown of recipients by sex is not available on a county basis.

However, nationally on the same date, 63,568 (57 per cent) of non-contributory old age pensions were received by women and 47,443 (43 per cent) were received by men.

  107.  Mr. S. Kenny  Information on Seán Kenny  Zoom on Seán Kenny   asked the Minister for Social Welfare  Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods   when unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13 who became unemployed as a result of a company closure and the apparent non-payment of her PRSI contributions to the Revenue Commissioners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Information on Michael J. Woods  Zoom on Michael J. Woods  The person concerned was employed up to 23 December 1993. On termination of her employment she applied for unemployment benefit on 24 December 1993.

To qualify for payment of unemployment benefit a person must have at least 39 contributions either paid at the appropriate rate or credited in the relevant governing contribution year which in this claimant's case is the year from 6 April 1991 to 5 April 1992.

According to records held in the Department, the claimant's insurance record showed only five Class A.1 contributions paid in the governing contribution year, with no contributions at all for the year from 6 April 1992 to 5 April 1993. Inquiries then began into the non-payment of contributions on her behalf by her former employer. As her employer no longer resides in the [817] country, these inquiries are proving protracted.

Additional details were requested of the claimant on 25 January 1994 but, she has been unable to supply these to date.

The papers in her case are now being referred to a social welfare officer for further investigation, with a view to establishing the claimant's insurance record for the years 1991-92 and 1992-93. This investigation will be completed as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, the person concerned is being paid unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £27.60 on the basis of a means assessment of £28.00. The means are derived from the benefit of board and lodging in her parent's home.


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