Wednesday, 10 May 1995
Dáil Éireann Debate
Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): The effective dates of the  general increases in social welfare rates and the increases in child benefit, as provided for in the Social Welfare Act, 1995, are set out in the following table. Other improvements in the social welfare code such as improvements in PRSI, improvements to the carer's allowance, etc., which are provided for in this year's Social Welfare Act, take effect from various dates, as indicated in that Act.
|Unemployment Assistance||7 June||20 July|
|Unemployment Benefit||8 June||21 July|
|Disability Benefit; Health and Safety Benefit; Injury Benefit; Disablement Gratuity; Disablement Pension and Sup- plementary Welfare Allowance||12 June||25 July|
|Deserted Wife's Benefit; Invalidity Pension; Retirement Pen- sion; Pre-Retirement Allowance; Deserted Wife's Allow- ance; Prisoner's Wife's Allowance; Lone Parent's Allow- ance; (other than a Lone Parent's Allowance payable in respect of a widow or widower) and Carer's Allowance.||15 June||28 July|
|Old Age (Con) Pension; Survivor's Pension; Orphan's (Con) Allowance; Death Benefit Pensions for widows, widowers, parents and orphans; Old Age (Non-Con) Pension; Blind Pension; Widow's (Non-Con) Pension; Lone Parent's Allowance payable in respect of a widow or widower and Orphan's (Non-Con) Pension||16 June||29 July|
|Child Benefit||1 September||1 September|
The implementation dates of various other improvements in the social welfare code announced in the budget, which are not specifically provided for in the Social Welfare Act, 1995 and which have yet to be implemented, are as follows:
|Measure||Date of Implementation|
|Increases in Rates of Maternity Benefit||12 June 1995|
|Improvements in Free Schemes:—|
|— Free colour TV licence||1 October 1995|
|— Free Travel companion pass to carers||1 July 1995|
|— Extension of Free Tra- vel to include cross bor- der travel||1 July 1995|
|— Increase in Free Fuel means limit||1995 fuel season|
|Increase in Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance||New rates to apply to all applications in 1995.|
53. Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason additional benefits available for invalidity and other pensions are not allowable when the pensioner does not live alone or with other dependent or qualified people; if he accepts that these benefits are available as a consequence of the person being a pensioner; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8496/95]
Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): Additional benefits such as the free electricity allowance, free natural gas allowance, free television licence and free telephone rental allowance are available only to people who are in receipt of social welfare type pensions and who satisfy the living alone condition attached to those schemes. The purpose of the schemes is to encourage elderly or disabled people who are living alone on limited means to continue to live in their own homes rather than go into residential care. About 200,000 people benefit from those schemes at present at an annual cost of £59 million.
I should mention that, in relation to the living alone condition, it is not necessary that entitlement should be limited to persons actually living alone. The living alone condition, as currently applied, allows certain persons to live with the pensioner without affecting his entitlement. They include a dependent spouse, children under age 18, or up to 21 if in full-time education, or a carer in the case of an invalid. where the pensioner is over 75 years of age, the allowances continue in place where the living alone condition ceases to be satisfied by virtue of somebody moving in with the pensioner.
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