Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits

Thursday, 29 November 2001

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 545 No. 3

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  141.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   if, in the context of recent correspondence received by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare, cognisance has been taken of a court decision setting out the person's maintenance liability of £30 per week; if the discussions have been set aside; if his Department has gone to court to seek an increase in maintenance thereby reducing Departmental responsibility; if regard was had for the person's mortgage repayments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30387/01]

Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Under the provisions of the Social Welfare Acts, a person has a legal responsibility to support his/her spouse and dependent children. Where social welfare support is being provided to a one-parent family, the other parent (the liable relative) is legally liable to contribute to the cost of the payment.

In the case in question, the wife of the person concerned is in receipt of one parent family payment of £108.70, 138.02, from the Department. Based on his circumstances, the net contribution which he is liable to make has been assessed at £74, 93.96, per week. In arriving at this figure, allowance has been made for his mortgage costs and for the maintenance award of £30 (38.09) per week under a court order. The manner in which contributions due by liable relatives are calculated is set out in regulations.

The liability of the person concerned has been [767] determined by a deciding officer in accordance with relevant regulations. If he is dissatisfied with the deciding officer's decision, he has a right of appeal to the social welfare appeals office. Under social welfare legislation, decisions relating to claims are made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.

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