Adjournment Debate. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Tuesday, 15 October 2002

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 2

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  425.  Mr. Rabbitte  Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte   asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 24 involving the reduction of disability allowance from ?118 to ?3.80 on 30 August 2002; the entitlement this person has in view of the fact that their partner cannot continue to support them due to outgoings on rent and so on; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18179/02]

Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan): Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The person concerned was in receipt of disability allowance with effect from September 1998 at the maximum weekly personal rate.

Under the legislative provisions that apply to disability allowance, all income which the claimant or their spouse or partner have is assessable for means purposes. Following a review, his means, deriving from his partner's employment, were reassessed at €116.64 per week. This assessment does not include the value of a compensation award on the grounds that this is being used to purchase a house. Based on this means assessment he is currently entitled to disability allowance at the weekly rate of €3.80 per week. He was notified of this decision on 30 August 2002 and of his right to appeal to the social welfare appeals office. To date, no appeal has been made.

Under social welfare legislation, decisions in relation to claims must be made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.

[723]

  426.  Mr. Ring  Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring   asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs  Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan   if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo can receive the free schemes in retrospect for the 11 months they were providing full-time care and attention to their aunt. [18274/02]

Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan): Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  The person concerned was in receipt of a carer's allowance from my Department from April 2001 to March 2002. When such an allowance is awarded a standard free travel pass issues automatically to the customer and an application form for the household benefits package of free schemes is enclosed with the notification of award of the allowance.

[724]A free travel pass was issued to the person concerned on 24 September 2001. The Department has no record of an application from him for an electricity allowance/free television licence or a telephone allowance at that time. Retrospective award of these allowances in the circumstances of this case is not possible.

The person concerned has been now been awarded a carer's allowance in respect of a different pensioner. As part of the notification of this new decision, he will receive an application form for household benefits. As soon as his completed application is received a decision will be made on his entitlements and he will be notified of the outcome.


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