Tuesday, 22 March 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
292. Ms Enright asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if it is the practice of his Department to ask persons for one parent family payment to provide baptismal certificates in additional to birth certificates; if this practice is in order and constitutional; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8966/05]
Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mr. Brennan): Under social welfare legislation, claimants may be requested to furnish such documents and certificates as deemed necessary to determine entitlement to payment. It is in this context that birth, marriage and other certificates are requested.
In the case of one parent family payment, in particular where a question of cohabitation arises, the baptismal certificate may be requested where the investigating officer deems this necessary. Where this arises, the need for the certificate would be explained to the person concerned and, without same, sufficient information may not be available to enable a deciding officer to determine entitlement.
For all social assistance payments, the onus is on the claimant to prove that his or her circumstances are as declared on applying for the payment. In these circumstances, it is not unreasonable for my Department to seek whatever information is required to ensure that those who most require State support are those who receive it.
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