Dáil Éireann - Volume 315 - 26 June, 1979

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Payments.

88. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why disability benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Haughey): The person concerned entered insurance under the Social Welfare Acts in February, 1975 and has a total of 116 employment contributions paid since that date. As less than 156 employment contributions have been paid in respect of her the duration of her claim to disability benefit is limited to 52 weeks.

She was paid disability benefit from 6 May 1978—the fourth day of her incapacity—to 4 May 1979, a total of 52 weeks. She has accordingly been paid for the maximum period to which she is entitled under the Acts. She has continued to submit medical evidence of incapacity but further payment may not be made on her present claim.

89. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why disability benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Haughey): The person concerned has been incapable of work from about 19 April 1979 but payment of benefit was only made from 13 May to 23 May 1979 due to the fact that medical evidence was only received for that period owing to disruption of the postal services.

[958] A cheque has now been issued to him in payment of arrears of flat-rate disability benefit up to 26 June 1979, less interim payments made by way of supplementary welfare allowance. The cheque will be available for collection at the temporary distribution centre at Tullamore from 28 June 1979. The claimant's entitlement to pay-related benefit is being examined and the amount, if any, due will be paid as soon as possible.

90. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why disability benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Haughey): Payment of disability benefit to the person concerned was discontinued from 27 February 1979 following her examination by a medical referee of my Department who expressed the opinion that she was capable of work. She continues to furnish medical certificates of incapacity and on the termination of the postal dispute arrangements will be made to have her examined by a different medical referee, when her case will be reviewed.

91. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why disability benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Haughey): The person concerned made a claim to disability benefit on 12 June 1979 and submitted medical evidence of incapacity from 16 May to 2 June 1979.

A cheque in respect of payment of benefit from 19 May 1979, the fourth day of incapacity, to 2 June issued on 15 June 1979. Further medical evidence of incapacity to 13 June 1979 was subsequently received and a cheque in payment of benefit to that date was issued on 19 June 1979. The two cheques were sent to the distribution centre at Tullamore for collection. If the person concerned cannot himself collect the cheques he may authorise someone to collect them on his behalf.

92. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why sick benefit has [959] not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Haughey): The person concerned has been claiming disability benefit since April 1975. On the death of his wife in January 1979 he continued for a time to receive an increase of benefit in respect of her, thus resulting in an overpayment of £103.95.

Deductions at the rate of £2 a week were being made from his benefit up to 7 April 1979 to recover the overpayment. At that stage payment ceased as medical evidence of incapacity was not being received. On receipt of medical certificates for May and June on 18 June 1979 payment of benefit for the period 8 April to 30 June 1979 was authorised and a cheque for this period, less a deduction at the rate of £2 a week has been sent to the distribution centre at Tullamore for collection by him.

93. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why the maximum rate of pay-related benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Haughey): Disability benefit in respect of the period from 16 March 1979—the fourth day of incapacity—to 5 May 1979 and pay-related benefit in respect of the period from 27 March 1979—the 13th day of incapacity—to 5 May 1979 were awarded to the person concerned. Cheques in payment of those awards were sent to Tullamore distribution centre for collection by him.

The rate of pay-related benefit awarded is based on his reckonable earnings in the 1977-1978 income tax year, the year appropriate to his claim. As, however, payment is only due from the 13th day of incapacity he has been paid the full amount to which he is entitled.

94. Mr. Berminghan asked the Minister for Social Welfare (a) the reasons four employees of Bord na Móna in County Kildare (details supplied) working in isolation on drainage operations on Kilberry bog, were refused unemployment benefit when laid-off by [960] Board na Móna; (b) the date on which they were notified of the reasons for refusal, (c) the amount of weekly benefit involved and (d) the proposals, if any, to rectify the position.

95. Mr. Bermingham asked the Minister for Social Welfare (a) the name of each employee of Bord na Móna employed at (i) Kilberry factory and (ii) Kilberry bog, County Kildare, who applied for and who was refused unemployment benefit following a lay-off of factory workers by Bord na Móna; (b) the grounds in each case, why benefit was refused, indicating the appropriate provisions of the Social Welfare Acts; (c) the date on which the Department's decision was communicated to each employee in the form which would enable the employee to appeal; (d) if he is aware that there was no stoppage of work at Kilberry factory or Kilberry bog when the lay-off occurred and that Bord na Móna had not been notified by the union concerned of any trade dispute; (e) in view of the refusal to safeguard the rights of insured workers, if he will instruct the deciding officers and appeal officers to communicate with the trade union concerned before any further adverse decisions are made, the content of any communication received from Bord na Móna in respect of which decisions were made but not disclosed to the employees concerned or their trade union, and if it is proposed to hold an inquiry into the matter.

97. Mr. Bermingham asked the Minister for Social Welfare (a) the reasons a person (details supplied) employed by Bord na Móna at Kilberry Works, County Kildare, was refused unemployment benefit when laid-off by Bord na Móna immediately on his return from sick leave; (b) the date on which he was notified of the reasons for refusal; (c) the amount of weekly benefit involved; and (d) the proposals if any, to rectify the position.

98. Mr. Bermingham asked the Minister for Social Welfare (a) the reasons unemployment benefit was refused to persons (details supplied) employed at Kilberry bog, County [961] Kildare, and laid-off by Bord na Móna; (b) the date on which they were notified of the reasons for refusal; (c) the amount of weekly benefit involved; and (d) the proposals, if any, to rectify the position.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Haughey): With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle: I propose to take Questions Nos. 94, 95, 97 and 98 together.

Claims for unemployment benefit from the persons concerned were made at a number of local offices of my Department. Due to difficulties in communication it has not been possible in the time available to obtain all the information required. I will inform the Deputy of the position when the information becomes available.

96. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why pay related benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Haughey): The person concerned was not paid pay-related benefit as no reckonable earnings were recorded by the Revenue Commissioners in respect of him for the relevant income tax year governing his claim. A notice to that effect was issued to him and he was requested to forward a signed statement from his employer giving details of his earnings. This statement has not, so far, been received. He is, however, being paid disability benefit currently at the maximum rate of flat rate benefit appropriate to a man with five qualified children.