Dáil Éireann - Volume 330 - 10 November, 1981

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

558. Mr. Crinion asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the free electricity allowance will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Meath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The application for free electricity allowance from the person concerned has been approved from October-November 1981 billing period onwards. The ESB confirmed that the allowance has been applied to his electricity account from that period.

559. Mr. Crinion asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the free electricity allowance will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Meath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The application for free electricity allowance from the person concerned has been approved from October-November 1981 billing period onwards. The ESB has been instructed to apply the allowance to his electricity account from that period.

560. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange for the immediate payment of a retirement pension to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned attained age 65 years in January 1981 and claimed retirement pension from my Department. He is not qualified for such pension as he does not satisfy the statutory condition which requires a claimant to have at least 156 contributions paid in respect of him since his entry into insurance. According to the records of my Department he has only 94 such contributions to his credit since 1953.

Further inquiries are being made to establish whether he had employment [1530] prior to 1953 which might enable him to satisfy this statutory condition.

561. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange for disability benefit to be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will arrange for an invalidity pension to be paid in this case in future.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned has been in receipt of disability benefit from 1965 and is paid on the automatic payment system whereby payment issues regularly on the same day each week, medical evidence of incapacity being required at monthly intervals only. All disability benefit due has been paid to 14 November 1981. The payment due for the week ended 24 October issued on 19 October to the correct address but it does appear to have been received by him. On receipt of the completed indemnity from which issued to him on 6 November a replacement will issue immediately.

The necessary application from for invalidity pension has issued to the claimant. On receipt of the from duly completed arrangements will be made to transfer him to invalidity pension.

562. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange for the immediate payment of disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned was paid disability benefit continuously from 8 February 1979 to 6 February 1980. According to the records of my Department she has less than 156 contributions to her credit since her entry into insurable employment and her entitlement to payment is accordingly limited to 52 weeks.

This period of entitlement was exhausted on 6 February 1980 and she cannot requalify for further payment of benefit until she has at least thirteen weeks of insurable employment after the date of last payment of benefit. Credited contributions are, however, being allowed in respect of the credited contributions [1531] which the person concerned continues to furnish.

563. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange for the immediate payment of unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned recently renewed his application for unemployment assistance and his case has been referred to a social welfare officer of my Department for investigation of his means.

When the inquiries are finalised his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be decided immediately.

564. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange for the issue of an old age pension book for £26.25 per week to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): It was decided by the local pension committee on 22 June 1981 that the person concerned was entitled to a non-contributory old age pension at the following rates: £21 per week from 22 July 1980; £26.25 per week from 3 April 1981 and £25.05 from 1 July 1981. The rate payable from 2 October 1981 is £26.35.

The committee's decision was implemented by the issue of a pension order book payable from 16 October 1981 at the rate of £26.35. The arrears due, less the amount of pension already received by the pensioner in the period 22 July 1980 to 9 October 1981 inclusive were paid by payable order on 2 November 1981.

A letter received from the pensioner indicating that she is dissatisfied with the decision of the pension committee has been accepted as an appeal. Her case will now be referred to an appeals officer and she will be notified of the outcome in due course.

565. Dr. O'Hanlon asked the Minister [1532] for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 27 August 1981 but was not qualified for payment as he had no contributions paid or credited in the contribution years, 1978-79 or 1979-80 governing his claim.

Following inquiries it was established that the employer by whom he had been employed since 1977 had failed to pay the social insurance contributions due in respect of him. It has been decided however to grant special credits which will enable payment of benefit to be made pending the collections of the arrears of contributions due. Disability benefit at the maximum appropriate rate has accordingly been paid from the 31 August, fourth day of incapacity, to 7 November.

When details of his earnings in the relevant tax year are available, pay-related benefit, if due, will issue.

566. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare if an appeal has yet been heard in the case of an application for an old age pension by a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and the present level of pension being paid to the applicant.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person in question was awarded a partial rate non-contributory old age pension last year. No appeal was made against the award. She is currently in receipt of pension at the weekly rate of £13.15, pending a decision by the local pension committee on a question raised by the social welfare officer, for reduction of her pension. If the pensioner is dissatisfied with the decision of the pension committee she will, of course, have the right to appeal against it.

567. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare if all unemployment and pay-related benefits have been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

[1533] Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned was paid all unemployment benefit due to her when she was unemployed for three days each week during the period 18 September 1980 to 17 January 1981. She was not entitled to pay-related benefit during this period as she had insufficient earnings in the relevant April 1978 to April 1979 tax year.

The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 21 April 1981 and she was paid all flat rate disability benefit as payments became due. She recently furnished evidence of her reckonable earnings during the income tax year April 1979 to April 1980 on the basis of which title to pay-related benefit has been established. Arrangements have been made for the immediate payment of all arrears of pay-related benefit due to her.

568. Mr. Molloy asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange for the immediate payment of unemployment assistance at the full rate to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned has recently notified the local office dealing with his unemployment assistance claim of a change in his circumstances and his case has been referred to a social welfare officer of my Department for reinvestigation of his means.

The rate of unemployment assistance peresently being paid to the person concerned will be reviewed immediately following the completion of the inquiries.

569. Mr. Mervyn Taylor asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the deserted wife's allowance will be paid to an applicant (details supplied) in County Dublin.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned has been awarded deserted wife's benefit at the maximum appropriate rate for a woman with one qualified child. An allowance order book has issued to the designated post office for collection by [1534] her and she has been notified accordingly.

570. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange for the issue of an unmarried mother's allowance book to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned lost her social assistance allowance book on 1 October 1981 but my Department only became aware of this fact on 9 October. A form was issued to her on that date requesting details of the loss but she did not return this from until 4 November 1981. A replacement book was sent to the designated post office on 5 November for collection by her, and she has been notified accordingly.

571. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why pay-related and unemployment benefits have not been paid to an applicant (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): Details of the reckonable earnings of the person concerned, in transit between the local office dealing with his claim for unemployment benefit and my Department's headquarters, went astray and regretfully delay occured in the payment of pay-related benefit to which he was entitled. The matter was recently rectified and all arrears of pay-related benefit were paid to him last week.

572. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why unemployment benefit has not been paid to an applicant (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned exhausted his entitlement to unemployment benefit on 21 October 1981 when he had received benefit for 390 days. He will not requalify until he completes a further 13 weeks of insurable employment.

His entitlement to unemployment [1535] assistance cannot be determined as he has refused to date to co-operate in inquires which are necessary to enable his means to be assessed.

573. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare why unemployment assistance has not been paid to an applicant (details supplied) in County Offaly.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The claim for unemployment assistance of the person concerned cannot be decided until certain detailed inquiries, which were found to be necessary in his case, have been completed. His unemployment assistance claim will be determined immediately these inquiries are finalised.

574. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit for the period 5 November 1980 to 14 January 1981. He was not entitled to payment as he did not have the necessary minimum of 26 paid or credited contributions in the contribution years 1978 or 1979 which governed his claim.

575. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a widow's pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned has been awarded a non-contributory widow's pension at the maximum rate appropriate to a widow with no qualified children with effect from 14 August 1981. A pension order book payable from 2 October 1981 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by her and she has been notified accordingly. The arrears of pension due from 14 August to 1 October 1981 have been paid direct to the widow.

[1536] 576. Mr. Meaney asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange to grant the free electricity allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Cork as she is still receiving notices to pay in full.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): An application for a free electricity allowance from the person referred to in the question was disallowed in August 1980 as the living alone condition of the scheme was not satisfied in her case.

A further application from was issued to her and advice as to the procedure to be followed was contained in a reply to representations which had been made on her behalf. There has been no response from the claimant. However, I have arranged to have another application form issued to her and if she considers that she would now qualify for the allowance she should complete it and send it to the ESB.

577. Mr. Meaney: asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange to pay unemployment benefit or assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned did not claim unemployment benefit or unemployment assistace from my Department. He did, however, claim injury benefit from January 1981 in respect of an incapacity arising out of an alleged accident at work in March 1980.

As injury benefit is statutorily limited to a maximum period of 26 weeks from the date of the alleged accident he was not entitled to payment of this benefit in respect of his claim from 9 January 1981.

His entitlement to disability benefit was then examined but as he had less than the required minimum of 26 paid or credited contributions in the governing 1979-80 contribution year he is not entitled to payment.

He also claimed disablement benefit in July 1981 in respect of the alleged accident. The employers however intimated that the accident was not reported to them and in the circumstances further [1537] inquiries are necessary before his entitlement can be determined. On completion of these inquiries he will be informed of the outcome.

578. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in granting a living alone allowance and in paying a death grant in respect of her late husband to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as the application was made in April last.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned has been awarded a living alone allowance with effect from 8 May 1981 and an allowance book with orders payable from 2 October 1981 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by her. She has been notified accordingly. The arrears due to her were paid by payable order. The delay in this matter arose from the widow being away on holidays when an officer called to interview her.

Her claim for death grant was refused as her late husband was over pension age (70 years) on 1 October 1970 when the scheme was first introduced and could not satisfy the condition which requires that at least 26 insurance conributions have been paid between 1 October 1970 and date of death.

579. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the increase in widow's pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as the particulars have been submitted for some time.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned is in receipt of a widow's non-contributory pension at a reduced rate on the basis of her means assessed on the estimated yearly value of her holding as decided by an appeals officer in April 1980. Following re-investigation of her case in April last, at which it was reported that there was no change in her circumstances, it was decided that she was not entitled to an increase of pension on the basis of her means.

[1538] 580. Dr. Byrne (Dublin North-West) asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit at the full rate will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 2 June 1981 and was paid at the maximum appropriate rate from 5 June, fourth day of incapacity, to 13 June after which date he was certified fit to resume work.

He again claimed disability benefit from 26 June 1981 and was paid from 30 June 1981 to 4 July, after which date he resumed work. All disability benefit due on both claims has issued. The adjusting cheque issued on 9 November 1981. He was not entitled to pay-related benefit on either claim. Thre is no record of any later claim having been received from him.

581. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a non-contributory old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The claim of the person concerned for a non-contributory old age pension was investigated and referred to the local pension committee for decision on 13 May 1981. No payment of pension has been recommended as the claimant's means, consisting of a holding and capital exceed the statutory limit. The social welfare officer has, however, been notified by the pension committee that they have deferred their decision because they are awaiting further unspecified evidence.

582. Mr. Ellis asked the Minister for Social Welfare if her Department will finalise their investigation into the contributory widow's pension application of a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The possible entitlement of the person concerned to a widow's contributory pension is at present under [1539] examination in my Department. It has been necessary to establish if her late husband had an early insurance record which could be taken into consideration for pension purposes. His British insurance record is also being examined to see if she may have title to widow's pension under EEC regulations.

It is hoped to have these investigations completed in the very near future. Meanwhile, applicant is in receipt of a non-contributory old age pension from my Department.

583. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in granting unemployment benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned was not qualified for unemployment benefit at the date of his claim as the Department had no trace of a contribution record for him during the relevant contribution periods.

Inquiries were undertaken both locally and at the headquarters of his employers in Dublin and his contribution record entitling him to unemployment benefit was only recently established.

His claim was allowed at the weekly rate of £24.55 increased to £25.30 from 5 October 1981 and as the claimant is a postal recipient an order issued to him last week for encashment at his local post office.

584. Mr. Conaghan asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit at the full rate will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned originally claimed disability benefit from 12 November 1980 and payment was made from 15 November, fourth day of incapacity, to 5 January 1981, after which date she was certified fit to resume work. It was subsequently discovered that she had been overpaid £82.15 in respect of this claim.

She made a further claim for disability [1540] benefit from 23 June 1981 and payment was made from 27 June, fourth day of incapacity, to 11 August date of latest medical certificate received in my Department less deduction of £82.15 in respect of the overpayment on the previous claim. It has now been accepted that she was incapable of work to 18 August 1981 and a further cheque for arrears of benefit due up to that date has issued.

585. Mr. Conaghan asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 14 September 1981 and payment of all disability benefit and pay-related benefit due to 7 November has issued. Further payments will issue on the receipt of medical evidence of incapacity.

586. Mr. Kitt asked the Minister for Social Welfare when occupational injuries or disablement benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from my Department from 13 November 1976 to 11 May 1977 but he did not indicate that the incapacity arose out of an accident at work.

In May, 1981 he claimed disablement benefit in respect of an accident at work on 4 November 1976. Following inquiries his employers have confirmed that he was in fact injured during the course of his employment on that date. It has accordingly been decided to treat his benefit claim from November 1976 to May 1977 as a claim to injury benefit. An adjusting cheque representing the difference between the amount of injury benefit payable and the amount of disability benefit already paid has been issued to him on 9 November 1981.

His entitlement to disablement benefit will be decided following his examination [1541] by a medical referee arranged for 18 November 1981 and he will be notified of the decision.

587. Mr. P. Gallagher asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a widow's pension will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned has been awarded a widow's contributory pension at the maximum rate appropriate to a widow with two qualified children.

A pension order book payable from 13 November 1981 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by her and she has been notified accordingly.

The arrears of pension will be paid after adjustment for the amount of the supplementary welfare allowance which the widow has received since her husband's death.

588. Mr. P. Gallagher asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 10 September 1981 and has been paid from 14 September 1981, fourth day of incapacity, to 7 November at the maximum appropriate rate for himself and his wife. On receipt of details of his qualified children, if any, any balance of benefit due will issue. When details of his earnings in the relevant tax year are available pay-related benefit, if due, will be paid.

589. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social Welfare when pay-related benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 25 May 1981 and has been paid from 28 May, fourth day of incapacity. He is paid on the automatic payment system whereby benefit issues automatically on the same [1542] day each week. Payment of all benefit due to the 14 November 1981 has been made.

When he first claimed benefit details of his earnings were not available under the RSI number quoted. It was necessary, therefore, to request the necessary information from his employers. This has since been furnished and all pay-related benefit due has issued.

590. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in paying a deserted wife's allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The person concerned claimed deserted wife's benefit on 7 July 1981 and has been paid at the maximum rate appropriate to a woman with three qualified children with effect from the 11 June 1981.

An allowance order book paying from 5 November 1981 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by her and she has been notified accordingly. The arrears of benefit will be paid direct to her after adjustment for the supplementary welfare allowance paid to her. The decision in this case was delayed pending the outcome of inquiries regarding the whereabouts of the husband.

591. Mr. Meaney asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange that a claim for a higher rate of unemployment assistance will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Cork as his income has dropped and his case has been under investigation for some time.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mrs. E. Desmond): The investigations in the case of the person concerned have now been completed and the amount of means assessed against him has been reduced. The present rate of unemployment assistance payable to him has been increased to £53.45 being the maximum rate of £56.35 less means of £2.90. Arrangements have been made to adjust the weekly rate payable to him and to pay all arrears due this week.