Dáil Éireann - Volume 335 - 02 June, 1982

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 5 October 1981. As he was last insurably employed in Britain he originally made his claim to [832] the Department of Health and Social Security but the British authorities referred it to my Department.

Payment of all disability benefit and pay-related benefit due on the claim up to 29 May 1982 less supplementary welfare allowance advance to the claimant has now issued.

710. Mr. E. Collins asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in County Waterford is entitled to a free rental allowance for her telephone; and if he will make a statement on her entitlement.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): An application for a free telephone rental allowance has not been received from the person concerned but from the information given by the Deputy it would appear that she satisfies the conditions. She would also be qualified for a living alone allowance with her widow's pension. As applications for these allowances have not been received, application forms have been issued to her for completion and return to my Department.

The person concerned is already in receipt of free travel, free electricity allowance and free television licence.

711. Mr. E. Collins asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will make a statement on the delay in paying social welfare benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford who has been unemployed since 8 February 1982; and if he will make a further statement on his entitlements under the Social Welfare Acts to disability and pay-related benefits.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The person concerned was in receipt of injury benefit in respect of an occupational injury from 19 January to 18 July 1981 when he exhausted his title to this benefit on the expiration of the statutory period of 26 week's payment. He was subsequently paid disability benefit from 19 July 1981. In February 1982 he was transferred to the system of payment under which payment issues weekly [833] but medical evidence is required only at monthly intervals. As a result of an administrative error a delay occurred in the issuing of the first payment under the new system. All arrears due were however issued to him on 4 March 1982, and the subsequent weekly payments have since been issued regularly on the Monday of each week.

In addition to the weekly amount of injury benefit and disability benefit payable the claimant also received payment of pay-related benefit up to 21 April 1982, when he exhausted his entitlement to such benefit. During that period he was, however, precluded by regulations from receiving more by way of combined injury benefit or disability benefit and pay-related benefit than the weekly amount of his reckonable earnings in 1979-80, the contribution year on which his entitlement was based. For instance, prior to the coming into operation of the 1982 budget increases on 4 April 1982 he was in receipt of £55.10 a week by way of disability benefit plus £12.78 a week in pay-related benefit. As from 5 April his weekly rate of disability benefit was increased to £68.05 a week but it was necessary to reduce his pay-related benefit entitlement to £9.87 a week giving a total weekly payment of £77.92 so as not to exceed his average weekly earnings of that amount in the income tax year 1979-80.

725. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that where a child is born with certain illnesses it is not possible for the family to obtain insurance on that child or to obtain life assurance; and if, in view of this fact, he will consider introducing a special death grant for persons in this category.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Under the scheme administered by my Department, a death grant is payable on the death of a child of an insured person, who satisfies the contribution conditions for payment of the grant, irrespective of the illness that may result in death. The present scheme provides extensive coverage for persons insured [834] under the Social Welfare Acts and the introduction of a further death grant is not envisaged.

726. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that certain categories of social welfare recipients on disability benefit have not benefited from the 25 per cent increase in social welfare as their income is related to their 1980-81 earnings.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The rates of disability benefit were increased by 25 per cent for all recipients from 5 April 1982.

The Social Welfare (Pay-Related Benefit) Regulations provide, however, that the combined weekly amount of disability benefit and pay-related benefit payable may not exceed a person's reckonable weekly earnings in the tax year relevant to his claim. While, therefore, the rates of disability benefit were increased in all cases the amount payable by way of pay-related benefit may have to be reduced in some cases in order to comply with these regulations.