Dáil Éireann - Volume 338 - 02 November, 1982

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits Payments.

531. Miss Harney asked the Minister for Social Welfare if, as a result of the recent post office robberies and the subsequent loss in revenue to the Exchequer, he will now ensure that in areas where there are adequate banking facilities social welfare payments will be made by cheque.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Social welfare benefits are paid by a variety of means having regard to the nature of the payments, the statutory [501] provisions governing payment and the need to ensure efficient and prompt delivery of services. Unemployment payments are made in cash at the local offices of my Department in the case of beneficiaries who prove unemployment at those offices and at post offices in other cases. Disability and other short-term benefits are paid by cheques issued from headquarters. Long-term payments such as pensions and children's allowances are paid by means of books of orders payable at post offices which are issued to cover weekly payments of pensions, etc. over a period of six months and monthly payments of children's allowances over a period of 12 months.

The payment of benefits and the manner in which they are paid is a matter of wide ranging consequences affecting not only the administration of my Department but also the vital interests of those entitled to payments. I am having the question of the method of making social welfare payments examined but I am particularly concerned to ensure that any changes that might be contemplated would not adversely affect beneficiaries.