Dáil Éireann - Volume 340 - 03 March, 1983

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

304. Mr. Flynn asked the Minister for Social Welfare when maternity and unemployment benefits will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned made claims for disability benefit and maternity benefit but she was not qualified for benefit as she failed to satisfy the contribution conditions. Extensive inquiries were necessary, including inquiries in the United Kingdom where she had also been employed, to establish her contribution record. These inquiries have now been completed and all benefit due has been paid.

305. Mr. Nolan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): A cheque for £421.18 was issued to the person concerned on 24 May 1982. The Deputy made representations in the matter in August 1982 and, arising out of these representations, the person concerned was advised of the position and asked to notify the Department if the cheque was still outstanding. Nothing further was heard in the matter until representations were again received from [1795] the Deputy in January last. Inquiries were made to confirm that the cheque had not been cashed and when the inquiries were completed, a replacement cheque was issued on 24 February 1983.

306. Mr. Nolan asked the Minister for Social Welfare when dental benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed dental benefit on 25 September 1981, and again on 3 February 1982. Both of these claims were in respect of dental treatment obtained during the period from 25 September 1981 to 22 December 1981. As the statutory contribution conditions were not satisfied, these claims could not be approved. Both the claimant and her dentist were notified accordingly on 18 February 1982.

307. Mr. Nolan asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an increase in old age pension will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Carlow.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The old age pension entitlement of the person concerned is under review at present. The social welfare officer is awaiting a reply to an inquiry made to the British Department of Health and Social Security regarding the level of payments being made by them to the pensioner and her husband. As soon as the reply is received the case will be referred to the local pension committee for decision.

308. Mr. Begley asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason the payment of unemployment benefit has ceased in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned was in receipt of unemployment assistance but following a review of his case his claim was disallowed from 9 February 1983 on the grounds that by failing to furnish particulars [1796] of his means he failed to show that his means do not exceed the statutory limit. He has appealed against the disallowance and his case has been referred to an appeals officer for determination. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

309. Mr. E. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork did not receive an increase in her widow's pension; and the reason for the delay in dealing with this application.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned who was in receipt of widow's non-contributory pension at the rate of £17.80 per week has been awarded pension at a rate of £19.80 per week, with effect from 8 October 1982.

She has been requested to return the £17.80 per week pension book in her possession and as soon as this is done a book at the new higher rate will be issued to the designated post office for collection by her.

The arrears due to the claimant from 8 October 1982 to the date from which the first order in the new book is payable will be sent direct to her by payable order.

The delay in granting the increase in this case arose from the fact that there was considerable pressure of work in the section concerned for a period and it took somewhat longer than normal to deal with claims such as this one.

310. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Social Welfare the proposals there are to provide social assistance at an adequate level to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if some kind of payment and book will be issued to her on a permanent basis.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned applied for deserted wife's allowance but was refused on the ground that her husband had not left her of his own volition.

The supplementary welfare allowances [1797] scheme operated by the health boards was designed to provide a standard rate of assistance as of right for persons who do not qualify under any of the schemes administered directly by the Department of Social Welfare. The person concerned has been in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance from the South-Eastern Health Board since January 1982. The amount of £51.40 weekly at present in payment to her is that appropriate to a person with four child dependants and with no means. In addition, she receives free fuel and footwear allowances. This is the scheme that is appropriate to the circumstances of the person concerned and the amount she is receiving is the maximum to which she is entitled. The allowance is paid to her weekly in cash and there is no provision for other means of payment.

Question No. 311 withdrawn.

312. 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 (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned has been paid all disability benefit and pay-related benefit due to him for the period from 18 March 1982, fourth day of incapacity, to 26 June 1982.

313. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will consider paying a contributory old age pension at the full rate to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned reached pension age of 66 years on 23 April 1979 and to qualify for contributory old age pension under Irish legislation he is required to have a yearly average of at least 20 contributions from 5 January 1953 to the end of the 1978 contribution year.

Over the period the claimant had a total of 315 Irish contributions and, as this is equivalent to a yearly average of 12 only, he does not qualify for pension.

[1798] He had however a total of 736 contributions in the UK arising out of employment there and while he cannot be awarded a pension under Irish legislation the EEC regulations on social security provide that his Irish and UK insurance records since 1953 may be combined to give him a pro-rata pension. The amount of the pro-rata pension is determined on the basis of the number of his Irish contributions in proportion to the combined total of his Irish and UK contributions and is currently £20.70 per week, including an allowance of £9 in respect of his wife. This is the most that can be paid to him by way of contributory old age pension under existing provisions. The person concerned was invited to claim a non-contributory old age pension but declined to do so.

314. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5 as she suffers from an incurable disease.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned was disallowed payment of disability benefit from 26 April 1982 following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that she was capable of work. She appealed against the disallowance and was examined on 6 June 1982 by a different medical referee who also was of opinion that she was capable of work. The decision to disallow payment of disability benefit was upheld by an appeals officer in respect of the period from 26 April 1982 to 9 November 1982, the date of the latest medical certificate before him.

The claimant has continued to submit medical evidence of incapacity for work subsequent to 9 November 1982 and arrangements have been made to have her examined again on 8 March 1983 by a medical referee. Her entitlement to further payment of disability benefit will be reviewed in the light of the report of that examination.

315. Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment [1799] assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Desmond): The person concerned lodged a claim for unemployment assistance and his case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of his means.

Enquiries are still being made and when they are completed his means will be assessed and his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined accordingly.