Dáil Éireann - Volume 342 - 10 May, 1983

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

748. Mr. P. Brennan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason the full amount of disability and pay-related [679] benefits has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow since 1 January 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned submitted a claim for disability benefit on 9 March 1983 in respect of an incapacity for work which commenced on 1 January 1983. Payment was disallowed from 5 January 1983, fourth day of incapacity, to 1 March 1983, as he failed to give notice of his incapacity within the prescribed time of seven days from the day on which he became incapable of work.

His claim was authorised from 2 March 1983 (seven days before the date on which notice of incapacity was given) and payment has been made to 30 April 1983, date of latest certificate received. In addition pay-related benefit was paid from 2 March 1983 to 2 April 1983.

He ceased to be entitled to pay-related benefit from 4 April 1983 as the Social Welfare Act operative from that date provides that pay-related benefit is not payable where the amount of disability benefit equals or exceeds 80% of a claimant's average reckonable weekly earnings in the relevant income tax year which in this case is the 1980-81 tax year.

Flat-rate disability benefit in payment exceeds 80 per cent of the claimant's weekly earnings, therefore he ceased to be entitled to pay-related benefit.

749. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare the full amount of disability benefit paid to a person (details supplied) in County Offaly from 4 April 1982 to 5 April 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned was paid a total of £2,729.20 disability benefit in respect of the period from 4 April 1982 to 5 April 1983.

750. Mr. Connolly asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a decision has yet been made on the application of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare for unemployment assistance which was made on 11 January 1983.

[680] Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned applied for unemployment assistance on 18 January 1983. The application was, however, disallowed on the grounds that the means assessed against her derived from the value of board and lodgings on her mother's holding exceeded the appropriate maximum weekly rate for assistance £25.45 payable in her case. The person concerned has indicated her intention to appeal against the decision and a form on which to set out the grounds of the appeal was sent to her last week. When the form is returned her case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination. Her entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the appeals officer's decision.

751. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment benefit will be approved and paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The unemployment benefit claim of the person concerned was disallowed on the grounds that she was not available for work.

She appealed against the disallowance and arrangements have been made to hold an oral hearing of her case on 19 May 1983. Her entitlement to unemployment benefit will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

752. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will make arrangements for the full payment of an old age pension to be issued to persons (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed retirement pension at age 65 on 13 March 1979. He did not satisfy the contribution conditions for that pension. When he was being informed of this he was also advised to submit a claim for old age contributory pension when he was approaching his 66th birthday.

On reaching age 66, however, he submitted a claim for non-contributory old [681] age pension. This was awarded to himself and his wife and they have each been receiving £26.45 a week at current rates.

It has now been decided to treat the non-contributory pension claim as if it had originally been a claim for old age contributory pension and to award him this latter pension with effect from 14 March 1980. This award is at the rate appropriate to a person with a yearly average of 24 contributions from 5 January 1953 to 5 April 1979, the end of the last contribution year before he reached age 66. The rate of pension payable to him in respect of this average contribution record is £67.85 a week at present, made up of a personal rate of £37.80 plus an increase of £30.05 in respect of his wife. He would need to have a yearly average of at least 48 contributions in order to qualify for the maximum personal rate of £40.25.

He has been informed of the new award and requested to return his own and his wife's non-contributory pension books. An old age contributory pension book will then be issued to him. The arrears of old age contributory pension from 14 March 1980, less the amounts of the non-contributory pensions paid to himself and his wife, will be issued by means of a payable order.

In addition to the foregoing, in view of the details supplied by the Deputy, an investigation has also been initiated in relation to the overall means of the couple at present with a view to determining whether the wife might be entitled as an alternative at this stage to a non-contributory pension in her own right at a rate in excess of £30.05, adult dependant's increase on her husband's contributory pension. She will be informed of the outcome in due course.

753. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Social Welfare when he will resume the payment of unemployment benefit and pay arrears to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned is a postal applicant who was in receipt of unemployment benefit and pay-related [682] benefit from 21 June 1982 to 4 January 1983.

He ceased to furnish certified evidence of unemployment after 4 January 1983 thereby terminating his claim. Accordingly there are no arrears of unemployment benefit due to him.

If, however, he has become unemployed again it is open to him to re-apply at his local office and to furnish the necessary evidence of his unemployment.

754. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare when pay-related benefit will be issued to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned is currently in receipt of flat-rate unemployment benefit at the appropriate maximum weekly rate in his case of £68.05. Under the regulations the sum of flat-rate unemployment benefit, pay-related benefit and any income tax rebates paid may not exceed 85 per cent of the claimant's average net weekly earnings. The 85 per cent in his case is £59.42. As the weekly amount of flat-rate unemployment benefit of £68.05 exceeds the 85 per cent limit of £59.41 pay-related benefit is not payable in his case.

755. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare if disability benefit in book form will be issued to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo who has been on disability benefit from 1 April 1982.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned is being paid disability benefit at regular weekly intervals and payment has been made to 14 May 1983.

A form on which to claim invalidity pension has been forwarded to him and on its return, duly completed, the claim will be dealt with without delay.

756. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare if disability benefit will be paid in book form to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

[683] Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): A form on which to claim invalidity pension has been forwarded to the person concerned and on its return, duly completed, his claim will be reviewed with a view to transferring him to invalidity pension.

757. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo for the period 16 to 23 April, 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 24 September 1980 and was paid to 27 April 1983. However, in view of the fact that he may be regarded as permanently incapable of work his claim was transferred to invalidity pension from 28 April 1983.

There was a delay in issuing payment of disability benefit from 17 April 1983 to 27 April 1983 due to an oversight.

758. Mr. G. Collins asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he is aware that a person (details supplied) in County Limerick is only receiving £2.40 per week unemployment assistance; and if he will review this case.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned was assessed with means £23.00 weekly, derived from the value of board and lodging on his grandmother's holding. He is accordingly being paid unemployment assistance at £2.45 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £25.45 less £23.00.

He has been supplied with a form to enable him to appeal against the amount of means assessed against him. When he returns it his case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination and the rate of unemployment assistance payable to him will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

759. Mr. Bell asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reasons unemployment [684] assistance at the rate of £15.70 per week is being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Louth when the correct benefit should be £63.75 per week; how this assessment was made; and if he will review this payment urgently as the person is married with three children and has no other income.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The application of the person concerned on 10 January 1983 for unemployment assistance was authorised at the weekly rate of £15.70, being the appropriate maximum weekly rate in his case of £63.75 less means, £48.05, derived from self-employment in farming on a task work basis. He appealed against the amount of means assessed against him on 29 April 1983 and his case has been referred to the social welfare officer for further inquiry before being referred to an appeals officer for determination. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the appeals officer's decision.

In the meantime weekly payments of £15.70 will continue to be made as they become due.

760. Mr. Crotty asked the Minister for Social Welfare when pay-related benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny, as he signed on 4 February 1983.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Following the completion of inquiries to ascertain the reckonable earnings of the person concerned during the relevant income tax period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982 pay-related benefit was authorised and all arrears due were paid last week.

Further combined payments of £40.81 representing flat-rate unemployment benefit, £31.65 and pay-related benefit, £9.16 will be made as they become due.

761. Mr. Crotty asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a widow's pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as she applied three months ago.

[685] Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): A claim form dated 7 March 1983, but post-marked 14 April 1983, from the person concerned for a widow's non-contributory pension was received in the Department on 15 April. Her claim is at present under investigation and when a report on her circumstances is received from the local officer a decision will be given without delay and she will be notified.

762. Mr. Crotty asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as she applied six weeks ago.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Following the completion of an investigation of the means of the person concerned she was assessed with nil means.

She is acordingly entitled to unemployment assistance at the maximum rate payable to her £25.45 weekly and all arrears due, less supplementary welfare allowance advanced by the Health Board, were paid on 26 April 1983.

Further weekly payments continue to be made as they become due.

763. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Social Welfare when pay-related benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The entitlement of the person concerned to pay-related benefit could not be determined until details of her average net weekly earnings were supplied by her employer. These have only recently been supplied and all arrears of pay-related benefit due to the person concerned will be paid to her this week.

Further weekly payments of £22.27 including £6.44 pay-related benefit will continue to be made as they become due.

764. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford as she has satisfied the conditions.

[686] Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The contributions payable by the person concerned during the relevant contribution period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982 do not provide cover against unemployment. During the period she only worked 14 hours weekly and the contribution class appropriate to her employment was Class J which only provides cover for occupational injuries benefits.

Accordingly her claim for unemployment benefit from 28 March 1983 to 13 April 1983 when she ceased to sign as unemployed was disallowed. She was notified of the decision in her case on 27 April 1983.

765. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford who had sufficient PRSI contributions over the past two years.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The contributions payable by the person concerned during the relevant contribution period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982 do not provide cover against unemployment. During the period she only worked 14 hours weekly and the contribution class appropriate to her employment was Class J which only provides cover for occupational injuries benefits.

Accordingly her claim for unemployment benefit from 28 March 1983 to 13 April 1983 when she ceased to sign as unemployed was disallowed. She was notified of the decision in her case on 27 April 1983.

766. Mr. R. Burke asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Dublin.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The old age pension claim of the person concerned has been investigated and referred to the local pension committee for decision. Payment of pension has not been recommended on the [687] ground that means were not disclosed. The claimant's wife declined to supply the social welfare officer with an authorisation to enable him to ascertain details of capital.

767. Mr. E. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Social Welfare when occupational injuries benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and the reason for the delay in payment.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed occupational injury benefit on 8 March 1983 in respect of an incapacity resulting from an accident at work on 28 February 1983.

His entitlement to disability benefit on an interim basis pending investigation of the claim to injury benefit was examined. He did not satisfy the qualifying contribution conditions for disability benefit on the grounds that he was insured at Class J, which contributions do not reckon for disability benefit.

Following investigations resulting from the accident, injury benefit was awarded on 22 April from 4 March 1983, the first day of certified incapacity. All injury benefit due in respect of the period to 16 April 1983, when he was certifed fit to resume work has been paid. In the absence of an underlying title to disability benefit he was not qualified for pay-related benefit.

768. Mr. E. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork is not being paid unemployment assistance at the full rate; and the reason for the recent reduction of a £1 per week.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned concurrently worked for an employer while claiming unemployment assistance for ten unspecified days during the period 1 May 1981 to 30 September 1981.

He was accordingly overpaid the amount of £28.09 and recovery is being effected by deduction of £1.00 weekly [688] from current unemployment assistance payable.

The rate presently payable to him is £21.55 being the maximum rate payable to him £25.45 less means £2.90 and £1.00 deduction.

769. Mr. E. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork, as he is only working three days per week.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The class of contributions paid by the person concerned during the relevant contribution period 6 April 1980 to 5 April 1981 do not provide cover against unemployment and accordingly his unemployment benefit claim was disallowed.

However, the insurability of his employment is presently being investigated and when the inquiries are completed his entitlement to unemployment benefit will be determined in the light of the outcome.

He was invited to claim unemployment assistance pending the outcome of the investigation but he declined to do so.

770. Mr. E. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason pay-related benefit was not paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if outstanding benefit will be paid to him.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Inquiries were necessary to ascertain the amount of the reckonable earnings of the person concerned during the income tax period 6 April 1980 to 5 April 1981 and the amount of his average net earnings between 6 April 1982 and the commencement of his unemployment benefit claim on 31 December 1982, before his entitlement to pay-related benefit could be determined.

His entitlement to pay-related benefit is limited to 85 per cent of his average net weekly earnings which in his case amounted to £53.59. Accordingly he was entitled to pay-related benefit at £1.44 weekly and all arrears due were paid last week.

[689] Further combined payments at £53.59 weekly representing flat-rate unemployment benefit £52.15 and pay-related benefit £1.44 will be made as they become due.

771. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a pension at the correct rate is being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned is in receipt of a non-contributory old age pension at the rate of £12.45 a week plus £2.70 living alone allowance. This is the rate to which he is entitled having regard to the assessment of his means, consisting of a British retirement pension.

A pro-rata retirement pension of £3.10 under EEC Regulations was in payment in this case, but this was withdrawn in February last as the pro-rata pension and old age pension may not be paid concurrently.

772. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned exhausted his title to unemployment benefit on 16 January 1983 when he completed 390 days of benefit. He requires 13 weeks of insurable employment with contributions paid at the appropriate class to requalify for unemployment benefit.

The question of the appropriate class of the requalifying contributions paid by him is presently being investigated by a Social Welfare officer. When inquiries are completed the insurability of the employment will be determined and his entitlement to unemployment benefit will be decided in the light of the decision.

Pending the outcome of these investigations the person concerned is being paid unemployment assistance at the weekly rate of £67.65.

773. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance has been reduced in the case [690] of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned has been in continuous receipt of unemployment assistance since April 1981. His case was reviewed in the course of which he was interviewed by a Social Welfare officer in October 1982. Following the recent completion of all inquiries his means were reassessed on a factual basis at £19.20 weekly derived from the value of his farm. He is accordingly being paid at the rate of £65.45 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £84.65 less £19.20.

If he is dissatisfied with the assessment of his means it is open to him to appeal and to have his case determined by an Appeals Officer. A form for this purpose may be obtained at his local office.

774. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a free electricity allowance has not yet been granted to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The application for a free electricity allowance from the person concerned was received in the Department on 7 April 1983 and was approved on 18 April 1983.

The ESB has advised that the allowance has been applied to the electricity account of the person concerned from the April/May 1983 billing period onwards.

775. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment benefit is being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 15 April 1983. He is not qualified for benefit on the basis of his Irish contribution record. He was however employed in the United Kingdom prior to his return to this country and particulars of his British contribution record have been requested [691] from the Department of Health and Social Security. When they are received his entitlement to unemployment benefit will be determined.

In the meantime he has been advised that it is open to him to claim unemployment assistance pending the completion of inquiries to establish his contribution record for the purpose of his unemployment benefit claim.

776. Mr. Foley asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit is not being paid on a regular basis to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned is in receipt of disability benefit from 16 April 1983 following receipt of occupational injury benefit for the statutory period of 26 weeks. He is also in receipt of pay-related benefit. All disability and pay-related benefit due to 2 May 1983, date of latest medical certificate received, has been issued.

Because of an administrative error there was a delay in issuing the initial payment of disability benefit from 16 April 1983. The matter has since been rectified and future payments will issue promptly on receipt of medical evidence of incapacity.

777. Mr. Dowling asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny is not in receipt of pay-related benefit; and the reason for such a long delay in having his application fully processed.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The claim of the person concerned to unemployment benefit on 20 September 1982 was authorised at the appropriate maximum weekly rate in his case of £68.05. Under the regulations the sum of flat-rate unemployment benefit, pay-related benefit and income tax rebates paid may not exceed 85% of the average net weekly earnings.

Following prolonged inquiries to establish the net average weekly earnings [692] the 85 per cent limit was recently determined at £72.58. Pay-related benefit was accordingly authorised at the weekly rate of £4.53. All arrears due were paid to him last week. Weekly payments of £72.58 including £4.53 pay-related benefit will continue to be made as they become due.

778. Mr. Dowling asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in resolving the pension difficulty of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): A pension book at the correct rate of £18.45 has been issued to the person concerned and a payable order in respect of the arrears due is in the course of issue.

The delay in this case was due to a filing error.

779. Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned has been in receipt of a widow's non-contributory pension since the death of her husband in November 1965. She is at present in receipt of pension at the weekly rate of £34.45 which is the maximum rate appropriate to a widow who is over 66 years and who has no qualified child. A claim for old age pension has not been received from her but, as the rates of that pension are the same, she would not gain by changing from widow's pension. As she was never insurably employed she could not qualify for old age contributory pension.

Her recent claim to a living alone allowance has been disallowed because her son normally resides with her.

780. Mrs. Geoghegan-Quinn asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance at the full rate will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

[693] Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): To qualify for unemployment assistance at the full rate the applicant must be assessed with nil means.

The person concerned applied for unemployment assistance on 19 August 1982 which was authorised at the weekly rate of £28.60 being the appropriate maximum weekly rate in his case of £76.60 less means of £48.00 derived from self-employment as a carpenter. He has appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and his case has been referred to a Social Welfare officer for further inquiry before being submitted to an appeals officer for determination. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the appeals officer's decision.

In the meantime, weekly payments of £28.60 will continue to be made as they become due.

781. Mr. P. Gallagher asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension at the full rate will be granted to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): A review of the entitlement of the person concerned revealed that there has been an increase in her means comprising a British retirement pension and a question for reduction of her old age pension from £26.95 to £24.95 is being referred to the local pension committee for decision. Pension at the rate of £24.95 a week is in payment pending the pension committee's decision on the matter.

782. Dr. O'Hanlon asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a children's allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Children's allowance was paid in respect of the child in question up to and including June 1982 as the school authorities certified that he would be in full-time education up to that date.

No application for a further continuation of allowance in respect of this child [694] has been received. However, the appropriate application form has been issued to the claimant for completion. When the completed form is returned to the Department the claim will be decided and any allowance due will be issued.

The claimant is presently in receipt of allowance at the monthly rate of £91.25 in respect of her seven qualified children.

783. Mrs. O'Rourke asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a pension will be increased for a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned has been in receipt of a widow's non-contributory pension since April 1980 payable at a reduced rate on the basis of her means derived from a holding of land and some capital.

Following recent representations by the Deputy on claimant's behalf the local officer of the Department was requested to furnish an up-to-date report on her circumstances.

Inquiries are being made as to whether a recent family agreement constitutes a valid transfer of land by the claimant. When this is resolved a decision will be given.

784. Mrs. O'Rourke asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the reduced rate of benefits paid during the period February to November 1981 to a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and the reason for the current low rate of benefits being issued to him.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned was paid disability benefit at the maximum rate appropriate to a single man from 18 February 1981, fourth day of incapacity to 26 October 1981, after which date he was certified as fit to resume work.

No pay-related benefit was paid at that time due to the absence of information on earnings on which the pay-related benefit could be based. However, the required information is now available and arrears of pay-related benefit due from 28 February 1981, thirteenth day of [695] incapacity, to 26 October 1981 are being issued today.

The person concerned was paid unemployment benefit from 10 January 1983 at the rate of £28.30 appropriate to a person with 30 reckonable contributions in 1981/82, the contribution year governing his claim. It has since been established that he has a total of 52 contributions in 1981/82 and he, therefore, qualifies for payment of benefit at the maximum rate of £31.65 per week. An adjustment cheque paying arrears of unemployment benefit due will issue this week.

The claimant has been paid pay-related benefit at a rate of £6.20 a week from 24 January 1983, thirteenth day of unemployment, reduced to £3.87 a week from 4 April 1983, in accordance with the provisions of the Social Welfare Act, 1983. That Act provides that where the amount paid by way of unemployment benefit and pay-related benefit would exceed 80 per cent of the claimant's average reckonable weekly earnings in the relevant income tax year then the rate of pay-related benefit payable is limited to the amount which, when added to the flat-rate benefit, restricts the total weekly rate of benefit payable to 80 per cent of those earnings.

785. Mr. F. Fahey asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will consider an appeal against the decision by his Department granting £16.30 as an old age pension to a person (details supplied) in County Galway.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The claim of the pensioner concerned is being referred to an appeals officer for determination. He will be informed of the outcome in due course.

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

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): On 2 November 1982 the person concerned was awarded a widow's contributory pension with effect from 24 [696] September 1982 at £36.95 per week, the maximum personal rate payable to a widow who is over 66 years of age. She was already in receipt of an old age non-contributory pension and her widow's pension book was held pending the return of the old age pension book.

On return of her old age pension book, with the last order cashed dated 15 March 1983, a widow's pension book payable from 22 April 1983 was issued to the designated post office on 20 April 1983. The arrears of pension due from 24 September 1982 to 21 April 1983 less the amount of old age pension paid during this period will be paid direct to her.

She has recently been awarded a living alone allowance of £2.70 with effect from 24 September 1982 and an order book payable from a current date for this amount has been sent to the post office. The arrears due from 24 September 1982 will also be issued direct to her.

787. Mr. P. Gallagher asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a contributory old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned does not qualify for contributory old age pension under Irish legislation as he does not satisfy the conditions which require him to have not less than 156 Irish contributions paid in respect of his employment and to have a yearly average of at least 20 paid or credited contributions from 5 January 1953 to 5 April 1982. He had only ten paid plus 241 credited contributions in that period.

He is, however, in receipt of a pro-rata retirement pension under EEC Regulations at the weekly rate of £7.90 plus £2.70 living alone allowance. He is also in receipt of a British retirement pension in respect of his British contributions.

The question of his entitlement to a non-contributory old age pension is being investigated.

788. Mr. P. Gallagher asked the Minister for Social Welfare when benefit will [697] be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 3 March 1979 and payment issued to 6 February 1982. She was paid maternity benefit from 8 February 1982 to 1 May 1982 after which date payment of disability benefit was again made from 3 May 1982 to 30 April 1983.

As she had less than the required minimum of 156 paid contributions since her entry into insurable employment in 1970 she was only entitled to payment of disability benefit for a maximum period of 52 weeks. According to the records of the Department she had only 147 paid contributions to her credit.

Consequently her entitlement to disability benefit became exhausted on 29 February 1980. She has, therefore, been overpaid an amount of £3,230.63 in the period from 1 March 1980 to 30 April 1983 and she cannot requalify for disability benefit until she has had nine weeks of employment in respect of which social insurance contributions have been paid.

789. Miss Harney asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in paying pay-related benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will ensure that benefit is paid forthwith.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Inquiries were necessary to ascertain the reckonable earnings of the person concerned during the relevant income tax period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982 before his entitlement to pay-related benefit with flat-rate unemployment benefit could be determined.

These inquiries were recently completed, his claim was allowed and all arrears of pay-related benefit were paid last week.

Further combined payments at £66.13 weekly representing flat-rate unemployment benefit £52.15 and pay-related benefit £13.98 will be made as they become due.

[698] 790. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Social Welfare if disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford as he has had no income for five weeks.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): It has not been possible from the information supplied to trace a benefit claim for the person concerned. If the RSI number or the social insurance number of the claimant can be quoted this will enable the claim to be identified and the information sought by the Deputy to be supplied.

791. Mr. O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason his Department has refused to pay disability benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 12 November 1981. She was not qualified for payment of benefit at that stage as she had not the required minimum of 26 contributions paid or credited in 1979-80, the contribution year governing her claim.

From 4 January 1982, the governing year was 1980-81 and as she had 52 contributions recorded in that year she qualified for payment of disability benefit from 4 January 1982 to 1 January 1983, a period of 52 weeks. Her entitlement to payment of benefit was exhausted at that stage as she had less than 156 paid contributions in respect of insurable employment. According to the records of the Department she had only 102 paid contributions since entry into insurance.

She cannot requalify for further payment of disability benefit until she resumes employment and has a further 13 weeks of insurable employment.

792. Mr. O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason only £3.03 per week pay-related benefit has been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The claim of the person concerned [699] to unemployment benefit was authorised at the appropriate maximum weekly rate in his case of £88.90.

Under the regulations the sum of flat-rate unemployment benefit, pay-related benefit and any income tax rebates paid cannot exceed 85 per cent of the average net weekly earnings. The 85 per cent limit in his case is £91.93. The maximum amount of weekly pay-related benefit which he can be paid is therefore £3.03. Pay-related benefit of £3.03 weekly was accordingly authorised in his case bringing his combined weekly entitlement to £91.93.

793. Mr. P. Gallagher asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an old age pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The old age pension claim of the person concerned has been investigated and referred to the local pension committee for decision. Payment of a pension at the maximum rate, including an allowance for a dependent wife and child from 25 March 1983, has been recommended by the Social Welfare officer.

The appropriate pension books are in course of issue on a provisional basis pending the pension committee's decision.

794. Mr. Carey asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Clare was refused a free electricity allowance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The application for a free electricity allowance from the person concerned was disallowed as her husband had not reached 66 years of age. If she re-applies in July next when her husband reaches that age her title will be re-considered and she will be notified of the outcome.

795. Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay a contributory pension to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

[700] Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned reached age 66 years on 4 April 1983 and claimed a contributory old age pension two weeks later. He has been awarded an old age contributory pension at the maximum personal rate of £40.25 with effect from 8 April 1983. His wife is already in receipt of a non-contributory old age pension at a rate which is higher than the amount of the adult dependant's allowance which would otherwise be payable to him.

A pension book containing orders valid for payment from 8 April 1983 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by him and he has been notified accordingly.

796. Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay the full amount of a contributory pension to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned does not qualify for old age contributory pension under Irish legislation as he does not satisfy the condition which requires him to have a yearly average of at least 20 qualifying contributions over the period from 5 January 1953 to the end of the 1978 contribution year. He had a total of only 259 such contributions in this period, equal to a yearly average of only 9.

Under EEC regulations on social security he is entitled to a pro-rata rate pension on the basis of his combined Irish and British insurance records. The amount payable is calculated on the basis of the number of his Irish contributions in proportion to the combined total. He is currently in receipt of a pro-rata pension of £8.05 per week and this is his full entitlement.

He is also in receipt of a British retirement pension based on the number of contributions which he paid in the United Kingdom.

797. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the long delay in paying disability benefit to [701] a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned submitted a claim form for disability benefit in March 1983 but did not furnish medical evidence of incapacity at that time. He was informed of the requirement to submit certificates and this he subsequently did. All benefit due in respect of the period from 10 March 1983, fourth day of incapacity to 11 April 1983, date of the latest medical certificate received, has been issued.

798. Mr. Leyden asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will expedite the payment of unemployment benefit to a person (details supplied) in County Roscommon as she has been signing since October, 1982.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): It has been established during the investigation of non-payment of contributions that the person concerned satisfies the contribution conditions during the period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982 for payment of unemployment benefit at the maximum rate £31.65 weekly from 3 January 1983.

All arrears due, less the amount of unemployment assistance which she was in receipt of, were paid to her on 6 May 1983. Further payments will be made as weekly payments become due.

799. Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay unemployment assistance to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned is presently in receipt of unemployment assistance at £4.30 weekly being the maximum amount payable to him £25.45 less means £21.15 derived from the value of land.

He has appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and arrangements are being made to have his case determined by an appeals officer. The rate of unemployment assistance payable [702] to him will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

800. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason an old age pension at the maximum rate is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry in view of the fact that she has no visible means.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): An appeals officer has decided that the person concerned is entitled to a pension of £30.95 plus living alone allowance of £2.70. This is the appropriate rate having regard to the assessment of her means, consisting of capital and the estimated letting value of a holding.

801. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in paying a widow's pension to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and when it will be paid to her.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned has been awarded a widow's non-contributory pension at the rate of £42.60 per week with effect from Friday, 1 April 1983. This is the maximum rate of pension payable to a widow under 66 years of age with one qualified child.

A pension order book containing orders payable from 13 May 1983 has been issued to the designated post office for collection by the claimant and she has been notified accordingly.

The amount of pension due for the period from 1 April 1983 to 12 May 1983, less the amount of supplementary welfare allowance which was paid to her by the Southern Health Board for that period will be issued to her shortly.

As she claimed a contributory pension inquiries were necessary regarding her own and her husband's insurance records to establish whether the conditions for award of such pension were satisfied in her case. As soon as it became apparent that contributory entitlement, if any, would not be established for some time, the non-contributory aspect was examined.

[703] Her possible entitlement to contributory pension under EEC regulations is being examined and she will be notified of the outcome as soon as the necessary investigations are completed.

802. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The weekly means of the person concerned were assessed at £34.70 derived from his farm and a small amount of capital. As his means exceeded the maximum rate of unemployment assistance in his case, £25.45, he was not qualified to receive payment.

If he considers that the amount of the means assessed is excessive it is open to him to appeal and his case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination. A form on which to set out the grounds of his appeal was sent to him on 26 April 1983. His entitlement will be reviewed in the light of the appeals officer's decision.

803. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Social Welfare when arrears of widow's pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Arrears of widow's non-contributory pension due to the person concerned from 4 December 1982 to 24 February 1983 have been paid to her by payable order after deduction of the amount of supplementary welfare allowance which was paid to her by the health board for part of that period.

804. Mr. Conaghan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability, maternity and pay-related benefits have not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): All arrears of flat rate and pay-related benefit payable in respect of a maternity benefit claim have now been paid to the person concerned. Payment [704] was held up on this claim and on earlier unemployment and maternity benefit claims while inquiries were in progress with the Northern Ireland Authorities concerning her insurance position. A detailed statement of all benefit payments is being forwarded to her.

805. Mr. Fitzsimons asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in Navan, County Meath, has not been paid disability benefit which is due to him for 13 weeks.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 14 February 1983. He had already been paid disability benefit in respect of previous claims for a total of 52 weeks, up to 14 May 1979. Payment ceased after that date as he had less than the required minimum of 156 paid contributions to his credit since his entry into insurance to entitle him to further payment.

He cannot requalify for payment of benefit until he resumes employment and has at least 13 contribution weeks of insurable employment after the date of last payment of benefit.

According to the records of my Department the claimant has not resumed insurable employment since May 1979 and he is not, therefore, entitled to payment of disability benefit in respect of his current claim.

806. Mr. Foley asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a living alone allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): There is no record of the receipt of a claim to a living alone allowance from the person concerned. A form on which to claim this allowance has been sent to her and will be dealt with as a matter of urgency on its return.

807. Mr. D. Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

[705] Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned exhausted his title to unemployment benefit on 11 May 1982 when he received 390 days of benefit. He can only requalify for payment after he has had a further 13 weeks of insurable employment with contributions paid at the appropriate class.

He is not entitled to unemployment assistance as the means assessed against him, £28.85, derived from the value of board and lodging on his father's holding exceeded the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him. The assessment of his means was upheld by an appeals officer.

808. Mr. D. Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit was reduced from £57.95 to £42.55 per week in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork as he is a married man with two children and has no other income.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was reviewed and after an investigation of his case by a social welfare officer he was assessed with means at £15.40 weekly derived from self-employment as a painter.

The rate of unemployment assistance was reduced to £42.55 being the maximum rate payable to him £57.95 less £15.40 with effect from 16 March 1983.

He has appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and his case has been referred to an appeals officer. The rate of unemployment assistance being paid to him will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

809. Mr. D. Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit is not being paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork, as he has been signing since 20 February 1983; and when it will be paid.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned has no record of insurable employment and is not qualified for unemployment benefit. [706] He claimed unemployment assistance and following an investigation of his case he was assessed with means £28.85 weekly derived from self-employment.

The means assessed against him exceed the maximum rate of unemployment assistance payable to him £25.45 and, accordingly, he does not qualify for assistance.

810. Mr. D. Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned is not entitled to unemployment benefit as she does not satisfy the contribution condition which provides that she must have at least 26 contributions paid or credited in the governing contribution period 6 April 1981 to 5 April 1982.

During the period she has 14 contributions paid only and, accordingly, her claim for unemployment benefit from 16 March 1983 was disallowed.

811. Mr. D. Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork, as he has been signing for six months.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned was assessed with weekly means of £36.40 derived from self-employment as a painter/handyman. As his weekly means exceed the maximum appropriate rate of unemployment assistance payable in his case, £25.45 weekly, he was not qualified for unemployment assistance. He applied for a review of his means in February 1983 and his case was referred to a social welfare officer for an investigation of his means. So far he has not been available to the social welfare officer for interview. When the inquiries into his means are completed his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed.

812. Mr. D. Moynihan asked the Minister for Social Welfare when the small [707] farmers dole will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Cork.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned applied for unemployment assistance in June 1982 but his application was refused on the grounds that his means derived from his farm exceeded the statutory limit of £3,380 in his case. He appealed against the decision but following an oral hearing, the appeals officer on 21 January 1983 confirmed the decision given in his case. He made a further application and his case has been referred to a social welfare officer for investigation. His entitlement will be reviewed in the light of the social welfare officer's report.

813. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a living alone allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): A form on which to claim living alone allowance was sent to the person concerned on 28 April 1983. It has not yet been returned by him but as soon as it is returned the claim will be dealt with quickly.

814. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Social Welfare if unemployment benefit in respect of a ten day period will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 1 March 1983 and was paid from 4 March 1983, fourth day of incapacity. All benefit payable to 12 April 1983, after which date he resumed work, has been issued. In addition, pay-related benefit was in payment from 15 March 1983, thirteenth day of incapacity, to 2 April 1983.

He ceased to be entitled to pay-related benefit from 4 April 1983 as the Social Welfare Act operative from that date provides that pay-related benefit is not payable where the amount of disability benefit equals or exceeds 80 per-cent of [708] a claimant's average reckonable weekly earnings in the relevant income tax year, which in this case is the 1981-82 tax year.

Disability benefit in payment exceeds 80 per cent of the claimant's weekly earnings; therefore he ceased to be entitled to pay-related benefit.

815. Mr. H. Byrne asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be increased for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and in support of his appeal he conveyed that the circumstances of his parents had changed since his means were investigated by a social welfare officer.

His case has been referred to a social welfare officer for further inquiries and when they are completed his case will be referred to an appeals officer for determination. The rate of unemployment assistance payable to him will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

816. Dr. O'Hanlon asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance has been reduced in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan; and when it will be restored to a normal level.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Following a review of his case the means of the person concerned were assessed at £11.50 derived from self-employment as a painter.

Accordingly the current rate of unemployment assistance payable to him is £13.95 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £25.45 less £11.50.

He recently appealed against the amount of means assessed against him and his case was referred to an appeals officer for determination. His rate of unemployment assistance will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

817. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister [709] for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay an invalidity pension to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who has been in receipt of disability benefit for the past two years on monthly certificates and who also went before a medical referee last March and was deemed unfit for work.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned is receiving a widow's pension at the rate of £36.25 in addition to disability benefit at the rate of £15.83.

The Social Welfare (Overlapping Benefit) Regulations, however, preclude concurrent payment of invalidity pension with widow's pension and disability benefit. Therefore if she transfers to invalidity pension, which is payable at the rate of £35.50 per week, both disability benefit and widow's pension, totalling £52.08, would cease to be payable, resulting in a cash reduction of £16.58 in her weekly income. However, if she did transfer she would be automatically entitled to a free travel pass. Free electricity allowance, free (black and white) television licence and free telephone rental allowance are also available to invalidity pensioners subject to certain conditions.

The person concerned is being advised of the position and asked to state whether, in the circumstances, she wishes to pursue her application for invalidity pension.

818. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay arrears of a children's allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as the allowance was discontinued in December 1982 and restored again after a short time.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): According to the Department's records an allowance book at the monthly rate of £17.50 payable from February 1983 was issued in respect of the child in question on 19 April 1983. A payable order for £17.50 in respect of arrears due for January 1983 was issued on 18 March 1983.

In the light of the particulars furnished [710] by the Deputy the person concerned is being contacted and any problem which may come to light will be remedied without delay.

819. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social Welfare if arrears of an old age pension are owed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who died recently.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): There are no arrears of old age pension due in respect of the person concerned.

820. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to pay an invalidity pension to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as he has been in receipt of disability benefit for the past four years.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): A form on which to claim invalidity pension has been forwarded to the person concerned and on its return his claim will be reviewed with a view to transferring him to invalidity pension.

821. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will arrange to have a living alone allowance paid to an old age pensioner (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as the application has been made for some time.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned is in receipt of old age contributory pension. He claimed a living alone allowance on 14 February 1983 and this was awarded to him with effect from 18 February 1983.

A supplementary book for the living alone allowance containing orders for payment from 1 April 1983, was issued to the designated post office for collection by him on 19 April 1983 and he was notified accordingly.

Arrears of the allowance for the period 18 February to 31 March have been issued to pensioner by means of a payable order.

822. Mr. N. Treacy asked the Minister [711] for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway who has been unemployed since 3 November 1982 and who is signing for unemployment benefit has not received his full entitlements.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed unemployment benefit on 12 January 1983. Following the completion of inquiries his claim was allowed at the maximum flat-rate unemployment benefit payable to him £59.65 increased to £68.05 from 18 February 1983 when his second child was born.

He received pay-related benefit at £7.91 weekly up to 17 February 1983. However entitlement to pay-related benefit with flat-rate unemployment benefit is subject to the condition that the total amount of flat-rate unemployment benefit, pay-related benefit and income tax rebate may not exceed 85 per cent of an applicant's average net weekly earnings. The 85 per cent limit applicable to the person concerned amounted to £67.56 and as the amount of flat-rate unemployment benefit payable to him from 18 February 1983 exceeded this sum, payment of pay-related benefit was terminated.

Accordingly the weekly rate of £68.05 currently payable to him represents the full amount to which he is entitled.

823. Mr. De Rossa asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of persons in each of the health board regions who are in receipt of old age pensions.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Statistics are not kept in such a way as would enable the information sought by the Deputy to be given.

The total number of old age and retirement pensions in payment at present is: Contributory old age pension, 69,900; Non-contributory old age pension, 129,600; Retirement pension, 31,600.

824. Mr. Sheehan asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details [712] supplied) in County Cork as he has been signing for the past 11 weeks.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Following an investigation of his case by a social welfare officer the person concerned was assessed with means of £7.65 weekly derived from the value of board and lodging on his father's holding.

Accordingly he is entitled to unemployment assistance at £17.80 weekly being the maximum rate payable to him £25.45 less £7.65. Arrangements have been made to pay all arrears due this week and further weekly payments will be made as they become due.

825. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment benefit has been disallowed in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 12 as she has been seeking employment.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The claim of the person concerned to unemployment benefit on 10 February 1983 was disallowed on the grounds that she was not available for employment as she had not made efforts to get work.

She appealed against the disallowance and following an oral hearing of her case which she attended, the appeals officer confirmed the decision given in her case. She ceased to sign as unemployed on 15 April 1983.

826. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason PRSI is being withheld from a person (details supplied) in Dublin who is on unemployment benefit.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Inquiries were necessary to ascertain details of the earnings of the persons concerned to enable his title to pay-related benefit to be determined. These inquiries were recently completed and payment of pay-related benefit at £16.70 has been authorised. Arrangements have been made to pay all arrears due this week.

[713] Further payments at £48.35 representing flat-rate unemployment benefit at £31.65 and pay-related benefit at £16.70 will be made as weekly payments become due.

827. Dr. Ormonde asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason disability benefit has not been paid despite the recent submission of three certificates to a person (details supplied) in County Waterford.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The person concerned claimed disability benefit but only submitted an intermediate medical certificate indicating that he was incapable of work on 19 April 1983. A further intermediate certificate dated 28 April 1983 has since been received and payment has accordingly been made from 22 April 1983, fourth day of incapacity to 28 April 1983. The person concerned has been written to and requested to submit medical evidence covering the full period of his illness. When this is received any further benefit due will be paid.

828. Mr. J. O'Leary asked the Minister for Social Welfare if, arising out of his reply to parliamentary question No. 913 of 19 April 1983, he is aware that a person (details supplied) in County Kerry has had his rights to an intestacy share in the capital value of a holding cut off for the past year; and the reason this fact is not being taken into consideration following representations made on two occasions by Deputy John O'Leary to his Department.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): Documentary evidence in support of his contention that he had disclaimed his right to an intestacy share of the holding in question was not supplied by the person concerned. The holding was taken into consideration therefore in assessing his means. Recent information which has come to hand indicates that the land has been sold. In the circumstances the case is being referred to the social welfare officer for further inquiry.

[714] 829. Mr. Crotty asked the Minister for Social Welfare when unemployment assistance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny as he applied in December 1982.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): The application of the person concerned for unemployment assistance on 18 August 1982 was disallowed on the grounds that he failed to disclose his means. He reapplied on 2 February 1983 and his case has been referred to the social welfare officer for further inquiries. When these are completed his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined.

830. Mr. Sheehan asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance has been reduced from £21.25 to £13.95 per week in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork as there has been no change in her means.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. B. Desmond): When the person concerned reapplied for unemployment assistance in September 1982 she was paid temporarily, on the basis of the weekly means of £4.20 assessed against her in 1978 pending an up-to-date review of her means. Following this review her weekly means were assessed at £11.50 derived from the value of board and lodgings on her father's farm with effect from 13 April 1983. Her weekly rate of unemployment assistance was accordingly reduced to £13.95, being the appropriate maximum weekly rate in her case of £25.45, less means £11.50.