Dáil Éireann - Volume 434 - 13 October, 1993
Written Answers. - Constraints on Social Welfare Recipients.
Mr. Sargent Mr. Sargent
22. Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the extra constraints on welfare recipients who sign on on a monthly basis by ceasing to issue the payment of cheques by mail and the introduction of the collection of these cheques from nominated post offices.
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods) Michael J. Woods
Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): Extensive modernisation of the payment systems for unemployed people is underway. Traditionally, people had to sign at least once a week and they received their payments in cash.
More modern payment methods are now being used which means that less frequent signing is becoming possible in the majority of cases. The modern payment methods include cheques, book of payable orders, post drafts and a system based on electronic data transfer — that is, a computer file — to An Post.
Under the latter system, An Post is rapidly installing a very modern system based around the social services card  which can now be used in selected offices in much the same way as bank cards. An Post is also operating a household budget facility for the cases transferred to them electronically. This is a major innovation and it has attracted a considerable amount of favourable comment.
Difficulties were being experienced with the timely production and delivery of cheques to unemployed people each week. Accordingly, it was decided to arrange for a proportion of them to be paid at their local post office instead. This means that people must attend their local post office but they can do so at a time that suits them. In addition, they will be able to avail of the household budget facility which is being extended throughout the country and which is not available to customers paid by cheque.
Dáil Éireann 434 Written Answers. Constraints on Social Welfare Recipients.