Dáil Éireann - Volume 675 - 17 February, 2009
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Code.
Deputy Arthur Morgan Deputy Arthur Morgan
Deputy Arthur Morgan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if the Government’s policy on SSIAs and social welfare matters (details supplied) has been changed; if so, when such change took effect; if any change in policy did occur when the change was announced by her or the Government; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5550/09]
Deputy Mary Hanafin Deputy Mary Hanafin
Deputy Mary Hanafin: The policy in relation to SSIAs and social welfare payments has not been changed in recent times.
In assessing means for social assistance purposes, account is taken of any cash income the person may have, together with the value of capital and property (except the family home).
Capital may include the following:
Stocks and shares of every description, which are assessed according to their current market value.
Savings certificates / bonds / national instalment savings, which are also assessed according to their current market value.
Money invested in a bank, building society etc.
Capital amounts held in Special Savings Investment Accounts when such accounts existed were treated in the same manner as other capital. Following the closing of such accounts in 2007, capital formerly held in these accounts continues to be assessed for means tested purposes in the same manner as before. Accordingly, there has been no change in these arrangements.
In 2004, the then Minister reviewed the arrangements for the assessment of capital, particularly in so far as they relate to SSIAs. In Budget 2005, it was announced that the amount of capital disregarded for means test purposes for all social welfare schemes (except supplementary welfare allowance) would be increased, with effect from June 2005, from €12,697.38 to €20,000, an increase of over €7,300. This change was introduced in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2005 which was published on February 14 2005 and applies to all capital regardless of where it is or was held, be it in a SSIA, a Credit Union, with An Post or any other account with a bank or other financial institution.
Currently, for the purposes of most social assistance schemes the first €20,000 of capital continues to be disregarded. The first €50,000 is disregarded in the case of disability allowance while the first €5,000 is disregarded in the case of supplementary allowance.
Dáil Éireann 675 Written Answers. Social Welfare Code.