asked the Minister for Social Welfare, if he will consider making free fuel vouchers available to those persons in receipt of Disabled Person's Maintenance Allowances during the coming winter season in view of the fact that these persons must undergo a means test, similar to that applied where application for home assistance is made, before qualifying for the allowance.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Fuel Vouchers for Disabled Persons.
It is the statutory duty of the public assistance authorities to provide necessities, including fuel, for persons who are in need, and it is open to them, therefore, to supply fuel as assistance-in-kind to any persons in receipt of disabled persons maintenance allowance who may be in need of it. Accordingly, it is not considered that any action on my part is called for in the matter.
Do I take it, therefore, that local authorities are not precluded from giving free fuel vouchers to those in receipt of contributory widows' pensions or old age pensions?
They are not prohibited from giving them to anybody who is in need.
There is a direction of the Department that contributory pensioners will not get turf; that is what I heard read out.
If the person is in need, it is the duty of the public assistance authority to assist him.
Is the Minister not aware that his predecessor last year sent out a direction saying that those in receipt of a contributory pension should not get free fuel vouchers?
That is a separate question. I shall have to look it up and find out if that circular was sent.
Does the Minister now say that the local authority may assist any persons who are in need?
That is right.
The Minister has made a good change in that Department.
There is no change.
There is a change.