asked the Minister for Health whether he is aware that Dublin Health Authority withdraw the disability allowance from certain persons while they are in receipt of an allowance from the Department of Defence in respect of their sons' service in the Congo; and if he will take steps to stop this unfair practice.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Withdrawal of Disability Allowances.
I understand that a soldier may make a voluntary allotment from his pay to a member of his family and that the Department of Defence will facilitate him to the extent of forwarding such allotment weekly to the person designated but that no allowance is paid by the Department to parents in respect of their sons' service in the Congo.
I am aware of one case in which the Dublin Health Authority withdrew a disabled person's allowance when they learned that the person concerned was in receipt of income of this nature. Article 4 (2) of the Disabled Persons (Maintenance Allowances) Regulations, 1960 provides that in determining the amount of a maintenance allowance for a particular person, a health authority shall have regard to the means of that person other than income from public assistance. The Health Authority were, therefore, obliged to review the payment of the disabled persons allowance in the circumstances mentioned. I understand that the allowance in this case was restored when payment of the allotment ceased.
I do not consider that the decision of the Health Authority has operated unfairly in this case and I do not propose to take any action. It should be appreciated that Disabled Persons Allowances are, by their nature, a residual form of assistance, and are not ordinarily payable to persons who have other means of subsistence.