asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she has reviewed the allocation of time for a farm visit by social welfare officers in assessing farmers' income for unemployment assistance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Written Answers. - Farmers' Income Assessment.
Social welfare officers are permitted to spend as much time as may be necessary to adequately carry out their investigations into the means of all applicants, including smallholder applicants for unemployment assistance.
While the work of social welfare officers is organised on the basis of time units, these units are administrative measures to enable social welfare officers' areas to be determined and to have work measured for overtime purposes. These units are reviewed when the need arises and for farm cases were reviewed as recently as 1983.
In each case, the officer is required to spend whatever time is necessary to obtain all the relevant facts and circumstances so that the means can be properly assessed. The amount of time which it is necessary to spend on each case would of course vary depending on the circumstances.