Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

68.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the present position regarding the claim for unemployment assistance of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick.

The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance on 1 March 1989 and his case was forwarded to the social welfare officer for investigation. This investigation is now being completed and the case will be submitted to a deciding officer for decision.

69.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will award a second appeal appointment against the discontinuation of disability benefit by his Department to a person (details supplied) in County Meath who did not receive notification of the appeal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

As the person concerned indicated that he had not received notification for arrangements which had been made for an examination by a medical referee of the Department, further arrangements have been made for an examination on 1 June 1989. He will be notified shortly of the details regarding time and place.

70.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare when there will be a decision regarding the invalidity pension claim of a person (details supplied) in Limerick.

Invalidity pension is payable to insured persons who satisfy the contribution conditions and who are permanently incapable of work.

The person concerned has been in receipt of disability benefit since 10 May 1982. He was examined on 1 March 1989 by a medical referee who did not consider him to be permanently incapable of work and asked to have him referred for a further examination for four months. A deciding officer decided that he was not therefore entitled to invalidity pension.

As the person concerned was dissatisfied with this decision, arrangements are being made to have him examined by a different medical referee. His entitlement to invalidity pension will be reviewed in the light of the report of this examination.

71.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for disallowing sick/disability benefit in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare having regard to the continued insistence by his consultant that he is unfit for work; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

I refer the Deputy to my reply to Question No. 126 on 12 April 1989 and to my reply to Question No. 52 on 20 April 1989 in this case in which it was indicated that the person concerned was twice examined by medical referees of the Department who considered him to be capable of work. His benefit had, as a result, been disallowed and he had been supplied with a form to appeal against the disallowance if he wished to do so.

An appeal has since been received from the person concerned, together with additional medical evidence which has been passed to the Department's medical adviser for assessment. The medical adviser has given his observations and the case has been submitted to an appeals officer for decision at the earliest opportunity.

72.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare when arrears of disability benefit will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Louth.

Arrears of disability benefit amounting to £1,041.25 issued on 12 May 1989 to the person concerned. This represented payment for the period 12 December 1988 to 2 May 1989, the date of the latest medical certificate received.

73.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare when disability benefit will be restored to a person (details supplied) in County Louth in view of the fact that she did not receive any notification to attend medical examination on 27 April 1989.

The person concerned was paid disability benefit to 24 April 1989.

She did not attend for examination by a medical referee of the Department on 27 April 1989 and, as a result, payment of benefit was disallowed for a statutory period of nine weeks from 27 April 1989 to 28 June 1989.

However, as it would now appear that the person concerned did not receive the notification to attend the examination, payment has been restored and another date will be arranged for the examination.

74.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason for the delay in reaching a decision on the appeal of a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and when arrears of disability benefit will be paid in this case in view of the fact that this person recently underwent serious surgery.

The person concerned was paid disability benefit on 13 October 1988 after which date payment was disallowed following examination by a medical referee who expressed the opinion that she was capable of work. She expressed dissatisfaction with the decision to disallow payment and was examined by a different medical referee on 20 December 1989, who also considered her capable of work.

The case was referred to an appeals officer who requested on 8 May 1989 that she be further examined by a medical referee, in view of her hospitalisation from 18 February 1989 to 28 February 1989. The case will be reviewed by the appeals officer in the light of the result of this examination.

Payment for the period of hospitalisation has been issued to the person concerned.

75.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number of people who voluntarily signed off the live register after being informed that they were about to be interviewed regarding their entitlement to unemployment assistance; and the action his Department's inspectors take in such instances.

Reviews of entitlement to unemployment payments are an ongoing feature of the work of the staff of the Department's local offices and can take the form of reviews of individual cases which warrant specific attention or they can consist of reviews of claims selected on a random basis.

In some instances claimants are interviewed about their entitlement as they attend at the local employment exchange to sign and collect payment. In other instances claimants would have notice, or may become aware otherwise, that they are to be interviewed about their entitlement. Statistics are not, in general, maintained in a manner which would give the numbers in any of these groups who signed off voluntarily before they are interviewed.

In the case of the External Control Unit, statistics from January 1989 to the end of April 1989 show that, of a total of 6,259 persons interviewed, 1,984 voluntarily signed off the live register.

Where there is specific information concerning possible abuse by a person who has signed off voluntarily and where this information would enable follow-up action to be taken, these cases are referred to a departmental inspector for investigation. In all instances where the investigation discloses that fraudulent claiming has occurred, it is the policy of the Department to examine these cases with a view to prosecution and to recover any overpayment of benefit or assistance obtained irregularly.

76.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the present position regarding the social welfare entitlements of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 regarding whom there is medical evidence that he is unfit for work.

The claim to disability benefit as from 2 February 1989 made by the person concerned was not allowed as he was examined by a medical referee who found him capable of work.

He expressed dissatisfaction with the decision to disallow payment and so arrangements were made to have him examined by a different medical referee on 15 May 1989.

The entitlement of the person concerned will be reviewed in the light of this examination.