Written Answers. - Social Welfare Appeals.

Liam Fitzgerald

Question:

213 Mr. L. Fitzgerald asked the Minister for Social Welfare the current position regarding an appeal lodged on 4 December 1996, by a person (details supplied) in Dublin 17 whose unemployment assistance has been reduced by £40 from 4 December 1996, in view of the fact that his wife took up a child minding position at the rate of £40 per week; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that this person approached an official at his Department prior to taking up this employment and specifically mentioned the nature of the employment she wished to take up and the amount she would be receiving per week and was assured that it would not affect her husband's unemployment assistance; if his Department will refund to her husband the £40 per week deducted from his unemployment assistance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6066/97]

The advice given by the local social welfare office to the person concerned was on the basis that his spouse would be engaged in insurable employment where a working spouse allowance of £45 per week is deductible from earnings. However, as a self-employed person the spouse's earnings, less any expenses incurred, are assessable as means on her husband's claim. Accordingly, his means were reviewed resulting in an assessment of £40 per week derived from his spouse's self-employment. This rate was effective from 4 December 1996.

He appealed this decision and the appeal was received at the social welfare appeals office on 19 December 1996. The case has been considered by an appeals officer who has decided that an oral hearing of the appeal will be necessary. The hearing will take place in the social welfare appeals office during week commencing 24 March 1997.