Written Answers. - Social Welfare Appeals.

Róisín Shortall

Question:

245 Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11 will be re-examined in view of his objection to the medical decision reached and the submission made by his general practitioner; the reason there is no right of appeal in these cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5075/00]

The person concerned was awarded invalidity pension on 17 June 1993. The principal qualifying condition for receipt of invalidity pension is that the claimant must be considered to be permanently incapable of work and one of the rules which must be observed by a person in receipt of invalidity pension is that they do not to engage in work.

An exemption from this rule may be obtained where the employment is of a rehabilitative nature and with prior written permission of my Department.

An exemption was granted to the person concerned with effect from 25 January 1996 to participate in a training course. A further exemption was granted on 24 March 1997 to work as an information officer.

This exemption was recently reviewed and, based on all the facts including the advice of the Department's chief medical adviser, it is considered that any rehabilitative benefit from the work involved as being attained. Additionally, the medical evidence provided by the person's doctor did not contain any new information on his condition. The granting or refusal of an exemption is not a deciding officer function and, as such, not appealable to the social welfare appeals office. However, where a person is dissatisfied with the outcome in relation to an exemption the case is examined by another officer to ensure that the decision is reasonable. This was done in this case.
A working group has recently been established within my Department to review the current operation of exemptions from the rules of behaviour. The group will make recommendations on any appropriate amendments including the question as to whether such exemptions should be subject to the decision and appeals machinery.