Written Answers. - Social Welfare Appeals.

Michael Ring

Question:

803 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs when the appeal of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo for farm assist will be finalised. [20690/00]

The person concerned was disallowed farm assist on the grounds that his means, derived from farm income and his wife's earnings, exceed the statutory limit. An appeal against this decision was made and, in accordance with statutory requirements, a submission on the matters raised in the appeal was prepared.

Arising from an oral hearing on 23 March 2000 the appeals officer requested a further report from the social welfare inspector with a view to clarifying the farm expenses which the person contended to have been under-estimated. The inspector has now reported that despite considerable effort on his part the person has failed to clarify such expenses or to provide additional receipts. He has submitted a report to this effect to the appeals officer and it is proposed to reconvene the oral hearing. This will be arranged for the next visit of an appeals officer to the Ballina area. The person will be notified of the arrangements when they are finalised.

The person concerned is currently in receipt of unemployment benefit at the rate of £61.20 per week since 19 September 2000. This payment includes an increase for his four dependant children.

Under social welfare legislation decisions in relation to claims must be made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.