Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Michael Ring

Question:

194 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children when a decision will be made on the request by the Western Health Board for a revised interpretation of the method of payment of blind welfare allowance; the cost implication of this request; the number of people affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22055/02]

My Department has been informed that all health boards, including the Western Health Board, have since the beginning of this year been calculating blind welfare allowance on the basis of a revised methodology. However, the health boards did not enter into prior consultation with the Department before using the revised methodology.

In July of this year the health boards forwarded an annual costing of implementing the revised methodology and a costing for arrears. My Department is currently examining these costings.

Question No. 195 answered with Question No. 190.

Michael Ring

Question:

196 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Health and Children the reason Parliamentary Question No. 1101 of 9 October 2002 has not been responded to by the Western Health Board. [22057/02]

The provision of services in County Mayo is the responsibility of the Western Health Board. I understand from the board that a reply to Question No. 1101 of 9 October 2002 was issued to the Deputy on 12 November 2002.

Question No. 197 answered with Question No. 190.