Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Seán Crowe

Question:

447 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if the claim of a person (details supplied) who was refused a carer's allowance on 12 March 2003 will be investigated; if her attention has been drawn to the great strain that carers are put under in taking care of their relatives; her views on whether ?150 a week is sufficient for a person to take care of their elderly and deeply ill parent; and if this case will be reviewed. [10868/03]

Where a carer is in receipt of another social security payment from another country, this payment is assessable as means for carer's allowance purposes. The person concerned was refused carer's allowance on 12 March 2003 on the basis that her weekly means derived from another social security payment exceed the statutory limit for receipt of the allowance. She was notified of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right to appeal to the independent appeals office. To date no appeal has been lodged. There is a general principle in the social welfare code that not more than one social welfare payment is paid to an individual at any one time and the present arrangements reflect that principle. Any change in the existing rules in this regard would have major impli cations and could only be considered in a budgetary context.

Michael Ring

Question:

448 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be reassessed for an old age non-contributory pension in view of the change in their circumstances. [10871/03]

There is no record of an application for an old age non-contributory pension in respect of the person concerned. However, she was in receipt of widow's non-contributory pension at the reduced weekly rate of €75.55. Payment of pension was discontinued by a deciding officer from 23 May 2000, as she failed to substantiate the alleged disposal of significant capital arising from the sale of her farm and dwelling. The assessment of means deriving from the sum involved is in excess of the limit for either of these pensions. An appeals officer subsequently upheld the deciding officer's decision. Her entitlement was reviewed in October 2002 and her application was refused on the same grounds.

Until the issue of the disposal of the capital involved is satisfactorily accounted for, she will continue to be assessed with means deriving from the sum involved. Accordingly, she will need to furnish the required evidence in this regard before she can re-establish entitlement. Under social welfare legislation, decisions in relation to claims are made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.

Michael Ring

Question:

449 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive the extra allowance for people aged 80 or over with their old age pension in view of the fact that they are 80 years of age. [10872/03]

The over 80 allowance was included automatically in the pension book of the person concerned from 11 April 2003, the Friday following her 80th birthday.

This brings her total weekly payment from that date to €177.30 comprising €154.20 personal rate, €6.40 over 80 allowance, €7.70 living alone allowance and €9 fuel allowance.

The fuel allowance is payable for the duration of the fuel season which is due to end this year on 18 April 2003. From that date her weekly payment is €168.30.

Michael Ring

Question:

450 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo did not receive the carer's allowance for the care he provides to his mother as well. [10929/03]

The person concerned applied for carer's allowance in respect of both his parents. He was awarded carer's allowance in respect of his mother with effect from 5 December 2002 at the maximum weekly personal rate of €129.60 per week. However, he was refused this allowance in respect of his father on the grounds that full time care and attention was not required in that case. He was notified of this decision, the reason for it and of his right to appeal to the social welfare appeals office. There is no record of an appeal having been lodged in this case. 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.