Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Questions (136)

Jack Wall


237 Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position in regard to the ongoing dispute between community welfare officers and social welfare area offices regarding the officer from whom an award should issue to a person when an application is in dispute; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25677/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Family)

Where a person is awaiting a decision on an application for assistance from my Department, or where such an application is in dispute, and that person finds that he or she has insufficient means with which to provide for his or her basic needs, it is open to that person to apply for assistance under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme, which is administered on behalf of my Department by the health boards.

There is no automatic entitlement to supplementary welfare allowance. An assessment of a person's means and needs is carried out and where there is a shortfall in a person's income, a payment may be made to bring it up to the appropriate supplementary welfare allowance rate.

The decision to pay supplementary welfare allowance is a matter for the appropriate health board and would have regard to the particular circumstances involved in individual cases with due regard to any hardship factors. This is not related to any dispute but is an operational policy decision taken by the relevant boards.