Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (426)

Mary Mitchell O'Connor

Question:

426. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) who is receiving invalidity pension has to come off same when a job offer comes up, and if it does not work out has to wait six to 12 weeks to be put back into the system; the reason is takes four to six weeks to be put on partial capacity in the interim period and in the meantime the person loses out on the job offer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22762/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Partial capacity benefit (PCB) is a social welfare scheme which allows a person to return to employment if they have a reduced capacity for work and to continue to receive an illness related payment from this Department. Applicants for PCB must first be in receipt of either illness benefit (IB) for at least 6 months or invalidity pension (IP).

Entry to the Scheme is subject to medical assessment and as part of the application process the customer is required to complete an application form, including a detailed medical report from their doctor. When these forms are returned to the Department they are considered by a medical assessor who assesses the restriction on the person’s capacity for work and this assessment is available to the Department’s Deciding Officer.

When a customer makes an application for PCB and has a job lined up with a start date, the PCB section will fast track the application. As far as possible the Department tries to dovetail the end of the IP/IB payment with the commencement of the PCB payment.

Situations where PCB is awarded and the customer subsequently ceases work and wishes to return to their original scheme are also facilitated as quickly as possible. The Department requires documentary evidence that the customer has ceased work (i.e. a P45 or letter from employer and a declaration from the customer). In such cases the PCB payment remains in place until the full IP or IB payment can be reinstated. The full IP or IB payment is backdated to the date that the customer ceased working, where applicable.

The person concerned is currently receiving IP. On 22nd April, 2013 he requested PCB application forms. He did not proceed with his application for PCB and returned a declaration to the Department dated 11th June, 2013 that he would not work while in receipt of IP. He requested PCB forms a second time in December, 2013 and once again did not return the forms, and signed a further declaration, on 16th December, 2013, stating that he would not work while in receipt of IP. On 23rd April, 2014 he has again requested PCB forms which have been issued by the Department, but not, as yet, returned.

Once a claim form is returned for the person concerned, the Department will be able to process his claim further.