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Social Welfare Inspections

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 22 January 2019

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Questions (650)

Fiona O'Loughlin


650. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the procedure for a social welfare inspector who is investigating a case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2884/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Social Welfare Inspectors, SWIs, are appointed under Section 250 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended). As part of their function, they are required to investigate and report on customer’s claims and confirm that scheme conditionality is in order. They also have a role in ensuring that compliance is in order in relation to employer’s PRSI.

The Department's Inspectorate investigates is responsible for ensuring that employers comply with the Acts in relation to Pay Related Social Insurance contributions and for investigating such matters as the insurability of employment under the Acts.  Its remit also includes the combating of fraud and abuse of the Department's schemes.  The appointment and duties of Social Welfare Inspectors are provided for in Section 250 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005. These outline the requirement for a claimant to give an inspector information and any documents that s/he may require for the purposes of an investigation.  They also include the power to enter any premises liable for inspection and inspect and take copies or extracts from any records found there as may be necessary to ascertain compliance with the Act.

The social welfare inspector decides what investigative approach is required and is most appropriate to the case. Investigations may involve  desk assessments, office interviews, written and or verbal enquiries and may also include home visits. These may be notified or un-notified depending on the nature of the case. Inspectors may also be required to make visits to employers and may also engage in site visits.

 I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.