Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (1325)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1325. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if money awarded to a person due to a legal compensation case is considered as means (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14091/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Social welfare legislation provides for the manner in which a person's means are assessed for social assistance schemes.  In summary, any income or capital, with certain exceptions and disregards, belonging to the person and his / her spouse, partner or co-habitant is assessable for social welfare means testing purposes.

Social welfare legislation provides for the disregard of certain compensation awards when assessing the means of a person.  These disregards include, for example, all income derived from compensation awarded by the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal, the Residential Institutions Redress Board and in relation to disability caused by Thalidomide.  Any payment made by the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board is also disregarded for social welfare means test purposes.  In addition, ex gratia payments made to women who were admitted to and worked in the Magdalen Laundries, or through the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme, are also disregarded.

All compensation or court awards which are not specifically provided for in social welfare legislation are assessed in the normal manner.  However, most social assistance schemes (such as Jobseeker's Allowance and State Pension Non-Contributory) have a capital disregard of €20,000.  In the case of Disability Allowance, the first €50,000 in capital is disregarded.

Any changes to the means assessment of social assistance schemes would have to be considered in the overall policy and budgetary context.

Question No. 1326 answered with Question No. 1323.