The increase for a qualified adult is a means tested payment, payable to a State pension contributory claimant whose spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is being wholly or mainly maintained by him or her and where that qualified adult's personal means from any other source does not exceed a means test income limit. There are currently 60,635 beneficiaries of this payment. As part of my Department’s commitment to ensuring that claimants are receiving their full and correct entitlements, ongoing reviews of means tested payments are carried out annually.
In the case of increases for qualified adults, IQAs, for those in receipt of the State contributory pension, the primary claimant is contacted by my Department to notify him or her that his or her continuing entitlement to the means tested IQA payment is currently being examined. In addition, details of the means of the qualified adult are requested. Just over 10% of the 60,635 IQA cases are reviewed every year. These review letters have been approved by the National Adult Literacy Association, NALA, and were sent out recently.
Where a qualified adult has weekly means of less than €100, the maximum rate of IQA is paid. Where his or her weekly means is between €100 and €310, a reduced rate of IQA is payable. If the qualified adult has means of more than €310 per week, this exceeds the means limit and, therefore, no IQA payment is paid. Only the means of the qualified adult are taken into account for claimants of contributory pensions. In the case of joint bank accounts or joint ownership of land or property, apart from the family home, only half of the value or amount is, therefore, assessed as means for that qualified adult. It is open to claimants to contact my Department regarding the return of any of the information requested. Flexibility can be and often is provided if there is difficulty in replying within the requested 21 days suggested in the letter.