Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (544)

Éamon Ó Cuív


544. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Social Protection when an application by a solicitor (details supplied) for clearance to take out probate, and pay out the beneficiaries of a will, will be provided; the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37943/20]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

State Pension (non-contributory) (SPNC) is a means-tested payment for people aged 66 and over, habitually residing in the State, who do not qualify for a State pension contributory, or who only qualify for a reduced rate contributory pension based on their social insurance record. Recipients of SPNC are obliged to notify the Department of any changes in their circumstances that may affect their pension entitlement. A list of the reportable changes of circumstance is included in the initial notification of pension award and in all subsequent review communications from my Department.

Social welfare legislation provides that the Personal Representative of a deceased person who, at any time, received a means-tested payment, is obliged to give notice to my Department of their intention to distribute the deceased's estate, to provide a schedule of the assets of the estate and is requested not to distribute the estate until they receive formal clearance from my Department. If, on examination of the schedule of assets, it is found that not all of the deceased’s means had been disclosed, or if the values of previously assessed means have changed, my Department will seek to recover any monies overpaid from the estate.

The deceased person concerned was in receipt of a SPNC. A schedule of the assets of the estate was received by my Department on 3 September 2020. The case has been referred for investigation to a Social Welfare Inspector, who has written to the Personal Representative of the deceased requesting additional information. When this information is provided, the Inspector will complete their report and return it to the Deciding Officer for consideration.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.