Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (553)

Cormac Devlin


553. Deputy Cormac Devlin asked the Minister for Social Protection the rationale for issuing persons in receipt of a qualified adult payment to their old age pension a means test letter; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38005/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

An Increase for qualified adult (IQA) is a means tested payment, payable to State pension (contributory) (and other contributory scheme) claimants whose spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is being wholly or mainly maintained by them, and where that qualified adult’s personal means from any source does not exceed a means test income limit. Currently there are 58,236 beneficiaries of this payment in the State pension (contributory) scheme.

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.

The primary State pension (contributory) claimant is contacted to notify them that their continuing entitlement to the means-tested IQA payment is being examined. In this context, details of the means of their qualified adult is requested. These review letters have been approved by the National Adult Literacy Association.

Where a qualified adult has weekly means of less than €100, the maximum rate of IQA is payable. Where their 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 no IQA payment is due. For claimants of contributory pension, only the means of the qualified adult are taken into account. In the case of joint bank accounts, or joint ownership of land or property (apart from the family home), half the value or amount is assessed as means for the qualified adult.

It is open to claimants to contact my Department regarding the return of the requested information. Flexibility can be provided if there is difficulty in replying within the requested timeframe.

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.