Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (575)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

575. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection the way in which redundancy payments affect the means test for disability allowance; if there are allowances that can be applied to the means test in respect of statutory or non-statutory redundancy; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38390/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department operates a range of means-tested social assistance payments. Social welfare legislation provides that the means test takes account of the income and assets of the person (and spouse / partner, if applicable) applying for the relevant scheme.

For the purposes of the means assessment for Disability Allowance, as well as other social assistance schemes, redundancy payments are assessed as capital.

The assessment of capital reflects an expectation that people with reasonable amounts of capital and property are in a position to use that capital, or to realise the value of the property, to support themselves without having to rely solely on a means-tested welfare payment.

Disability allowance has the most generous capital disregard of any scheme operated by the Department. A recipient can have up to €50,000 in capital and still receive the full rate of payment, compared to €20,000 for most social welfare payments. The capital assessment formula for Disability Allowance is shown in the following table.

Capital

Weekly means assessed

First €50,000

Nil

Next €10,000

€1 per €1,000

Next €10,000

€2 per €1,000

Balance (any capital over €70,000)

€4 per €1,000

Based on this formula, a recipient can have about €112,000 means from capital and still claim the minimum rate of disability allowance.

Any proposals to disregard redundancy payments from the capital means assessment for means-tested social assistance schemes would have to be considered in an overall budgetary and policy context.

I trust this clarifies the position.