Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Questions (423)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

423. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Social Protection the formal procedure in place for setting up a recovery plan over a period of time in respect of substantial Covid pandemic unemployment overpayments; the length of time customers have to repay the overpayment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28264/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

Overpayments of social welfare assistance and benefit payments arise as a consequence of decisions made under the relevant sections of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005 (as amended). Customers who have been overpaid social welfare have a liability to refund the overpayment as they have been in receipt of a payment to which they were not entitled. Where an overpayment is raised, the Department makes every effort to recover the amount overpaid.

Recovery is sought over a period without imposing undue financial hardship on the customer. The Department will work with the customer and consider personal circumstances in determining a repayment plan.

Repayments may be made by Debit Card, Standing Order, Direct Debit or by cheque. Where a customer is in receipt of a Social Welfare payment, legislation allows the Department to deduct up to 15% of the personal rate of the payment, where the customer does not engage in agreeing a repayment plan. However, every effort is made to agree a repayment plan with customers. Where a customer is in employment and does not engage in agreeing a repayment plan, the Department will consider making an attachment of earnings order.

At any stage, customers can make contact directly with the Department's Central Debt Unit in order to discuss and agree a suitable repayment arrangement by emailing Centraldebt@welfare.ie or by calling (071) 9672591

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.