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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 1 May 1969

Vol. 240 No. 3

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Occupational Injuries.


asked the Minister for Social Welfare at what stage a member who has been found to be suffering from (a) temporary or (b) permanent disablement under the Social Welfare (Occupational Injuries) Act, 1966, may apply for work at an employment exchange; if a member may register at an employment exchange for work even though suffering from a temporary disablement; and if he will be paid the same amount of unemployment benefit as he would be paid if he were not disabled.


asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a member who is suffering from a temporary or permanent disablement following an occupational injury is entitled to claim credits for social welfare benefits while he is precluded from resuming work.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 34 and 35 together.

An insured person who is suffering from disablement is not necessarily incapable of work and there is nothing to prevent such a person from registering at any time at an employment exchange for work and making a claim for unemployment benefit. The question whether he fulfils the statutory conditions for the receipt of unemployment benefit, which require, among other things, that the claimant be capable of work, is one for decision in the ordinary way by a deciding officer or, on appeal, by an appeals officer in the light of all the facts and circumstances. Disablement would not affect the rate of unemployment benefit payable to a person found to be entitled to that benefit.

A disabled insured person who is incapable of work would be entitled to credited contributions in respect of any weeks in which he furnishes evidence of incapacity for work. Where he is not incapable of work he would be similarly entitled in respect of weeks of proved unemployment.

Is the Minister aware that the Department of Labour, on occasion, refuse to accept applicants because they are not fully fit for work?

I am not so aware. A person registering at an employment exchange is not usually questioned as to his physical condition or fitness.

Is the Minister further aware that in some cases those people are asked to produce certificates of fitness?

The Deputy may be confusing registration at an exchange with a claim for benefit. These are two different things. Anybody may register or anybody may apply for a qualification certificate but to claim benefit might instigate other investigations with regard to ability and qualification.

Surely if somebody has received a discharge from a doctor, either total or partial, he is entitled to sign on for unemployment benefit at an employment exchange.

Such people are entitled to apply. They may not always succeed.

A case can occur in which a man having a ten per cent disablement goes to an employment exchange and he wishes to register and he is requested to present a certificate from a doctor stating he is fully fit for work. Further arising out of this is the Minister aware a situation like this could occur that a man who is 10 per cent disabled is found not to be entitled to illness benefit and has been refused permission to register at the employment exchange and therefore has no credits?

That would be the local exchange.

Surely the Minister should be able to answer this?

There may be specific cases he is dealing with but generally speaking a person in receipt of disablement pension may well, and often does, work in other employment. Under the Occupational Injuries Act when we pay disablement benefit the person is still permitted to work.

Could the Minister not get over this by making a general order that if somebody is discharged by a doctor and is capable of taking up employment he could then be in receipt of unemployment assistance?

I had this question yesterday or the day before and as a result of that I made certain enquiries to see if this is happening to any extent.

Does the Minister not agree it is of the utmost importance to see that those people can get this benefit?

I quite agree with a good deal of what has been said but the Deputies must admit that we find some peculiar types of applications and of necessity we must impose certain regulations.

The local officer is not entitled to disqualify an applicant.

He is not the controlling authority.