Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

82.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason a person (details supplied) in County Waterford who applied for unemployment assistance last August was refused.

Entitlement to unemployment assistance is dependent on a claimant being the holder of a qualification certificate and to obtain a qualification certificate a person must satisfy certain conditions including an assessment of means. The person concerned claimed unemployment assistance from 12 August, 1985 and her case was referred to a social welfare officer for investigation of her means. She was not available for interview initially but, subsequently in December 1985 she made herself available for interview. Following the investigation she was assessed with nil means.

Due to a clerical error she had not been paid unemployment assistance due to her for the period 12 August 1985 to 29 August 1985 during which she signed the unemployed register. The weekly entitlement in her case is £31.75 and arrears due for the relevant period will be paid to her this week. She ceased to sign the unemployed register after 29 August 1985.

83.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if disability benefit payments will be reconsidered for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and while the Ombudsman is considering his case if she will ensure that supplementary welfare allowance payments are made as was the case previously.

The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 3 July 1981 and payment was disallowed initially from 19 December 1983 following an examination by a medical referee on 24 November 1983 who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work. He was subsequently examined by medical referees on 1 March 1984, 13 December 1984 and 19 September 1985 who all considered him to be capable of work.

Appeals officers have considered his case on three separate occasions and have decided that he is not incapable of work within the meaning of the Social Welfare Acts from 19 December 1983 to 17 May 1984, from 18 May 1984 to 17 June 1985 and again from 18 June 1985 to 18 October 1985. The decision of an appeals officer is final and can only be altered in the light of new facts or fresh evidence.

The person concerned has continued to submit medical evidence and benefit has again been disallowed from 19 October 1985. He has been informed of this latest disallowance and if he wishes to appeal he should inform the Department in writing, and he will be referred for another medical examination. His entitlement to benefit will then be reviewed on receipt of the result of this examination.

Supplementary Welfare Allowance was suspended from 29 April 1986, because of the failure of the person concerned to disclose details of his means. If he is prepared to give the community welfare officer the information requested he should contact him, and the decision to suspend payment of supplementary welfare allowance will be reviewed.

84.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a person (details supplied) in County Wexford is entitled to disability benefit; and, if so, when they will be made; if not, if she will ensure that some payments either through supplementary welfare allowance or disabled person's maintenance allowance are paid to her as she is certified as being incapacitated and has no means.

The person concerned claimed disability benefit from 11 April 1986. She is not qualified for benefit as regulations provide that where a claimant has no contributions paid or credited for any two consecutive contribution years preceeding her claim, she cannot qualify for payment of disability benefit, or the award of credited contributions in respect of periods of incapacity for work, until she has a further 26 weeks of insurable employment for which the appropriate contributions have been paid.

According to the records of the Department, the person concerned had no contributions paid or credited in the years 1982-83 and 1983-84 and has not had 26 weeks of insurable employment since that time. If her means are insufficient to meet her needs she may be entitled to supplementary welfare allowance or disabled person's maintenance allowance and in this regard she should contact her local community welfare officer.

85.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if a death grant application (details supplied) in County Wexford will be approved and, if so, when.

The person concerned is not entitled to a death grant in respect of his late mother. One of the conditions for receipt of the grant is that the deceased, or spouse of the deceased, must have had at least 26 paid contributions since entry into insurance or since 1 October 1970 (whichever is the later). Entitlement to the grant in this case is based on the insurance record of his late father who died in 1949 before the death grant scheme was introduced.

86.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare, if, in view of the need of a person (details supplied) in County Dublin, a decision can be made on his appeal as a matter of urgency.

The person concerned lodged an appeal against the deciding officer's decision to disallow his unemployment assistance claim in respect of various dates during the period 30 May 1983 to 15 November 1985 on the grounds that he was not unemployed on those dates. Arrangements are being made to have his case determined by an appeals officer at the earliest available opportunity.

The person concerned has continued to sign the unemployed register but he is not being paid unemployment assistance. He was requested to furnish certain documentary evidence that his employment had ceased but he failed to do so. When he furnishes the relevant information his entitlement to unemployment assistance will be reviewed. In the meantime, if he has insufficient means to meet his needs, he should apply to his local health board for supplementary welfare allowance.

87.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare the date on which a person (details supplied) in County Limerick made an application to her Department for an oral hearing in connection with his unemployment assistance appeal; the reason for the delay in granting him an appeal hearing; and when this will be granted.

The person concerned appealed against the disallowance of his unemployment assistance claim on 24 November, 1985. Arising from certain contentions raised in support of his appeal, his case had to be referred to a social welfare officer for further inquiries.

When these inquiries were completed the case was submitted to the chief appeals officer for determination at the earliest available opportunity. When the date and venue of the oral hearing of his case have been arranged the person concerned will be informed as quickly as possible. His entitlement to unemployment assistance will be determined in the light of the outcome of the appeal.

88.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an invalidity pension will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Wexford.

Invalidity pension is payable to insured persons who satisfy the contribution conditions and who are permanently incapable of work. One of the contribution conditions is that the claimant must have not less than 48 contributions paid or credited in the last complete contribution year before the date of the claim.

The contribution year at present governing entitlement to invalidity pension is the period from April 1985 to April 1986. According to the records of the Department there are only class K contributions registered in respect of the person concerned for this period. These contributions are paid at a modified rate and do not give cover for social welfare benefits. The person concerned is not therefore qualified for the receipt of invalidity pension.

89.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare if she will arrange an early appeal for a person (details supplied) in County Wexford who is claiming unemployment benefit.

The person concerned was in receipt of unemployment benefit from 26 November 1985 to 9 April 1986, after which date her claim was disallowed by a deciding officer on the grounds that she was not available for work.

She lodged an appeal on 19 April 1986 against the decision to disallow her claim and arrangements are being made to have an oral hearing of her case at the earliest possible opportunity. Her entitlement to unemployment benefit will be reviewed in the light of the decision of the appeals officer.

90.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare when a person (details supplied) in County Wexford will be transferred from disability benefit to an invalidity pension.

The person concerned is in receipt of a contributory widow's pension at the weekly rate of £46.25 in addition to disability benefit at the weekly rate of £19.75 — total £66.

Regulations provide that an invalidity pension cannot be paid in addition to a contributory widow's pension. If the person concerned were transferred to an invalidity pension it would be paid to her at the rate of £45.30 and both her contributory widow's pension and disability benefit would cease to be paid to her. She would therefore have a cash reduction of £20.70 per week in her income from the Department if she were transferred to the pension. Invalidity pensioners are entitled to a free travel pass. Some such pensioners are also entitled to a free electricity allowance, free (black and white) television licence and free telephone rental allowance. The position has been explained to the person concerned and she has been requested to say whether, in the circumstances, she wishes to be transferred to invalidity pension.

91.

asked the Minister for Social Welfare when an appeal was received on behalf of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; the present situation regarding his appeal; and when a decision will be made on the matter.

The unemployment assistance claim of the person concerned was disallowed by a deciding officer on the grounds that his means, derived from the profit from his holding, exceeded the statutory limit. There is no record in the Department of the receipt of an appeal against the disallowance. It is, however, still open to him to appeal and a form for this purpose may be obained at his local employment office.