Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Ceisteanna (396, 397, 398)

Michael Ring

Ceist:

526 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the full rate social welfare payments which persons are entitled to claim in conjunction with the farm early retirement scheme. [2707/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

The conditions for receipt of EU farm retirement pension are a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture and Food. As far as social welfare payments are concerned farm retirement pension is not generally payable in addition to social welfare payments.

In the case of persons under the age of 66 the pension is assessed in the same way as other cash income for the purpose of entitlement to social assistance payments. The pension is not assessable as means for old age pension purposes from age 66 but, where old age pension is awarded, the farm retirement pension is reduced accordingly.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

527 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if a person (details supplied) in County Mayo is entitled to claim for a widow's non-contributory pension in conjunction with her farm early retirement scheme payment. [2690/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The person concerned was in receipt of widow's non-contributory pension at the weekly rate of €111.30 until June 2002. Payment of pension was then discontinued as her means were in excess of the weekly statutory limit of €122.60. Her means were derived from a yearly farm retirement pension of €13,515.00, equivalent to €259.90 weekly.

Farm retirement pension is assessable in full for all means tested schemes where the recipient is under 66 years. It is not assessable where the person is 66 years of age or over. The person concerned should therefore contact the pensions services office again prior to reaching age 66 so that her claim can be re-examined.

Under social welfare legislation, decisions in relation to claims are made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.

Michael Ring

Ceist:

528 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo is not receiving the living alone allowance. [2691/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The living alone allowance is an additional payment of €7.70 per week that is paid to people aged 66 years or over who are in receipt of specified social welfare payments, including widow's contributory pension. It is also available to those under 66 years of age who are receiving disability allowance, invalidity pension, blind person's pension or unemployability supplement. The person concerned, who is in receipt of a widow's contributory pension, is under 66 years of age and is therefore not qualified for receipt of the allowance.

Under social welfare legislation, decisions in relation to claims are made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.