Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Ceisteanna (100, 101)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

104 Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a bereavement grant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23309/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Social Protection)

A bereavement grant is a payment designed to assist families in dealing with death and funeral expenses. It is a once-off payment based on pay-related social insurance (PRSI) contributions, made from the Social Insurance Fund.

According to the records of my Department no application for a bereavement grant has been received in respect of the deceased.

To qualify for a bereavement grant, the person on whose insurance record the claim is based must have 156 PRSI contributions. Alternatively, they must have paid 26 PRSI contributions and a specified number of credited PRSI Contributions. The claim may be based on the insurance record of the deceased, or their spouse, civil partner or cohabitant.

All adults are treated equally under the bereavement grant scheme and must satisfy the same PRSI conditions.

On preliminary inspection, based upon the information provided by the Deputy, it appears that the person concerned was a single man who did not have any reckonable contributions paid and that, consequently, a bereavement grant would not be payable in this case. However, it is open to the person's next of kin to make a claim for bereavement grant in order for the case to be fully assessed and a formal decision made. In this case, a completed application form should be sent to the bereavement grant section in the Social Welfare Services Office in Longford.

Alternatively, to assist with burial costs, the claimant may qualify for a means tested exceptional needs payments under the supplementary welfare scheme administered by the local Community Welfare Service.

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

105 Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of instances in which a claimant’s domiciliary care allowance payment was stopped in advance of the conclusion or decision of the scheduled desk review. [23312/12]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Customers who have their Domiciliary Care Allowance entitlement reviewed are asked to provide relevant up-to-date medical evidence and details of the additional care needs of their child within 60 days. In a small number of cases where customers have not returned information or made contact with the Department, their payments have been suspended. Payments have been restored in these cases when the customers concerned contacted the Department and they remain in payment until the review process is completed.

This information provided on review is assessed by a Departmental Medical Advisor and a decision is made based on the medical opinion they provide. Where payment is stopped as a result of a review, the customer is invited to submit any further information they may wish to have considered and that information is further examined and they may appeal the decision directly to the Social Welfare appeals Office.

Reviews of the Scheme commenced in 2010 with a total of 134 reviews carried out. Eighty of these customers were found to have a continuing eligibility. Fifty four customers were found to be no longer eligible for the allowance. In 2011, a total of 403 reviews were carried out with 176 customers found to have a continuing entitlement. Of the overall number, 224 customers were found to be no longer eligible with 3 cases yet to be finalised. Payment has been stopped where the customer has been found to be no longer eligible for the allowance.

There is no provision in Social Welfare legislation to allow the Department to continue to making payments once a decision has been made that the customer no longer fulfils the conditions for receipt of a payment.