Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Ceisteanna (342)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

342. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider a reduction in the imposed €28.20 being deducted with regard to recovery of social welfare overpayment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Louth, noting that the deduction imposed is causing undue financial hardship; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20918/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

A person who has incurred an overpayment from the Department of Social Protection has a liability under law to refund the amounts involved - Section 338 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005 (as amended) refers. They have received monies to which they were not entitled and the Department has a responsibility to ensure that all overpayments are repaid in full. Interest or penalties on the amounts owing is not applied. Effective debt recovery is seen as an integral part of the control function. A debt will remain on the record of an individual until fully recovered and will result in a reduction of all future entitlements up to, and including, state pension. Following the death of a customer who owes a debt, the Department will have a claim on any estate remaining. Section 13 of the Social Welfare Act 2012 introduced a provision allowing for a deduction of an amount up to 15% of the weekly personal rate payable to a person for the purposes of the recovery of an overpayment without the person's consent. The deduction applies to the person’s personal rate only, and does not affect payment of any adult or child dependent allowances, or any other allowances that are in payment. A deduction of 15% from a person’s personal rate of payment allows them to retain 85% of that payment. The person concerned is offered the opportunity to give his/her views on the proposed deduction. Any views offered by the person will be considered before deductions are made from a social welfare payment.