Thursday, 13 June 2019

Ceisteanna (34)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

34. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence further to Parliamentary Question No. 127 of 26 March 2019, the number of former members of the Defence Forces who have been awarded damages in respect of injuries received while in the Defence Forces from 2009 to date; the number of members who have subsequently had their pension entitlements restricted due to the fact they received an award in court in the same time period; the extent to which it is planned to continue this practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24627/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Defence)

I take it the Deputy's request is for information on the number of former members of the Defence Forces that have been awarded damages from 2009 to date in respect of injuries received while in the Defence Forces, and for an update on the information provided previously on the numbers who have had their disability benefits reduced or withheld under Section 13(2) from 2009 to date.  

Information on the number of Personal Injury Claims finalised by the State Claims Agency on behalf of the Minister for Defence is available and is provided in the following table.  This includes all personal injury claims that were subject to a court award, were settled or withdrawn/discontinued.

In relation to the numbers who have had their disability benefits reduced or withheld under Section 13(2), there has been no change to the information provided previously.  For convenience this information is provided again in the table.  

I would like to clarify that the provisions of Section 13(2) are not restricted to any time period for the award or receipt of alternative compensation and that the figures provided reflect all disability benefit cases decided by the Minister in the period 2009 to date, regardless of when the alternative awards or payments were made.  

As set out in my previous reply to Parliamentary Question No. 127 of 26 March 2019, the position is that Section 13(2) of the Army Pensions Act, 1923, as amended, provides that any alternative compensation received for the same injury or medical condition for which an award is being made under the Army Pensions Acts, may be taken into consideration in fixing the level of disability pension or gratuity that might otherwise be awarded under the Army Pensions Acts. 

The underlying objective of Section 13(2) is to take into consideration compensation paid 'on the double' for the same disablement.

I have no plans to discontinue the practice of applying this statutory provision in all relevant cases in the future.

 Year

Number of disability benefits reduced or withheld under Section 13(2) of the Army Pensions Act 1923 (as amended)

 

Number of Personal Injury Claims finalised by the State Claims Agency   on behalf of the Minister for Defence*

No. of disability pensions reduced

No. of disablement gratuities reduced/withheld

 

 

2009

4

5

 251

2010

3

7

 341

2011

2

5

 500

2012

6

8

 211

2013

3

5

 138

2014

2

2

 96

2015

4

2

 97

2016

9

6

 109

2017

15**

6

 102

2018

10

2

 97

2019 (to end May)

4

0

 42

*this includes all personal injury claims that were subject to a court award, were settled or withdrawn/discontinued

** following an internal review, a number of historical cases were decided in 2017. 

The Army Pensions Acts provide for the award of both pensions and once-off gratuities, therefore information in relation to gratuity awards has also been included, for completeness.