Thursday, 14 November 2019

Ceisteanna (182)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

182. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a matter regarding a carer's allowance for a person (details supplied) will be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47069/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

The person in question had raised an appeal with the SWAO (18/08807) following a decision that she was not entitled to Jobseeker's Allowance for the period from 19 June 2004 to 31 December 2013 on the grounds that her means exceeded the limit. An overpayment of €107.967.70 was raised for this period. This appeal was partially upheld by the Appeals Officer, who stated in their report that the overpayment amount 'should be reduced by the amount that the person would have been entitled to on Carer's Allowance' for the period from 2004 to 2009. Subsequently my Department wrote to the person in question on 25 September 2019 advising that as per the Appeals Officers determination, CA was awarded for that period (17 June 2004 - 6 January 2010) but the funds would be held against the debt. The letter also stated that our Debt Recovery Unit (DRU) would make contact. DRU have since made contact with the person in question to discuss repayment of the debt. A letter was issued on 3 October 2019 detailing the debt of €47,286.37.

In the meantime, the person concerned had a separate appeal (18/06890) following a decision dated 23 January 2019, stating that she had no entitlement to Carers Allowance for the period 2 January 2014 - 1 November 2017 on the grounds that her means exceeded the limit. This appeal was disallowed and a further debt is now owed to my department for an overpayment of CA for the period concerned, for €47,357.80. In light of this new development, DRU wrote to the person in question on 7 November 2019 advising that the new amount owing was a combination of the two debts, totalling €94,516.42 on that date.

Quite separate from the above, the person in question had made a new application for CA which was received on 23 July 2019, and my Department wrote to her on 23 October 2019 to advise that this was approved. The first payment  on this claim issued to her nominated bank account on 7 November 2019.

In relation to the debt still outstanding, my Departments DRU will continue to discuss repayment options with the person in question. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.