Seanad debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Social Welfare Eligibility

9:30 am

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Senator for highlighting this particular case. The neighbour was only performing an act of charity and should not have been penalised for it. I do not know anything about the circumstances of the case. I can understand that the issue probably depends on how long the people were living there. I know that rent was not being charged but it would be important in the case to know how long the people were living there. If it was turned down, I would certainly hope that it would have been taken to the social welfare appeals office to get a ruling on it. At a time of bereavement, an elderly relative can come and stay in a house for a period. That should not compromise anyone's entitlement to a social welfare payment. The Senator makes strong points in this case.

Earlier, I concentrated all my remarks on people over the age of 66. It is also paid to people who are in receipt of the following social welfare payments who are under 66 years of age: disability allowance; invalidity pension; incapacity supplement and blind pension. That is only right as well. We often encounter the following situation. There can be an elderly person in a house on the living alone allowance. If a son or daughter comes back to live in the house and they are in employment, everybody in the house has to be eligible for the scheme. If there are people in the house who are not eligible for the scheme, like a working son or daughter, that can disbar the parent in those situations. Those are the kinds of issues we have to be careful about.


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