Written answers

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Code

Photo of Peter BurkePeter Burke (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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266. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the case of a person (details supplied) regarding the calculation of means for an adult dependent; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42599/19]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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For contributory schemes based on the claimant's social insurance record (such as State Pension Contributory), an increase for a Qualified Adult is payable at the maximum rate of payment where the means of the spouse/partner is €100 a week or less.  Reduced rates are payable where the means are over €100 and less than €310 per week.  No increase is payable where the means of the spouse/partner are in excess of €310 per week.

The means assessed are those of the spouse/partner only and generally include:

- Income from employment and self-employment;

- Income from other private, occupational or foreign pensions;

- Income from any other sources including insurance policies such as life assurance, a trust fund, a deed of covenant, social welfare payments other than payments made in respect of a minor (e.g. child benefit, guardians, foster child etc.), maintenance payments from a former spouse/civil partner, and various other forms of periodic payment;

- Income from capital, property, investments, as well as savings.  If a second property is owned jointly or by the spouse/partner, the rental income from this property is assessed.  The capital value (less any outstanding mortgage) will be assessed if the property is not rented.

It should be noted that the value of the family home, regardless of who is the legal owner, is never taken into account in this assessment. 

Means of the claimant are not included in the assessment.  Where, for example, a couple has a joint savings account, the value of half of the capital amount is assessed against the spouse/partner.

The general rule for assessment of pension funds or annuities is that money invested in a pension fund is not assessable for means purposes until it is accessible.  However, this must specifically be a pension fund, and not a general savings account being used by the spouse/partner as savings for their retirement.  The rules of a pension scheme will determine what and when benefits are payable from the scheme.

The value of any cash which is available as a regular income from a pension fund is assessed on the basis of the weekly value of that income.  Where regular pension payments are received and treated as income for means purposes, the capital valuation of that fund is not included in the means assessment.

Depending on the circumstances of this case, the person concerned may wish to consider submitting an application to the Scope Section of my Department for decision on a retrospective partnership.


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