Written answers

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Disability Allowance

Photo of Jackie CahillJackie Cahill (Tipperary, Fianna Fail)
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292. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29564/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Based on the evidence supplied in support of their application for disability allowance (DA), this person’s application was disallowed on the grounds that they had means in excess of the statutory limit. They were notified in writing of this decision on 6 July 2020.

The person concerned requested an appeal to the independent social welfare appeals office (SWAO). The decision of the SWAO was to disallow this appeal and the person concerned was notified in writing of the outcome. An AO’s decision is final and conclusive in absence of any fresh facts or evidence.

Social welfare legislation provides that, for social assistance schemes, all income and capital (such as savings, investments and property other than the family home) belonging to the claimant and his or her spouse/partner, where applicable, are assessable for means assessment purposes.

If a claimant is married, in a civil partnership or cohabiting, the Department will assess the couple's means when carrying out a means test for a social assistance payment. This is the case even if only one of the couple is actually claiming a payment. The purpose of this means assessment is to maintain the overarching policy of ensuring that social welfare expenditure is targeted to those who need it most.

The person concerned may have an entitlement to invalidity pension (IP) which is not a means tested payment. It is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and for no other reason and who satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

To qualify for IP a claimant must, inter-alia, have at least 260 (5 years) paid PRSI contributions since entering social insurance and 48 contributions paid or credited in the last or second last complete contribution year before the relevant date of their claim. Only PRSI classes A, E , H or S contributions are reckonable for IP purposes.

A claimant must be regarded as permanently incapable of work, which is defined as:

- incapacity for work of such a nature that the likelihood is that the claimant will be incapable of work for life


- an incapacity which has existed for 12 months prior to the date of claim, and where the Deciding Officer or an Appeals Officer is satisfied that the claimant is likely to be unable to work for 1 year from the date of claim.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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