Written answers

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Payments Administration

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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563. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 866 and 867 of 3 November 2020, the details of the way in which the arrears sum was arrived at, for example, the dates of payments and so on; if consideration will be given to allowing the person to repay the amount at a lower rate of €30 a week from their social welfare payment in view of the financial hardship caused (details supplied). [36229/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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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.

Further to my previous reply in relation to this matter, PQ 32707/20 and PQ 32706/20, I can confirm that the person concerned was in receipt of CA in respect of her mother from 25 October 2018 to 22 April 2020.

It came to my Departments attention that the care recipient was residing in a Nursing Home on a permanent basis since 23 April 2019.

Upon review, a letter from the Nursing Home was received, confirming a long term residence admission date of 19 September 2019.  This was then taken into consideration by the Deciding Officer (DO) when reaching his decision on 16 April 2020.

Since January 2017, when a care recipient enters permanent residential care, CA can continue in payment to the carer for 12 weeks. As the care recipient of the person concerned was admitted to a Nursing Home on 19 September 2019, her entitlement to CA ceased on 18 December 2019.

Correspondence issued to the person concerned on 16 April 2020 advising that her payment was terminated with effect from 21 April 2020. It also advised the person concerned that she had no entitlement to CA payments during the period 19 December 2019 to 5 March 2020. It further advised that no overpayment was assessed after 9 March 2020, the date the person concerned notified my department.  As a result, it was determined that the person concerned had been overpaid €2,628.00 during this period. The person concerned was also notified of her right of review and appeal. A breakdown of the calculation of the debt was also enclosed.

The Department is obliged to seek recovery of debts owed to it as quickly as possible, having due regard to the circumstances of the debtor.   

Accordingly, my Department’s Debt Recovery Unit (DRU) wrote to the person concerned on 14 October 2020, informing her that my department proposed to recover this debt by deducting €30.15 per week, and that these deductions would begin on or after 2 November 2020

In the letter dated 14 October 2020 the person concerned was given the opportunity to provide any comments regarding the recovery of her debt. To date, no reply to this correspondence has been received by my Department but it will be re-issued and the matter will be progressed once a reply has been received. 

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.


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