Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Code

Photo of Seán CanneySeán Canney (Galway East, Independent)
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439. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the criteria in cases in which social welfare income including pension income is assessed against carers in relation to the carer’s allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44605/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Department operates a range of means-tested social assistance payments, including Carer's Allowance. Social welfare legislation provides that the means test takes account of the income and assets of the person (and spouse / partner, if applicable) applying for the relevant scheme. Income and assets include income from employment, self-employment, occupational pensions, maintenance payments as well as property owned (other than the family home) and capital such as savings, shares and other investments.

The means test for Carer's Allowance has been eased significantly over the years and is now the most generous in the social welfare system. Uniquely in the system, an income disregard of €332.50 per week or €665 for a couple applies to Carer's Allowance. In line with most social assistance payments, deductions permitted for Carer's Allowance include PRSI, union dues and superannuation (pension contributions) and income from social welfare payments, including pensions, is not assessed as part of the means test. In addition, for Carer's Allowance, social welfare payments from another state up to the equivalent of the maximum rate of State Contributory Pension are also disregarded in the means test, and the general income disregard of €332.50 is applied to any excess.

Those in receipt of certain social welfare payments, including pensions, who are providing full-time care can retain their main payment and, depending on their means, receive Carer’s Allowance at a maximum half-rate. These arrangements apply to most weekly social welfare payments and to people in receipt of qualified adult allowances.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.


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