Written answers

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Eligibility

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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129. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will agree to reinstate an invalidity pension to a person (details supplied) in view of the changed circumstance involved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [59412/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The eligibility criteria for Invalidity Pension (IP) do not permit people taking up employment. However there is a Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme (PCB) which can be used by individuals in receipt of IP who wish to enter the workforce for a period of time. The person concerned was advised of the availability of PCB but opted not to apply for it at that time.

The changes to regulations referenced by the Deputy, regarding scholarship awards for PHDs apply to claimants of the Disability Allowance (DA) scheme. New regulations, effective from 1st September 2020,  exclude scholarship awards for PhD students from the means test for DA. The new disregard apply to DA recipients and their spouse/partner who have been granted a stipend towards completing a PhD (Level 10 qualification). It is subject to an annual limit of €20,000 (i.e. if a recipient gets more than one bursary the combination cannot exceed €20,000) and is available for a maximum of four years.

These changes to DA do not impact on the eligibility criteria for IP.

The issue for the applicant at this time relates to the determination of the relevant date for the current IP application. Following a review of the IP application received from the person concerned on 06 October 2021 it was decided that as the medical condition is a recurrence of the condition which commenced in 2011, the relevant date can be taken as 2011. Therefore, she continues to meet the qualifying contribution criteria. 

IP has been awarded to her with effect from 23 September 2021.  Her first payment, including arrears due from 23 September 2021, will issue to her nominated bank account on 09 December 2021. The person concerned was notified of this decision on 30 November 2021.

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.


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