Absence from the State


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Table of Contents:

1. General

  1. 1.1 Legislation

2. Social Insurance Payments

  1. 2.1 Disqualifications
    1. Personal Rate
    2. Increase for a Qualified Adult
    3. Increase for a Qualified Child
  2. 2.2 Schemes that have no exceptions
  3. 2.3 Exceptions from Disqualifications
    1. Schemes wholly exempt
    2. Schemes with limited exemptions
      1. Illness Benefit
      2. Disablement Benefit
      3. Occupational Injury Benefit
      4. Maternity Benefit
      5. Jobseeker's Benefit

3. Social Assistance Payments

  1. 3.1 Disqualifications
    1. Personal Rate
    2. Increase for a Qualified Adult
    3. Increase for a Qualified Child
  2. 3.2 Disqualification on basis of residence abroad
  3. 3.3 Disqualification on basis of absence from the State
  4. 3.4 Exceptions Allowed
    1. Child Benefit
    2. Disability Allowance
    3. State Pension (Non Contributory) or Blind Pension
    4. One-Parent Family Payment
    5. Pre-Retirement Allowance
    6. Jobseeker's allowance
    7. Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Non-Contributory Pension

1. General

This guideline deals specifically with questions of entitlement.

Please refer to the 'Payment Related Issues' guideline for details regarding payment methods while absent and obligations of claimants to notify absence.

1.1 Legislation

The main provisions which refer to entitlement while absent from the State are:

Section 249 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended), and Section 2(3) of the same Act regarding residence of a qualified child.

Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations S.I. 142 of 2007 (as amended)

However, absence from the State is also subject to reciprocal arrangements this Department has with other States and to EU legislation. The impact of these agreements and of EU legislation on each scheme is dealt with in the individual guidelines. In general whichever legislation is more favourable to the individual applies.


2. Social Insurance Payments

2.1 Disqualifications

Personal Rate

A person is disqualified from receiving any social insurance payment (including an increase) while he or she is absent from the State, except as provided below.

Increase for a Qualified Adult

An increase in respect of a spouse civil partner or cohabitant is normally not payable during any period during which he or she is absent from the State.

Increase for a Qualified Child

The definition of a qualified child includes the condition that he or she is "ordinarily resident in the State".

2.2 Schemes that have no exceptions

  • Adoptive Benefit
  • Health and Safety Benefit
  • Treatment Benefit

2.3 Exceptions from Disqualification

Regulations specify the following categories as exempted from disqualification -

Schemes wholly exempt

The following schemes, mainly contributory pensions and long-term benefits are all payable while the recipient is absent from the State.

  • Death Benefits under the Occupational Injury Benefit Scheme, (i.e. Widow's/ Widower's/Surviving Civil Partner's or Guardian's Payments)
  • Bereavement Grant
  • Disablement Benefit (basic rate)
  • Invalidity Pension,
  • State Pension (Contributory),
  • Guardian's Payment (Contributory),
  • State Pension (Transition),
  • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory Pension,

The Department may however insist on the production of suitable evidence to show that the relevant conditions for each particular scheme continue to be fulfilled (e.g. retirement or incapacity).

Increases may also continue to be paid where it is the qualified adult or child who is absent from the State. The normal conditions of dependency etc. must, however, continue to be fulfilled.

Schemes with limited exemptions

The following schemes (mostly Short term benefits) allow for payment abroad or in respect of a period abroad in certain limited situations.

  • Deserted Wife's Benefit ( see below)
  • Illness Benefit,
  • Disablement Benefit (increases)
  • Occupational Injury Benefit,
  • Maternity Benefit,
  • Jobseeker's Benefit.

Where a person who is absent from the State, is entitled to a payment under one of the above schemes in respect of a period spent in the State, such payment may be suspended until he or she returns or alternatively may be paid to some other person nominated by him or her. Maternity Benefit cannot be paid to a nominated person in this regard.

Where the Qualified Adult is absent from the State and the beneficiary is in the State, the qualified adult increase may continue to be paid for three months, or may be extended to twelve months by the Minister (subject to the normal conditions of dependency, etc.).

Where one of the following exemptions applies an increase in respect of a Qualified Adult may also be paid.

Personal rates and increases may be exempted from disqualification in the following circumstances only -

Deserted Wife's Benefit (DWB) ( see below)

Reasonable absences i.e. up to a maximum of 3 weeks outside the State for the purposes of holidays, attending a funeral etc. are allowed.

Deserted Wife's Benefit (DWB)/Deserted Wife's Allowance (DWA) & Prisoner's Wife's Allowance (PWA)

Where a person is disqualified for receipt of DWB/DWA/PWA as she is resident outside the State and but for that disqualification, she would be entitled to DWB/DWA/PWA, she will again become entitled to DWB/DWA/PWA when she returns to live in Ireland provided she has not been absent from the State for a period in excess of 12 months. [section 178 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 refers].

Please note that no new entrants are being taken for the following schemes:

  • Deserted Wife's Benefit;
  • Deserted Wife's Allowance and
  • Prisoner's Wife Allowance

The three schemes above have been subsumed into the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) Scheme.

Illness Benefit (IB)
  • Where a person receiving IB goes abroad to receive approved medical treatment for their incapacity. The treatment must relate to an illness incurred before going abroad. The Department must be notified in advance of departure.
  • Persons who are employed abroad and continue to be insured under the Social Welfare Acts may be paid IB when ill;
  • A person may be paid IB for up to 4 weeks while on holiday in an EEA Member State.
  • (See also separate guideline on ILLNESS BENEFIT regarding entitlement under EU legislation, for frontier workers, transport workers who become ill while abroad, people who are in receipt of Irish Jobseeker's Benefit abroad and get ill, or people in receipt of Illness Benefit who transfer residence to another EEA Member State, etc.)
Disablement Benefit

The basic rate of Disablement Benefit is payable as long as the conditions are fulfilled.

  • An increase in respect of constant attendance is payable with the disablement benefit, for up to six months.
  • Incapacity Supplement is payable where the absence is for medical treatment (as in the case of IB above) or where a constant attendance allowance is also payable. In such cases any increase due in respect of a qualified child is also payable while absent.
Occupational Injury Benefit (OIB)
  • Where a person receiving OIB goes abroad to receive approved medical treatment for their incapacity; (The treatment must relate to an illness incurred before going abroad).
Maternity Benefit (MAT)
  • Maternity Benefit Payments can be made in other EU Member States in accordance with Council Regulation (EC) NO 883/04, Articles 19-21. An EU citizen can get Maternity Benefit for any period of maternity leave spent in another EU country. A non-EU citizen can only get Maternity Benefit for any period of maternity leave spent in the Republic of Ireland.
  • Maternity Benefit is only payable outside State where the absence is temporary and for the specific purpose of receiving approved medical treatment or where the person is a Posted Worker. Section 217(c) of the Social Welfare Regs 2007 refers.
Jobseeker's Benefit (JB)
  • A person may continue to receive Jobseeker's Benefit while representing Ireland in an amateur capacity at an international sporting event. Also an increase of JB in respect of a qualified adult will continue to be paid while such qualified adult is absent from the State in these circumstances. Written confirmation should be obtained from the appropriate governing sporting body of the period and event involved. (See JB/Jobseeker's Benefit for further detail.)
  • A person in receipt of Jobseeker's Benefit ( JB) may go on holiday (up to two weeks in any calendar year). Also an increase of JB in respect of a qualified adult will continue to be paid while such qualified adult is absent from the State in these circumstances. ( See JB/Jobseeker's Benefit for further detail.)
  • A person may continue to receive JB during such period as the Minister may allow, having regard to the circumstances of the case, if the absence is temporary and due to force majeure.

3. SOCIAL ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS

3.1 Disqualifications

Personal Rate

A person may be disqualified from receiving any social assistance payment (including an increase) while he or she is either resident abroad or absent from the State, as detailed below.

Where the disqualification is not applied, payment cannot be made during the person's absence (except in the case of recipients of State Pension (non-contributory) or Blind Pension living in Northern Ireland) but may be paid, depending on the circumstances of the case, on the person's return to the State.

Increase for a Qualified Adult

Similarly an increase in respect of a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is normally not payable during any period during which he or she is absent from the State

Increase for a Qualified Child

The definition of a qualified child includes the condition that he or she is "ordinarily resident in the State".

3.2 Disqualification on basis of residence abroad

Residence, whether temporary or permanent, outside the State is a disqualification in the following schemes. No exceptions are provided for, and therefore payment cannot be allowed:

  • Deserted Wife's Allowance
  • Guardian's Payment (non-contributory)
  • Pre-Retirement Allowance
  • Prisoners Wife's Allowance
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance

Schemes where limited exceptions from disqualification may be allowed (as described below) are:

  • Carer's Allowance
  • Carer's Benefit
  • Child Benefit
  • Disability Allowance
  • Family Income Supplement
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Jobseeker's Allowance
  • Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Non-contributory Pension

3.3 Disqualification on basis of absence from the State

Absence from the State (subject to the exceptions described below) is a disqualification for

  • Blind pension.
  • State Pension (Non-Contributory).

3.4 Exceptions allowed

Carer's Allowance

Carer's Allowance may be paid for up to 3 weeks if the recipient is abroad on a respite break. In such cases the payment book need not be returned to the Department but may be retained and the payment orders cashed on return.

Carer's Allowance may also be paid where the carer accompanies the cared-for person abroad for approved medical treatment for his/her existing incapacity. The Department must be notified in advance of departure.

Carer's Benefit

Carer's Benefit may be paid in certain circumstances for periods during which the Carer is temporarily outside the state. Carer's Benefit may be paid for up to 3 weeks if the recipient is abroad on a respite break.
Carer's Benefit may also be paid where the carer accompanies the care recipient abroad for approved medical treatment for his/her existing incapacity. The Department must be notified in advance of departure.

Child Benefit

The child must be ordinarily resident in the State. However, this requirement is deemed to be satisfied in cases of:

  • members of the Irish Defence Forces or the Irish Civil Service serving abroad,
  • volunteer development workers, or
  • persons temporarily employed abroad by an Irish employer and paying Irish social insurance contributions.
Disability Allowance

Disability Allowance is not payable for any period in respect of which the claimant is resident away from the State, except where the person is pursuing approved second or third level courses of education outside the State under the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) Scheme (see Back to Education Allowance Second and Third Level Options), or while receiving medical treatment which is subject to certain conditions. The Department must be notified in advance of the intention to leave the State.

Family Income Supplement (FIS)

If a person is working in employment in this State and fulfils the conditions for receipt of FIS, payment of FIS is made in accordance with EC legislation when the person is resident outside the State.

State Pension (Non-Contributory) or Blind Pension

Where a person in receipt of State Pension (Non-Contributory) or Blind Pension takes up residence in Northern Ireland, the pension is payable until the person becomes entitled to an equivalent payment from Northern Ireland or for a period of 5 years whichever is the shorter.

Also, where a pensioner is on holiday abroad, payment for a period up to 13 weeks is normally allowed on his or her return. However payment will not be allowed for repeated visits of this nature.

Where a pensioner's return is prevented by circumstances outside his or her control (e.g. because of ill health) payment may also be allowed where suitable evidence is provided. Evidence will be required to show that the person continued to be entitled to the pension, and was not working or claiming payment from the social welfare authorities abroad.

One-Parent Family Payment

One-Parent Family Payment is not payable to anyone residing outside the State. A person may however have reasonable absences up to a maximum of 3 weeks outside the State for the purposes of holidays, attending a funeral, etc. and receive payment. The Department must be notified in advance of the intention to leave the State and the reason for the absence.

Pre-Retirement Allowance

Pre-Retirement Allowance may be paid for up to 2 weeks if the recipient is on holiday abroad. In such cases the payment book need not be returned to the Department, but may be retained and the payment orders cashed on return.

If a person goes on holiday for more than 2 weeks s/he must return his/her book in advance of the holiday. The book will be re-issued on the person's return and orders will be included for payment of 2 weeks holidays.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Jobseeker's Allowance may be paid for up to 2 weeks on return from a holiday abroad, provided the person notified the Local Office in advance of the holiday. Similarly Jobseeker's Allowance can be paid on return following participation at an international amateur sporting event under the same conditions as are applied in the case of Jobseeker's Benefit claims (see above).

Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Non-Contributory Pensions

Payment is allowed for absence up to a maximum of 13 weeks in a calendar year. Payment is subject to the beneficiary not having claimed any social welfare payment abroad, and having continued to fulfil the conditions as to means etc.

Last modified:18/07/2012
 

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