Guide to the Functions & Records of the Department - Part 2

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Part 2. Summary of Scheme Guidelines
2.1 Publication of Guidelines under Section 16
2.2 Summary of Contents
2.3 How to access Guidelines
2.4 List of Guidelines

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Part 2. Scheme Guidelines - Summary of Section 16 Publication

2.1 Publication of Guidelines under Section 16

Under Section 16 of the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003, public bodies are required to publish information regarding the rules and practices used in making decisions on entitlement under relevant enactments or schemes. This Department has published a manual which sets out all the guidelines that operate in relation to the schemes and programmes it administers. This manual is entitled "Department of Social and Family Affairs - Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003 - Section 16 Reference Book" and can be accessed on the Internet at

2.2 Summary of Contents

The Section 16 Reference Book contains the rules, procedures, practices, interpretations and guidelines that are used by the Department in determining entitlement to the various schemes and services provided. For ease of reference, the expression 'Guidelines' is used throughout to refer to these rules, procedures, practices, guidelines and interpretations.

The Guidelines in the Reference Book are a consolidation of previous Guidelines which they supersede. Detailed administrative action to be followed in giving effect to the Guidelines (e.g. instructions to staff on the manner of completing forms etc.) is not included.

In the case of payment schemes, the Guidelines normally have main headings as follows: Description of Scheme; Information Leaflet; Legislation; Administration; Qualifying Conditions - summary and in detail; Claims; Investigation and Decision Procedure; Procedures following award; Review.

Payment rates for the individual schemes are not given within the Guidelines. Those rates can be obtained on the Department's Website via the Home Page.

There are over 130 sets of Guidelines on the provisions of a particular scheme or on cross-schemes provisions. All Guidelines are issued to staff as a guide only and do not purport to be legal interpretations.

2.3 How to access Guidelines

Because of their size - over 2,000 pages - and because they are subject to continuous change from day-to-day, the Guidelines have been published in electronic form only. All of the Guidelines can be found on the Department's Website on the Internet at

The Guidelines are also available in a Shared Drawer within the Department's computer system. A hardcopy of the Guidelines on any matter will be provided on request to any Social Welfare Local Office or the FOI Unit.

Arrangements have been made with Comhairle for information providers of social welfare services to access the Guidelines.

The Guidelines are updated on an ongoing basis in the light of new or amended provisions of the schemes and services. Staff have been directed to issue or cite the Guidelines in dealing with queries from members of the public where this would help the person to understand the position more fully.

2.4 List of Guidelines
  • Absence from the State
  • Adoptive Benefit
  • Appeal Submissions
  • Back To Education Programme
    - Education, Training and Development
    - Part-time Education Option
    - Back to Education Allowance Scheme
  • Back to Work Programmes
    - Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
    - Back to Work Allowance (Employees)
    - Very Long Term Unemployed (VLTU) Programme
  • Bereavement Grant
  • Blind Pension
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Carer's Benefit
  • Child Benefit
  • Claims and Late Claims
  • Client Identity Services - PPS Number Allocation Procedures
  • Cohabitation
  • Continued Child Payment
  • Control
    - Determining Control Savings
    - Control Structure
  • Credits Award
  • Credited Contributions for Public Servants
  • Customer Activation
  • DAO Bulletins
  • Data Protection
  • Debt Management - Recovery of Overpayments
  • Decision-Making
    - Decision Making and Natural Justice
    - Reasons for Decisions
  • Dependants
    - Increases for Child Dependants
    - Increases for Adult Dependants
  • DSS/( UK) Liaison
    - Address/Fax for Benefit Investigation Servives, Belfast
    - Requests for Information from DSS
  • Deserted Wife's Allowance
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit
  • Disability Allowance
  • Disability Benefit
  • Disability Benefit - Late Claims
  • Estate Cases
  • EU Regulations
  • Family Income Supplement
  • Farm Assist
  • Farm Means - Assessment of income from Farming
  • FOI
    - Request Processing
    - List of Departmental Officers
    - Non-personal Requests - Receipt and Liaison
  • Free Travel
  • Functions and Records
  • Habitual Residence Condition
  • Health and Safety Benefit
  • Homemakers
  • Household Benefits Package
  • Imprisonment
  • International Consultancy Services
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Investigation - Desk/Home Interviews
  • Island Allowance
  • Job Facilitation
  • Liability to Maintain Family
  • Living Alone Increase
  • Lone Parent's Allowance
  • Marriage and Child Counselling
  • Maternity Benefit
  • Means Assessment
    - List of Charitable bodies
    - Assessment of means
  • Medical Assessment
  • Medical Certifier's Guide
  • Medical Review
  • Money Advice and Budgeting (MABS)
  • National Fuel Scheme
  • Occupational Injuries Benefits
    - Death Benefit
    - Disablement Benefit
    - Injury Benefit
    - Late Claims for Injury Benefit
    - Medical Care
    - Unemployability Supplement
  • Old Age Contributory Pension
  • Old Age Non-Contributory Pension
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Orphan's Contributory Allowance
  • Orphan's Non-Contributory Pension
  • Overlapping Payments
  • Overpayment Recovery
  • Part-Time Job Incentive Scheme
  • Payment Methods - Payment-related issues
  • Pre-Retirement Allowance
  • Prisoner's Wife's Allowance
  • Prosecutions
    - Prosecution criteria
  • PRSI (Pay-Related Social Insurance)
    - PRSI Contributions and classes
    - PRSI/Crediting unpaid/late contributions
    - PRSI - Employers PRSI Exemption Scheme
    - PRSI For Self-employed
    - PRSI Inspections
    - PRSI/P60 Certificates
    - PRSI Refunds
    - PRSI Special Collection System
    - PRSI Voluntary Contributions
  • Rent Allowance
  • Respite Care Grant
  • Retirement Pension
  • Revised Decisions
  • Scope (Insurability of Employment)
  • Separate Payments
  • Signing Arrangements
  • Social Welfare Tribunal
  • Starting Temporary Earnings Programme (STEP)
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
    - Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
    - Diet Supplement
    - Exceptional Needs
    - Heating Supplement
    - Assessment of Means
    - Rent and Mortgage Interest Supplements
    - School Meals
    - Urgent Needs
  • Social Welfare Inspectors (SWIs)
    - SWI Attendance at Appeal Hearings
    - SWI/Code of Practice for Inspectors
    - SWI/Carer's Allowance
    - SWI/Disability Allowance
    - SWI/Family Income Supplement (FIS)
    - SWI/Free Schemes
    - SWI/Inspectors' Powers
    - SWI/Liability to Maintain Family
    - SWI/Old Age and Blind Non-Contributory Pensions
    - SWI/One-Parent Family Payment
    - SWI/Personal Retirement Savings Account
    - SWI/Widow/Widower & Orphans' Pensions
  • Trade Disputes
  • Treatment Benefit
  • UA/ UB: General Information
    - UA/UB Conditions
  • Unemployment Assistance (UA) Scheme
    - UA/Benefit and Privilege
    - UA/Means from insurable employment
  • Unemployment Benefit
  • VTOS (Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme)
  • Widow's/Widower's Contributory Pension
  • Widow's/Widower's Non-Contributory Pension
  • Widowed Parent Grant

Last modified:29/06/2010

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