Payment-related issues


Print page

GUIDELINE ON PAYMENT-RELATED ISSUES

This guideline applies to all payment issues for the following Offices and their related schemes:

Social Welfare Services Office, College Road, Sligo.
LoCall Number: 1890 500 000

  • Blind Pension
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit
  • Deserted Wife's Allowance
  • State Pension (Contributory)
  • State Pension (Non-Contributory)
  • Guardian's Payment (Contributory)
  • Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
  • Prisoner's Spouse's Allowance
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension
  • Household Benefit Package
  • Free Travel
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance

Social Welfare Services Office, Ballinalee Road, Longford
LoCall Number: 1890 927 770

  • Carer's Allowance
  • Carer's Benefit
  • Death Benefit under the Occupational Injury Scheme
  • Disability Allowance
  • Disablement Benefit
  • Family Income Supplement
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Rent Allowance De-Control of Rents
  • Incapacity Supplement

Social Welfare Services Office St. Oliver Plunkett Road, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
LoCall Number: 1890 400 400

  • Child Benefit
  • Treatment Benefit Dental and Optical Benefits

Department of Social Protection, McCarter’s Road, Ardarvan, Buncrana, Co Donegal.
LoCall Number: 1890 690 690

  • Maternity Benefit
  • Adoptive Benefit
  • Health and Safety Benefit

Department of Social Protection, Áras Mhic Dhiarmada, Store Street, Dublin 1.
Telephone 01 7043000 or LoCall 1890 928 400

  • Illness Benefit
  • Injury Benefit (Occupational Injury Benefit)
  • Partial Capacity Benefit

Social Welfare Services Office, Shannon Lodge, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.
Telephone 071-9672698   

  • Back-to-Work Allowance

All Social Welfare Intreo/Local Offices/SWA Offices:

  • Farm Assist
  • Jobseekers Benefit
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • One-Parent Family Payment 
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance

See also separate guidelines on Back-to-Work Enterprise Allowance and, Part-Time Job Incentive for details of payment issues relating to those schemes.

Legislation
The relevant legislative provisions are contained in:

Part 9 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 as amended

Chapter 2 of Part 7 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. No. 142 of 2007) as amended

Social Welfare (Consolidated Occupational Injuries) Regulations, 2007 (S.I No. 102 of 2007) as amended.

Part 5 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Supplementary Welfare Allowance) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. No. 412 of 2007) as amended

Index

1. Appointment of Agents

  • Introduction
  • Schemes where an Agent can be appointed
  • Temporary Agent
  • Permanent Agent: Nominated by Customer
  • Permanent Agent: Customer unable to manage their own Financial Affairs
    • Who can be appointed as an Agent?
    • Who cannot be appointed as an Agent?
    • Responsibilities and Obligations of an Agent
  • Permanent Agent: Appointment of Agent in other cases

2. Payment Methods

  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
  • Electronic Information Transfer (EIT)
  • Cheques
  • Separate Payments
  • Arrears Payments
  • Change of Address/Post Office/Method of Payment

3. Lost  / Stolen Payments

  • EFT Mispayments
  • Lost /Stolen Cheques
  • Lost/ Stolen EIT Social Services Card or Public Service Card
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance

4. Absences from the State / Hospital Stays / Imprisonment

  • Absence from the State
        Payments made outside the State
        Payments not made outside the State
        Temporary absence from the State
  • Hospital Stays
  • Imprisonment

5. Payments after Death

  • 6 Weeks Payment

6. Misappropriation

  • Sale/Exchange/Pawn
  • Penalty for Offence

1. APPOINTMENT OF AGENTS

Introduction
For the purposes of this guideline "Agent" means a person other than the person eligible to receive a payment who is appointed, either temporarily or on a long-term basis, to collect payments on behalf of a claimant.

This guideline sets out the arrangements that can be put in place for customers depending on their personal circumstances:

  • Where a Temporary Agent is needed for a short time (a maximum of 5 payments in 6 months)
  • Where an agent is nominated by the customer
  • Where a person is unable to manage their own financial affairs.

Schemes where an Agent can be appointed

  • Blind Pension
  • Carer’s Allowance (Certain restrictions apply - check with scheme area)
  • Death Benefit under the Occupational Injuries Scheme
  • Deserted Wife’s Allowance
  • Deserted Wife’s Benefit
  • Disability Allowance
  • Invalidity Pension
  • State Pension (Contributory)
  • State Pension (Non-Contributory)
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension

Temporary Agent
Where a person is unable to collect her/his payment for a short period of time, s/he may nominate another person to collect the payment at the Post Office on her/his behalf.    

Temporary Agents will only be appointed on completion of the application form by the DSP customer (TA1 Form).   The form is available at Post Offices.   The TA1 form, signed by the customer, confirms that the customer is unable to attend in person, and confirms that a named person (the Temporary Agent) can collect the payment on their behalf.

When collecting a payment, the Temporary Agent should present the completed TA1 form, along with their own photo ID and the customer’s Public Services Card or Social Services Card (Swipe Card).    

A Temporary Agent can only be appointed to collect a maximum of 5 payments in a 6 month period.   The 5 payments can be split over the six month period and the 5 payments are per scheme – i.e. each scheme can be paid to a Temporary agent for 5 payments.    The 5 payments can be made to different Temporary Agents (persons).   The 6 month period begins on the first use of the Temporary Agent facility for a scheme payment.

An Post Staff will advise Temporary Agents when collecting a second payment that this is a temporary arrangement and then reminded again on collection of a third payment.  At this stage (if not before) the Temporary Agent/customer will be given an application for Permanent Agency to be completed and returned to DSP.

An Post will refuse payments to Temporary Agents who attempt to collect a sixth payment, and will provide agent/customer with the application form for Permanent Agency if required.    Scheme areas will treat these applications as urgent.

A temporary agent cannot be appointed if a permanent agent has been appointed.     The customer may re-apply to DSP to appoint a new permanent agent or choose to change their payment method.

If for some reason a customer is unable to appoint a permanent agent, they should contact the scheme area to organise an alternative method of payment.  It is the customer’s responsibility to appoint a permanent agent or arrange an alternative payment method.

Permanent Agent: Nominated by Customer
Where a customer is unable to collect his/her payment at a post office, for example due to serious illness or loss of mobility, another person may be nominated to collect payment on behalf of the customer.  

Nominations for agents must be made in writing by the customer and require the consent of the Department. The customer may revoke the agency appointment by written notification to the Department.

An agency arrangement may be withdrawn at any time by the Department where it has reason to believe that the payment is not being used for the benefit of the customer, or where the obligations and responsibilities of the agent have not been fulfilled.   

It is also possible for the agent to be changed. Where a change of agent is required a new nomination must be made in writing by the customer and will require the consent of the Department.   An agent form should be completed for any change of agent.

As an alternative to appointing an agent for collection of payments at a Post Office, payment may be made directly to an account held singly or jointly by the customer in a financial institution.  

Permanent Agent: Customer unable to manage their own Financial Affairs
Where a customer is unable to manage their own financial affairs an agent may be appointed to collect the payment and act on behalf of the customer.  

The circumstances in which a person is deemed to be unable to manage his or her own financial affairs may include one or more of the following:

  • an inability to understand the basis of possible entitlements to benefit;
  • an inability to understand and complete the claim form;
  • an inability to understand and deal with correspondence and enquiries concerning the claim;
  • an inability to manage benefit payments received.

In this type of situation, a formal application must be made on behalf of the incapacitated person and documentary evidence provided.   This evidence may be in the form of medical evidence and/or a report from a Social Welfare Inspector of the Department on the circumstances of the case.

Where this type of agent is appointed the agent is responsible for ensuring that:

  • payment is used for the benefit of the claimant
  • any changes in the claimant's circumstances are reported to the Department as required under social welfare legislation e.g. increase in income/means, change in circumstances of any dependants for whom an increase in payment is being made.

In this type of situation, a formal application must be made on behalf of the incapacitated person and documentary evidence provided.   This evidence may be in the form of medical evidence and/or a report from a Social Welfare Inspector of the Department on the circumstances of the case.

Who can be appointed as an Agent?
Where a customer is unable to manage their own affairs and an agent is appointed, the agent must be over 18 years and be the customer’s:

  • spouse or civil partner
  • parent, step-parent or foster parent
  • child or step-child
  • brother or sister, step-brother or step-sister, half-brother or half-sister
  • son-in-law or daughter-in-law
  • aunt or uncle
  • niece or nephew
  • grandchild
  • grandparent

The following persons can also be appointed as an agent:

  • A person appointed to be a care representative of the customer under Section 21 of the Nursing Homes Support Scheme Act 2009.
  • A person (other than the Medical Practitioner who certified the customer to be unable to manage their own affairs) who appears to the Department to have a good and sufficient interest in the welfare of the customer.

Who cannot be appointed as an Agent?
A person cannot be appointed as an agent if they have been;

  • Adjudicated a bankrupt, unless the bankruptcy has been discharged or the adjudication annulled
  • Convicted of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty
  • Convicted of an offence against the person or property of the customer.

Responsibilities and Obligations of an Agent
Where a customer is unable to manage their own affairs and an agent is appointed, the agent shall have a duty of care to act in the best interests of the customer.  The agent is responsible for ensuring that:

  • he/she acts in a personal capacity and does not delegate responsibility to any other person
  • the payment is used for the benefit and best interests of the customer
  • monies are not spent on items or services that the customer has an entitlement to and are available and accessible
  • the balance of the payment is lodged to an interest-bearing account for the benefit of the customer
  • a record is kept of all sums received and all transactions made in relation to the payment
  • the records are made available if requested by the customer, the customer’s nearest relative or an officer of the Department. The nearest relative is defined as - a person over the age of 18 years belonging to one of the classes listed above (see “Who can be appointed as Agent”) who was caring for the customer immediately before the customer’s admission to a nursing home, hospital or care centre.
  • any changes in the claimant's circumstances are reported to the Department as required under social welfare legislation e.g. increase in income/means, change in circumstances of any dependants for whom an increase in payment is being made.

Permanent Agent: Appointment of Agent in Other Cases

Ward of Court or Power of Attorney
In the case of a ward of court or a person appointed under an enduring power of attorney, the Committee of the Ward or the Attorney will be appointed as agent for the customer.  Payments will be made directly to the Committee or to the Attorney by way of Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to a nominated bank account.

Nursing Home, Hospital or Care Centre
Where a customer becomes a long-stay patient in a residential home or hospital, the customer may nominate another person to collect their payment.    If no other person is available or willing to act as agent, a representative of the Nursing Home, Hospital or Care Centre may be nominated to act as agent.

In certain circumstances the HSE may apply to be appointed as agent.  In this instance the payment is made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to the HSE’s Patient’s Private Property Account.

These agency arrangements may be withdrawn at any time by the Department where it has reason to believe that the payment is not being used for the benefit of the claimant or where the obligations and responsibilities of the agent have not been fulfilled.   It is possible for this type of agent to be changed e.g. where there is a change in committee in a Ward of Court case or where a person moves from one residential home to another. 

2. PAYMENT METHODS

Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
EFT is a paperless money transmission system which enables the Department to transfer payments directly into a personal account at a Bank, Building Society, certain Credit Unions or Post Office (State Savings).    

Most schemes can be paid by EFT.   Check the guidelines of the particular scheme for more details.

Payment Frequency: Payments inside the State
EFT payments are generally paid weekly with the following exceptions:

Paid once per Calendar Month:

  • Child Benefit
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance
  • Household Benefits

Paid at various frequencies (Weekly, 4-weekly, once per Calendar Month):

  • Some Supplementary Welfare Allowance payments

Payment Frequency: Payments outside the State
Pensions paid by EFT to residents outside the State are paid every four weeks, one week in advance and three weeks in arrears.

Injury Benefit is paid weekly.

Electronic Information Transfer (EIT)

Payment can be received at Post Offices for most of the Department’s schemes.   There are a small number of schemes which do not make payments by EIT.

Schemes where payment is not normally available by EIT:

Maternity Benefit; Health & Safety Benefit, Adoptive Benefit, Illness Benefit, Partial Capacity Benefit, Injury Benefit, Disablement Benefit and Widowed Parent Grant.

Payments are made by means of Public Service Card (PSC) or Social Services Card(SSC). Customers presenting an SSC may also be asked to present photo ID. Any customer query regarding the rate of payments must be directed to the Department and not the Post Office.

Where a person is paid by EIT, s/he must attend the Post Office to collect the payment personally. For some schemes, an agent may be appointed to collect the payment - see "Appointment of Agents" in this guideline. EIT payments may only be collected for a number of days from their due date. The validity period varies depending on the scheme. After this time, the payments are returned to the Department. Where a payment is not collected on time and has been returned to the Department, the person must explain to the Department the reasons for non-collection of payment. A replacement payment is made to the person where due to illness or some other valid reason (e.g. a death in the family) s/he could not attend the Post Office. Supporting medical or other evidence may be requested by the Department.

An added feature of this payment method is that a person can also avail of a Household Budgeting facility. Household budgeting is a facility provided by An Post whereby persons being paid by EIT can make arrangements with An Post to pay a regular amount towards various household bills by direct deduction from their weekly payment.

Further information regarding Household Budgeting is available from:

Household Budget
An Post,
3D
GPO
FREEPOST
Dublin 1

FREEPHONE 1800 707172.

Household Budget

Cheques

Within the State
Payment of certain benefits can be made by cheque which can be cashed at post offices or lodged to an account in a financial institution. For most schemes, cheques are issued direct to the person's home address. Some Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) schemes may issue a cheque to an alternative address.

Outside the State
Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is now the only payment option available to customers living outside the State who qualify for pension for the first time provided that EFT payments can be made to the country of residence. EFT payments cannot be made to all countries. If payment by EFT is not possible, payment will be made by Cheque.

Cheques are valid for 6 months from their payment date. Where a cheque is not cashed within this period it should be returned to the Department with a note explaining why it was not cashed. Consideration will then be given to issuing a replacement cheque. Where the person was unable to cash the cheque due to serious illness (medical evidence may be requested), cheque mislaid or some other valid reason the Department will normally issue a replacement cheque.

Where a cheque has been accidentally destroyed the Department will normally issue a replacement once it is satisfied that the original cheque has not been cashed.

Where cheques remain uncashed following the death of a customer, outstanding payments will be made to the person's estate - see "Payments after Death" in this guideline.

JOBSEEKERS BENEFIT AND ALLOWANCE - PAYMENT METHODS

Jobseekers Benefit and Allowance are paid weekly in arrears.

In general the current position is that the majority of payments are made by EIT for collection at a post office.

In the case of persons who work on a casual basis payment is currently made by cheque for administrative reasons. Payment by EFT is expected to be made available on a phased basis, commencing in 2016.

SEPARATE PAYMENTS – ARREARS – CHANGE OF PAYMENT METHOD OR OTHER INFORMATION

Separate Payments
A proportion of some Social Welfare payments may be made to the spouse/partner of the claimant in certain circumstances. See 'Separate Payments' guideline for more details.

Arrears Payments
Where a customer commences to receive payment some time after entitlement begins, or the rate of payment is increased retrospectively, s/he may be entitled to arrears of payment.   Payment of arrears is made either by the selected ongoing payment method or by cheque.   Cheques are issued direct to the person's home address or, in the case of Maternity Benefit where payment is being made to the employer, to the place of employment. An arrears payment is generally issued within 3 weeks of the date of the decision on entitlement. However, this time span can be longer where the amount of any other social welfare payment has to be deducted from gross arrears due.

Change of address/Post Office/Method of Payment
Where a customer changes address and/or wishes to change the Post Office or Financial Institution where payment is made, s/he should notify the Department of the change in writing at the earliest possible date.
Failure to do so may result in a disruption of payment.

Where a person wishes to change method of payment, s/he should check with the Department as to what other payment methods are available.   Applications for changes to payment method should be made in writing, using the relevant application form as appropriate.

3. LOST/STOLEN PAYMENTS LOST/STOLEN PAYMENTS

EFT Mispayments
On rare occasions, EFT payments may not be credited to a customer's account in a designated financial institution for various reasons including the following:

Account Closed
Payments cannot be lodged to an account once it has been closed.  For this reason, a customer who receives payment by EFT should notify the Department in writing in advance of closing the account into which payment is made. Where such notification is not received, an interruption in payment to the customer inevitably occurs. The financial institution will return any unlodged payments to the Department. The Department will then establish the correct payment details with the customer.

Deceased Persons
EFT payments will be returned to the Department by the relevant financial institution if it becomes aware that a claimant has died and has received appropriate documentation (e.g. death certificate). Once the Department establishes the date of death, arrangements can then be made to finalise any outstanding payments or repayments due. In the event that payments are lodged to the account of a person after s/he has died, they must be refunded to the Department.

Incorrect Account Number
It occasionally happens that a customer quotes an incorrect account number or IBAN (International Bank Account Number) to the Department when s/he applies for payment by EFT.  In such instances, the financial institution will be unable to credit payments to the correct account. If the payment is returned to the Department, the customer will be contacted by the Department to establish the correct details.
If a customer or his/her next of kin becomes aware that a payment has not been credited to his/her account, s/he should contact the Department immediately.

Lost/stolen cheques
Where a person reports that

(a) a cheque has not been received, or

(b) a cheque was received and subsequently lost, or

(c) a cheque was received and subsequently stolen

An indemnity form is issued in which the person states that the cheque was not cashed by him/her and, that if the original cheque comes into his/her possession at any stage, s/he will return it to the Department.   A replacement cheque will issue as soon as it is confirmed that the original cheque has not been cashed.

Where a lost/stolen cheque is cashed:
Where a cheque which has been reported lost/stolen is cashed, the Department will have to satisfy itself that the payee did not receive the benefit of that cheque before any consideration can be given to issuing a replacement cheque.  This may involve a comparison of the signature on the cashed cheque with that of the payee. In addition, a Social Welfare Inspector/Designated person and/or the Gardaí may be asked to investigate the matter.

Where the Department is unable to establish that the payee did not receive the benefit of the original cheque, a replacement cheque will not be issued.

Where the Department establishes that the payee did not receive the benefit of the original cheque, a replacement cheque will be issued.

Lost/Stolen EIT Social Services card or Public Service Card
Where a person who is being paid by EIT loses his/her Social Services Card or the card is stolen, an application for a replacement card should be immediately sent to the Department.  

Staff should satisfy themselves as to the veracity of the customer’s report of the missing card. Where staff are satisfied that the card has been genuinely lost or stolen a new card may be ordered.  

Stolen cards should be reported to CIS Control by staff.

If a Public Services Card (PSC) from the Department is lost or stolen it should be reported to the PSC Helpdesk at 1890 837000.   The Department will then cancel the original card and a replacement card will be issued immediately, if appropriate.

Supplementary Welfare Allowance
Where a person is without payment due to loss or theft of cheque, or payment card s/he may apply for Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) while awaiting a replacement payment.   If SWA is claimed, any such amount paid will be recouped by the Department from any replacement payment due.

4. ABSENCE FROM THE STATE/HOSPITAL STAYS/IMPRISONMENT.

Absence from the State

Payments Made Outside the State
Certain schemes can issue payment to customers living outside the State.

  • Invalidity Pension
  • Guardian's Payment (Contributory)
  • Widow’s, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension

Payment will be made by EFT where it is available as a payment option. EFT is not available to all countries. If EFT is not available, payment will be made by cheque.

Short absences from the State for a few weeks need not be notified to the Department for the above schemes

Payments, where permitted, can be made outside the state for the following schemes by cheque only:

  • Illness Benefit (in countries governed by EU Regulations)
  • Injury Benefit (in countries governed by EU Regulations)
  • Disablement Benefit

More information on entitlement to payment outside the state for the above schemes can be found in each scheme’s guidelines.

If a customer intends moving from Ireland to another country, s/he should contact the Department to make arrangements for the transfer of payments (where permitted) and to provide information regarding payment details.

Where payment for one of the above-named schemes is already made by way of EFT into an account in the State, a person leaving the country on a permanent or semi-permanent basis may continue to have payment made in this manner or opt to have payment made to a financial institution outside the country, provided it is available. S/he MUST always notify the Department of a permanent or semi-permanent absence from the State and advise of a contact address abroad.

Payments Not Made outside the State
The following schemes do not issue payments to customers living outside the State:

  • Adoptive Parent Benefit **
  • Blind Pension **
  • Carer's Allowance **
  • Carer's Benefit **
  • Child Benefit **
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance
  • Disability Allowance **
  • Domiciliary Care Allowance **
  • Family Income Supplement **
  • Farm Assist
  • Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
  • Health and Safety Benefit **
  • Household Benefits
  • Incapacity Supplement **
  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Jobseekers Benefit **
  • Maternity Benefit **
  • One-Parent Family Payment **
  • Pre-Retirement Allowance
  • Prisoner's Wife's Allowance
  • Rent Allowance
  • State Pension (Non-Contributory) **
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Widow's, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension

Exceptions
The schemes marked ** above may allow for payment outside the State in specific circumstances (for example, under EU regulations).    Refer to the “Absence from the State” guideline or the scheme guideline for more information.

Persons in receipt of any of these payments MUST notify the Department if leaving the State, even for a short absence. Payment may be made in certain circumstances in respect of short absences from the State - see "temporary absences from the State" below.

The Department should also be notified if a person for whom an increase in payment is being made (Qualified Adult or Qualified Child/ren) leaves the State.
Payments may be reduced by the amount of such increase(s).

When the person returns to the State s/he should notify the Department accordingly. Depending on the length of the absence, s/he may have to re-apply for whatever payment is appropriate or the original payment may be restored.   In the case of payment by EIT the original Public Service Card or SSC card may be used if the payment has been reinstated by the Department.

Temporary Absence from the State (up to 13 weeks)
This section applies to the following payments 

  • State Pension (Non-Contributory)
  • Blind Pension

 This section also applies where an increase is paid in respect of a spouse/partner.   Payments may be reduced where the spouse/partner is outside the State for temporary absences and repayment made subsequently as outlined below.

Where a customer who is in receipt of one of the above payments returns to the State after being absent for a period of up to 13 weeks in a year, s/he may re-apply for payment of pension. Payment for the period of absence is normally allowed on return home. The customer must certify that:

  • s/he did not claim a payment from the authorities in the other country of residence and/or
  • s/he was not working while abroad and
  • all the other qualifying conditions for payment, particularly those relating to the means test conditions, were satisfied during the period of absence from the State.

Where the absence abroad lasted more than 13 weeks, payment of pension would not generally be made unless the customer can show that the absence was unavoidably prolonged due to illness or had travelled abroad to receive medical treatment which would not be available in the State.   Up to 13 weeks' payment may be made depending on the circumstances of each case.

Payment will not be made for repeated absences from the State.

Temporary Absence from State (2-3 Weeks)
This section applies to the following payments;

  • Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit and Domiciliary Care Allowance (provided full-time care is provided for the care recipient, see separate guidelines on Carer’s Allowance, Carer's Benefit  and Domiciliary Care Allowance for more detail).
  • Deserted Wife's Benefit or Allowance
  • Disability allowance
  • One-Parent-Family Payment
  • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Non-Contributory) Pension

This section also applies where an increase is paid in respect of a spouse/partner (Disability Allowance only). Payments may be reduced where the spouse/partner is outside the State for temporary absences. However, repayment may be made subsequently as outlined below.

A person in receipt of any of these payments may receive payment where absent from the State for a maximum of 3 weeks while on holiday, attending a funeral, visiting a sick relative etc. The Department must be notified in advance of the date of departure. Payments by EIT or EFT will be stopped.

When the person returns to the State within the 3 week period, the Department should be notified of the return. Payment will be restored and any arrears paid provided that the qualifying conditions for payment were fulfilled during the period of the absence.

Where a person is absent from the State on more than one occasion during the year, payment will be reinstated from date of re-application only. In general, no arrears are paid in such circumstances.

This section applies to the following payments;

  • Illness Benefit
  • Injury Benefit

Illness Benefit and Injury Benefit customers, who wish to go to a non-EEA country for health reasons, may be entitled to payment for the duration of their absence on their return to the State.   Each case is treated on its own merits and subject to certain conditions.  The customer must notify the Department in advance of travel.  See separate guidelines on Illness Benefit and OIB Injury Benefit for more information.

This section applies to the following payments;

  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Jobseekers Benefit

See separate guidelines on Jobseekers Benefit and Jobseekers Allowance for details of the circumstances in which payment may be made while absent from the State.

Hospital Stays
In some instances where a person is hospitalised, the Department must be notified accordingly.   

Where appropriate, a temporary or permanent agent may be appointed.   See the section on Agents in this guideline.    If an Agent cannot be appointed, contact the Department in order to make alternative payment arrangements.

Generally where a hospital stay is less than 13 weeks, additional benefits (e.g. Fuel Allowance and Living Alone Increase) may continue in payment.

On entry to a nursing home, a customer loses entitlement to Household Benefits from the end of the billing period in which they entered the nursing home. If a customer returns home and re-applies within 6 months of payments ceasing, the benefit may be backdated to the date that the schemes were stopped. If a customer returns home and re-applies more than 6 months after payments ceased, schemes may be backdated to the date they returned home or for up to 6 months, whichever is the shorter.

Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit and Domiciliary Care Allowance
Where a person, who is receiving full-time care and attention from a person in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance, is hospitalised on a temporary basis, the Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance may remain in payment for a period of up to 13 weeks in anticipation of the carer resuming full-time care duties.

Imprisonment
A person is no longer entitled to payment if sentenced to a term of imprisonment or detention in legal custody.  Similarly, where a person is getting an increase for a spouse or partner who is sentenced to a term of imprisonment or detention in legal custody, such increase in payment is no longer due. The Department should be notified as soon as sentencing has taken place in order that an overpayment will not arise.

Upon release, the person should make a fresh application for personal payment or for an increase in respect of spouse/partner as appropriate. This will be processed in the normal manner.

There are some exceptions to the disqualification from payment on imprisonment etc. Where a person in prison or in detention in legal custody was in receipt of an increase in respect of a spouse/partner and/or an increase in respect of qualified child/ren, such increases may continue to be made to the spouse/partner or to some other person appointed by the Department to receive the payment for the benefit of the dependants.   This applies where the increases are being made as part of any of the following payments;

      • Deserted Wife's Benefit
      • Illness Benefit
      • Injury Benefit
      • Partial Capacity Benefit
      • Invalidity Pension
      • Death Benefit under the Occupational Injury Scheme
      • State Pension (Contributory)
      • One-Parent-Family Payment
      • Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension

Where the spouse/partner is imprisoned and there are child dependants, there may be an entitlement to One-Parent-Family Payment.   See separate guideline on One-Parent-Family Payments.

5. PAYMENTS AFTER DEATH

If a claimant or any of his/her dependants die, the next-of-kin should notify the Department as soon as possible. This will prevent the possibility of excess payments being made.
There are two situations in which payments may be made to the next of kin after the death of a person i.e.

  • where there are uncollected post office payments at date of death

            and/or

  • where there is an entitlement to six weeks' payment after death (continued payment).

Uncollected post office payments at date of death.

Payment of any amount due at date of death is made as follows:

  • Where a person dies leaving a will, any uncollected payments due may be paid to or among such persons appearing to be beneficially entitled under the will of the deceased as the Department thinks proper to the exclusion of all others. In such circumstances any payment due would be paid to the Executor/Executrix of the deceased's estate.

OR

  • Where a person dies without making a will, any arrears due may be paid to whoever appears to be beneficially entitled. This generally means that the arrears are paid to whoever has discharged the funeral expenses. Proof of payment of funeral expenses would be required (e.g. a copy of the funeral bill).

 

6 Weeks' payment after death (continued payment)
Where a person in receipt of a payment dies, the payment may continue for a period of 6 weeks after death in certain circumstances. The same applies where a person for whom an increase in payment is being made, dies (e.g. a spouse/partner/ child).

PAYMENT FOR SIX WEEKS AFTER DEATH ARRANGEMENTS
Section 248 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 as amended

1. Where the deceased person was getting any of the following payments, payment after death should be paid as outlined below

  • BLIND PENSION
  • CARER'S ALLOWANCE
  • CARER'S BENEFIT
  • DEATH BENEFIT UNDER THE OCCUPATIONAL INJURY SCHEME
  • DISABILITY ALLOWANCE
  • FARM ASSIST
  • ILLNESS BENEFIT
  • INCAPACITY SUPPLEMENT
  • INJURY BENEFIT
  • INVALIDITY PENSION
  • JOBSEEKERS ALLOWANCE
  • JOBSEEKERS BENEFIT
  • ONE PARENT FAMILY PAYMENT
  • PRE-RETIREMENT ALLOWANCE
  • STATE PENSION (CONTRIBUTORY)
  • STATE PENSION (NON-CONTRIBUTORY)
  • SUPPLEMENTARY WELFARE ALLOWANCE

 

2. Entitlement of the surviving spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of a person who was in receipt of any of the above mentioned payments

a) Entitlement of a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant in respect of whom the deceased person was getting an increase in payment.

The surviving spouse/partner is entitled to 6 weeks' payment of the deceased person's pension/benefit/allowance including an increase for the spouse/partner. The spouse/partner should contact the Department before collecting any payments. The spouse or civil partner should apply to the Department for a Widow’s, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension which, if awarded, would be payable from week 7.

b) Entitlement of a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant who is getting any of the payments listed at 1 above in his/her own right and the deceased spouse, civil partner or cohabitant was in receipt of any of the payments listed at 1 above.

6 weeks payment of the deceased person's pension/benefit or allowance payable at the personal rate plus the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant’s own pension/benefit or allowance.The spouse/partner should contact the Department before collecting any payments other than their own payment.

From week 7 the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant will continue to receive his/her own payment.   Alternatively, the spouse or civil partner may be entitled to a Widow’s, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension at a higher rate.    S/he should apply to the Department.

3. Where an increase was paid in respect of a Qualified Child with any of the payments listed at 1 and the child is now deceased.

Also applies to recipients of Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension

The parent/guardian of the deceased child who was in receipt of the increase will continue to receive payment for a period of 6 weeks following the child's death.

4. Where a person is in receipt of one‑parent family payment by virtue of one qualified child and that child dies

Payment of the One Parent Family Payment plus the increase for the qualified child will continue for a period of 6 weeks after the date of death of the child.

5. Where the deceased person was a Qualified Adult on the pension/benefit/allowance of a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant

Payment will continue at the current rate (including the increase for the deceased qualified adult) for a period of 6 weeks following the death of the qualified adult, provided the surviving spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is in receipt of one of the payments listed at 1 above.

From week 7, the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant will receive his/her pension, benefit or allowance at the single (personal) rate of payment.

Alternatively, a spouse or civil partner may be eligible for a Widow’s, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension at a higher rate.

6. Where a Carer was getting a Carer's Allowance or Carer's Benefit for taking care of a person/s (care recipient not a spouse or partner) and the care recipient is now deceased

Payment of the Carer's Benefit or Carer's Allowance continues to be made for a period of 6 weeks after the date of death of the care recipient.

Note: From January 2016, payment will continue to be made for a period of 12 weeks after the date of death of the care recipient.

7. Where Child Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allowance was payable in respect of a child who is now deceased

a) The entitlement of the parent/guardian to Child Benefit and Domiciliary Care Allowance ceases from the end of the month in which the child dies. No after-death payment is made.

6. MISAPPROPRIATION

Sale/Exchange/Pawn

It is an offence to buy, exchange or take into pawn any document under which a person is entitled to receive any social welfare payment e.g., cheques, card etc. Any such transfer of ownership of a document whether by sale, exchange or mortgage is null and void.

A person who has received any document as above must give the document on demand to a Social Welfare Inspector of the Department or to the owner of the document or agent of the owner.

It is an offence for a person to fail to do so.

Penalty for Offences.
Except where otherwise provided for, a person guilty of an offence under this Act is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €1,500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to both, or

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €13,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years, or to both.

Last modified:13/11/2015
 

 Application Forms

 
 

 Downloads