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INCREASE FOR A QUALIFIED ADULT

Case No.

  1. Assessing Capital for qualified adult purposes
  2. IQA for spouse with income from property
  3. Income assessment of second property owned by claimant's spouse - is increase for a qualified adult (IQA) payable?
  4. Income Assessment - IQA on JA - Rental Income
  5. Joint Holding and IQA
  6. Partner in receipt of maintenance
  7. IQA for separated spouse who is not cohabiting
  8. IQA for divorced spouse
  9. FIS and IQA overlap
  10. No entitlement to IQA where spouse is in receipt of Blind Pension
  11. Spouse on FAS training course
  12. Opting to become a qualified adult
  13. IQA and redundancy payments disqualification
  14. Increase for a qualified adult less than 18 years of age

(IQA) FOR NON EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA (EEA) CUSTOMERS ON JOBSEEKER'S BENEFIT OR ALLOWANCE

Case No.

  1. Payment of an Increase for a Qualified Adult for a non-EEA spouse of an Irish/EEA National
  2. Payment of IQA for a Non-EEA partner (Cohabitation case)
  3. Payment of an IQA for a Non-EEA partner with restricted visa (Cohabitation case)

INCREASE FOR A QUALIFIED CHILD

Case No.

  1. Backdating Increase for Qualified Child
  2. Rate of IQC where claimant pays maintenance
  3. Full IQC payable to separated spouse who contributes substantially towards cost of maintenance of children
  4. Rate of IQC where claimant receives maintenance from separated spouse
  5. Payment of IQC in shared custody cases
  6. Rate of IQC payable to divorced claimant where ex-spouse on FIS
  7. Payment of IQC in respect of an orphan
  8. Repeat Leaving Cert student and IQC
  9. IQC - Reaching 22 years during academic year
  10. IQC for student nurse
  11. IQC payable with One-Parent Family Payment and Blind Pension

JOBSEEKER'S BENEFIT/JOBSEEKER'S ALLOWANCE

Substantial Loss of Employment

Case No.

  1. Substantial Loss Test
  2. Substantial Loss of employment -normal level of employment
  3. Substantial Loss - extra work during re-qualification period
  4. Substantial Loss Rule and unrepresentative periods of employment
  5. Substantial Loss -short period of part time work after working full-time
  6. Substantial Loss - part-timers who work Week-On/Week-Off
  7. Substantial Loss - Intensive Shifts
  8. Substantial Loss Rule where there is a break in part time working
  9. Substantial Loss Rule after Community Employment
  10. Part-time Summer work and Substantial Loss Rule

JB - Casual Contracts

Case No.

  1. Casual contracts with the HSE
  2. Casuals - Assurance of being re-employed
  3. Casuals - JA 'saver clause'

JB -Systematic Short-time

Case No.

  1. SST - Meaning of 'systematic'
  2. SST - Meaning of 'for the time being'
  3. SST - One worker on SST

JB - Subsidiary Employment

Case No.

  1. JB for person with subsidiary self employment
  2. Entitlement to JB when subsidiary employment is farming

JB - Redundancy

Case No.

  1. Redundancy - JB
  2. Request to backdate JB
  3. Redundancy Payment - Does a disqualification apply to Jobseeker's Allowance?

JB - Accrued Holiday Pay

Case No.

  1. Accrued holiday pay - JB

JB - Deliberate failure to exhaust

Case No.

  1. Deliberate failure to exhaust JB

JA - Assessment of Means

Case No.

  1. Assessment of capital where person on JA is changing residence
  2. Travel expenses of working spouse
  3. No means disregard in respect of maintenance payments
  4. Means disregard in respect of partner making maintenance payments
  5. Means assessment where maintenance payments not received
  6. Means of JA claimant where spouse is studying nursing
  7. Means from land let under afforestation agreements
  8. Assessment of JA claimant's earnings from Sunday employment

Self Employment

Case No.

  1. C45 worker and entitlement to JB/JA
  2. Expenses related to self-employment

Board and Lodging

Case No.

  1. Foster Child not to be assessed with means from Board and Lodging
  2. Assessment of Benefit and Privilege

Students

Case No.

  1. JA following post-leaving Course
  2. JB while on part-time educational course
  3. Payment for JA/JB while sitting an examination
  4. No JA for mature student during Christmas/Easter holidays

Strike Provisions

Case No.

  1. All workers on strike
  2. Separate place of employment
  3. Sit-in following closure
  4. Part-time worker involved in a strike
  5. Work resumption delayed after settlement of dispute
  6. Work resumption delayed by other causes
  7. Person not involved in a dispute but has a direct interest
  8. Employment elsewhere during strike
  9. Temporary employment on another site by same employer
  10. Rate of IQC where spouse is on strike

JA - Inmate of Institution

Case No.

  1. No JA for inmate of institution

Availability/Genuinely Seeking Work

Case No.

  1. Search for work by JA/JB claimants to be widened in time
  2. Disadvantaged JA claimants
  3. Person who made himself unavailable for work by moving to a remote area

JA - Foreign Worker

Case No.

  1. JA for foreign worker on fixed work contract

JA/JB Pending Illness Benefit Appeal

Case No.

  1. Payment of JA/JB pending Illness Benefit appeal

Farm Assist

Case No.

  1. Family farms and Farm Assist

REVISED DECISIONS

Case No.

  1. Fraud Cases
  2. Effective date of revised decisions made under section 302(b)
  3. New Facts or New Evidence
  4. Applying section 302(c)
  5. Effective date of revised decisions made under section 302(c)
  6. Spouse in employment when claim made
  7. Spouse starts work after claim is made
  8. Pensioner dies leaving undisclosed means
  9. Pensioner not aware of change of circumstances
  10. Lone Parent cohabiting
  11. Mistake by Deciding Officer
  12. Qualified Adult claims in own right

APPEAL SUBMISSIONS

Case No.

  1. Lost job because of misconduct (JB)
  2. Appeal against 'not genuinely seeking work' disallowance (JA)
  3. Appeal against 'not available for employment' disallowance (JB)
  4. Appeal against 'left job voluntarily' disqualification (JB)
  5. JA appeal against 'not genuinely seeking work' disallowance
  6. Appeal against level of Means assessed (SPNC)
  7. Appeal against 'not genuinely seeking work' disallowance (JA)
  8. Clarification of Appeals Officer's decision

OVERPAYMENTS

Case No.

  1. Ability to repay overpayment

CREDITS

Case No.

  1. Break in insurance record
  2. Entitlement to credits following self-employment
  3. Commissioned Officer and credits
  4. Student credits for JB claimant
  5. Conditions for Pre-Retirement credits

INSURABILITY

Case No.

  1. Family members working on the family farm
  2. Insurability of Civil/Public servants
  3. Insurability of secondary teacher
  4. Insurability of primary teacher
  5. Insurability of substitute teacher
  6. Insurability of demonstrators/merchandisers
  7. PRSI Class for primary teacher who had break in service
  8. Share fisherman's entitlement to JB
  9. PRSI Class for civil servant on career break
  10. Subsidiary Employment -Person with class D and class A insurance in GCY

EUROPEAN UNION (EU)

Case No.

  1. Becoming a Voluntary Contributor here following retirement in the UK
  2. Non-EU claimant and restrictions on working
  3. Competent state for payment of Illness Benefit
  4. Export of Carer's Benefit

ILLNESS BENEFIT (IB)

Case No.

  1. Illness Benefit while on career break

CARER'S ALLOWANCE/BENEFIT

Case No.

  1. Farm loss cannot be offset against income from self employment in assessing carers means
  2. Assessment of Second House
  3. Employed Contributor/Carer's Benefit
  4. Carer's Allowance -means assessment for rented house

PAYMENT AFTER DEATH

Case No.

  1. Payment after death where both spouses die
  2. Payment after death (Carer's Allowance/Disability Allowance)
  3. Payment after death (Jobseeker's Benefit/Illness Benefit)

HABITUAL RESIDENCE CONDITION

Case No.

  1. Habitual Residency Condition - Asylum Seeker
  2. Habitual Residency Condition - Irish National

ONE PARENT FAMILY PAYMENT (OFP)

Case No.

  1. DWB Limit and superannuation contributions
  2. Assessment of maintenance payments for One-Parent Family Payment
  3. Efforts to seek maintenance - Divorced person
  4. OPFP customer with occasional income over the statutory limit for disqualification
  5. OPFP - Assessment of means and Rent Supplement/Mortgage Supplement

STATE PENSION CONTRIBUTORY

Case No.

  1. State Pension (Contributory) recipient who alleges she was working for 5 years but no PRSI recorded

CHILD BENEFIT

Case No.

  1. Payment of Child Benefit (CB) - Who is entitled to payment where the parents are separated

DISABILITY ALLOWANCE

Case No.

  1. Earnings as a Home Help/Home Support Worker

MEANS ASSESSMENTS

Case No.

  1. No assessment of rent from house bought with Hepatitis C award
  2. Money in trust fund
  3. Means Assessment - Farm consisting of bogland
  4. Means Assessment - SSIA's (Now PRSA's & AVC's)

WIDOWS CONTRIBUTORY PENSION

Case No.

  1. Divorced person's entitlement to Widow's Contributory Pension

TREATMENT BENEFIT

Case No.

  1. Treatment Benefit retired person

ISLAND ALLOWANCE

Case No.

  1. Increase for living on specified islands

FAMILY INCOME SUPPLEMENT

Case No.

  1. FIS and County Councillors

Glossary of terms

 


 

INCREASE FOR A QUALIFIED ADULT

Note: The maximum amount a QA can earn and still qualify for a tapered rate of payment will increase to �310 from January 2009.

Case No. 1:
Assessing Capital for qualified adult purposes

Q. Mr. O'S is claiming IB. His wife is not in employment or self-employment nor is she on SW. She has �100,000 in capital which she has invested. Is he entitled to an IQA for her?

A. If Mrs. O'S's income does not exceed �100 weekly, the maximum rate of IQA is payable. Where her income is between �100 per week and �300 per week, an IQA at a reduced rate is payable. No IQA is payable where her income is in excess of �300 per week.

Income includes income from employment, self-employment, occupational or personal pensions, foreign social security payments, property (including capital) or from any other source. The weekly value of income is assessed in accordance with Article 7 of S.I. 142 of 2007.

Where a person claims an IQA for a spouse/partner who has capital e.g. a redundancy lump sum, or s/he owns property which is neither personally used nor let, it is assessed as follows:

  • First 20,000 euro shall be excluded
  • Next 10,000 euro assessed as 1 euro per each 1,000
  • Next 10,000 euro assessed as 2 euro per each 1,000
  • Each 1,000 which exceeds 40,000 to be assessed as 4 euro per each 1,000

In this case, Mrs. O' S's income from capital would be assessed as follows:

  • First 20,000 euro excluded
  • Next 10,000 euro assessed at �1 per �1,000 = �10
  • Next 10,000 euro assessed at �2 per �1,000 = �20
  • Remaining �60,000 assessed at �4 per �1,000 = �240
  • Total means from capital = �270

An IQA rate of �26.00 is payable where the IQA is assessed with means of �270.

N.B. This method of assessment applies to all social insurance schemes in determining whether or not a spouse, who has income from property, including capital, may be admitted as a qualified adult.

However, where the spouse has property which is let, the gross weekly amount from letting is assessed, not the capital value.

Case No. 2 (previously 103):
IQA for spouse with income from property

Q. Mrs. W is in receipt of Illness Benefit. She has applied for an increase in respect of her husband as a Qualified Adult. He owns a building, which he has let for a rental of �95 a week to a neighbour who runs a business from it. The capital value of the building is �150,000. He has no other income. In determining whether he is a Qualified Adult, should we assess (a) the rental he receives for letting the building or (b) the capital value of the building?

A. The capital value of the building is not relevant to the question because it does not constitute income.

Article 7 of S.I. 142 of 2007 provides that an increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA) may be paid in respect of a spouse whose income is below a specified limit calculated or estimated in accordance with Article 8 - in these circumstances the spouse is regarded as being wholly or mainly maintained by the claimant.

Article 8(d) provides for the calculation of income "insofar as it consists of income from any other source (including rent or any other periodical payment receivable for the possession and use of property in all lands, tenements and hereditaments), by reference to the normal weekly amount of such income".

In the case of Mr. W, his income should be taken to be the money he receives from renting the building (i.e. �95 a week). As his income is below �100, Mrs. W is entitled to a full IQA in respect of him. If his income was between �100 and �300, then a reduced rate of IQA would be payable. If the income was over �300 per week, then no IQA would be payable.

Case No. 3 (previously 127):
Income assessment of second property owned by claimant's spouse - is increase for a qualified adult (IQA) payable?

Q. The spouse of a State Pension Contributory Pension recipient is the sole owner of a second house which is being rented out at �320 per week. When determining whether an increase for a qualified adult should be paid, should the rental income be taken or the capital value of the property?

A. The actual rental income received should be assessed as income in this case. Article 8(1) (d) of S.I. 142 of 2007) provides that, where rent or any other periodical payment is receivable for the possession and use of property, then this income is assessed by reference to the normal weekly amount of such income. In the example above, the spouse is the sole owner of the second property and is assessed with the full rental income. As this income is over �300 no IQA is payable. However, if the second property were jointly owned by claimant and spouse, the spouse would be assessed with half the rental income only. This income assessment differs to that which is used for an IQA on State Pension Non-Contributory Pension.

Case No. 4 (previously 128):
Income Assessment - IQA on JA - Rental Income

Q. The spouse of a claimant for Jobseeker's Assistance is the sole owner of a second property which is being rented out at �300 per week. This amount has been set by the Rent Tribunal. This rental income is much less than the market rental income for similar properties in the area. Should the market rental income, the actual rental income or the capital value be taken into account when assessing the income for Qualified Adult purposes?

A. A new assessment for JA was introduced from the 26th September 2007. A spouse of a JA applicant is regarded as their Qualified Adult irrespective of their income. Under the new legislation a family rate applies. The family rate is based on a full personal rate, a full increase for a qualified adult (unless the spouse/partner is on a SW/ HSE/ FAS or VTOS course with an allowance) and an increase for qualified children less any means (legislation S.I. 700 of 2007). The capital value of the 2nd property (less any mortgage outstanding) is assessed as means. The rental income from the property is disregarded.

Case No. 5 (previously 79):
Joint Holding and IQA

Q. Mr. V has applied for JA. Mrs. V is working 2 days a week in insurable employment for wages of �160 a week. They are joint owners of a small farm, the income from which has been assessed at �80 a week (gross expenses less means is the assessable income). How should the means be assessed on Mr. V's JA claim?

A. A family rate applies in JA cases. Mr. V is entitled to a family rate which is a personal rate, a qualified adult rate and payment for any qualified children less full means. There is a disregard of �20 a day for each day worked in insurable employment up to a maximum of �60 (for 3 days a week) and the balance is assessed at 60%. The means from the farm are assessed on a euro for euro basis. Self employment is assessed as gross income less work related expenses. In this case the means assessable is � 152 i.e.

Earnings from employment �160
Less disregard (20 X 2 days) �40
  �120
60% = �72
Add farm income �80
Total means �152
The JA rate payable is the relevant family rate less means.

Case No. 6 (previously 4):
Partner in receipt of maintenance

Q. If Mrs. A is separated from her husband and is living with Mr. B who is in receipt of Invalidity Pension; can Mr. B receive an IQA in respect of her if she is receiving maintenance of, say �90 a week, from Mr. A?

A. Yes, Mrs. A's income does not exceed �100 weekly, the maximum rate of IQA is payable. Where her income is between �100 per week and �300 per week, an IQA at a reduced rate is payable. So, in this case, as the level of maintenance is under �100, Mr. B is entitled to a full rate IQA for Mrs. A provided, of course, that Mrs. A does not have other income that would bring her income between �100 and �300 or over �300 or she is in receipt of a SW payment in her own right.

Note also that if Mr. A were to claim SW he would not be entitled to an IQA for Mrs. A unless he was paying maintenance at a rate equal to or above the full JA/JB IQA rate. However a spouse who is cohabiting with another person as husband and wife cannot be treated as the qualified adult of his/her own husband/wife. [Article 7 of S.I. 142 of 2007]

Case No: 7 (previously 5):
IQA for Separated spouse who is not cohabiting

Q. Mr. and Mrs. Z are living apart. He is on Illness Benefit and paying her �200 per week maintenance. She is working and gets wages of �250. Is Mr. Z entitled to an IQA for Mrs. Z?

A. Yes, an IQA is payable in this case because the level of maintenance being paid by Mr. Z to Mrs. Z is more than the equivalent of the IQA and because Mrs. Z has income in her own right of under �300 a week (The maintenance paid by Mr. Z is not included in determining whether or not she has income exceeding �300 a week). If he was paying her less than the full JB IQA rate or if she had income (excluding maintenance) of over �300, then an IQA would not be payable.

[Article 7 of S.I. 142 of 2007]
[Note the difference between this and Case No. 6 where the spouse was living with someone else.]

Case No. 8 (previously 74):
IQA for divorced spouse

Q. Mr. and Mrs. W are divorced. Under the divorce agreement he is obliged to pay her �135 support a week. She has no other income. He has recently claimed JB. Is he entitled to an increase of JB for his divorced wife as his Qualified Adult?

A. Mr. W is entitled to an IQA for his divorced wife because she is a "spouse" within the meaning of the legislation, who is being wholly or mainly maintained by him (not cohabiting, and income not exceeding �300 a week). The weekly payment by Mr. W to his spouse of �135 satisfies the "wholly or mainly maintained" condition as this exceeds the IQA rate on JB.

If her weekly income was less than �100 per week, then the maximum rate of IQA would have been payable. However, as her weekly income is between �100 and �300, a reduced rate is payable. If her income exceeded �300 per week, or if she was in receipt of a SW payment is her own right, then no IQA would be payable.

The legislation specifically provides that a 'spouse' for the purposes of payment of an IQA 'includes a party to a marriage that has been dissolved, being a dissolution that is recognised as valid in the State'. [Section 3 (11)(a) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005].

Case No. 9 (previously 6):
FIS and IQA overlap

Q. Can a person on JB or JA claim an IQA for a spouse who is on low earnings and in receipt of FIS?

A. No, under the overlapping provisions, a person is not entitled to receive an increase of JB or JA (or PRETA or Retirement Pension) in respect of a spouse who is in receipt of FIS. [Section 247 (6) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005]

Case No. 10 (previously 91):
No entitlement to IQA where spouse is in receipt of Blind Pension

Q. Mr. G has recently claimed Illness Benefit. His wife is in receipt of a Social Welfare Blind Pension. Is he entitled to an Increase for Qualified Adult (IQA) for her?

A. No. An IQA is not payable to a claimant under any social welfare scheme for a spouse who is in receipt of Blind Pension. This is because the definition of a qualified adult excludes a spouse who is entitled to or in receipt of any social welfare benefit, pension, assistance or allowance with the exception of Child Benefit, Continued Payment for Qualified Children, Family Income Supplement and Supplementary Welfare Allowance [Section 2(2) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005], or OIB Death Benefit, Disablement Benefit, Guardian's payment (contributory), Guardian's payment (non-contributory) and to no other benefit or assistance (other than Supplementary Welfare Allowance). [Article 6(b) of S.I. 142 of 2007] Mr. G is accordingly not entitled to an IQA for his wife.

Note the difference where a Blind Pensioner claims another social welfare payment in his or her own right. Blind Pensioners who have not attained pensionable age are entitled under the legislation to also be paid any other social welfare benefit/assistance for which they are qualified except for the following: Carer's Benefit/Allowance, Disability Allowance, Farm Assist, Invalidity Pension, State Pension (Contributory), State Pension (Non-contributory) Pension, State Pension (Transition) and Jobseeker's Allowance [Article 224 of S.I. 142 of 2007] This means, for instance, that a person can be paid Blind Pension and JB, IB, OIB or any other benefit not listed above.

Case No. 11 (previously 7):
Spouse on FAS training course

Q. Can a person be paid an IQA for a spouse who is on a F�S course?

A. It depends on the type of F�S course. If the spouse is on a non-craft full-time course, an IQA is not payable. [Specifically excluded by Section 2(2)(a)(v) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005]. In other cases the income limit for IQA purposes will determine the position. If the F�S training allowance payable for the course, whether it is a full-time Craft Course or a part-time non-craft course, is �300 or under an IQA can be paid. The type of course should be checked with F�S.

Case No. 12 (previously 2):
Opting to become a qualified adult

Q. Mr. C is in receipt of JA and earns �285 gross per week for 3 days work. Mrs. C is on Illness Benefit. Can Mr. C sign off and became a qualified adult of Mrs. C.

A. Yes - Mr. C cannot be required to pursue an entitlement if he does not wish to do so. So if he ceases to claim JA in his own right, Mrs. C can be paid an IQA for him. Mr. C may sign for credits in these circumstances. However, Mr. C would be worse off under this arrangement.

JA Assessment
�250 - �60 (3 days x �20) = Assessable income of �190 which is assessed at 60%
Means assessment = �190 x 60% = �114
Personal rate payable = �197.80 - �114 = �83.80
IQA rate payable on IB claim where earnings are �285 = �13.40
[Note: The gross figure for Mr. C's wages is taken]

Case No. 13 (previously 3):
IQA and Redundancy Payments disqualification

Q. Mr. R has been disqualified for 9 weeks for receipt of JB because he received a redundancy payment exceeding �90,000 [Section 68 (6) (e) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005]. His wife is on IB. If Mr. R ceases to sign, can he be treated as the qualified adult of Mrs. R on her Illness Benefit claim?

A. Yes. Nothing in the legislation prevents an IQA being paid to Mrs. R in these circumstances provided that Mr. R does not have a weekly income in his own right of �300 or over. Where his income is between �100 per week and �300 per week, an IQA at a reduced rate is payable.

In particular, the capital value of his Redundancy Lump sum should be assessed (see advice on Case No. 1 above) as follows:

  • First 20,000 euro excluded
  • Next 10,000 euro assessed at �1 per �1,000 = �10
  • Next 10,000 euro assessed at �2 per �1,000 = �20
  • Remaining �50,000 assessed at �4 per �1,000 = �200
  • Total means from capital = �230

An IQA rate of �59.70 is payable where the IQA is assessed with means of �230.

Note, however, that if the reason for Mr. R's disqualification for JB was because of his participation in a trade dispute, an IQA could not be paid because the legislation specifically rules this out. [Section 2 (2) (a) (iv) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005]

Case No. 14 (previously 133 and 33, now amalgamated):
Increase for a qualified adult less than 18 years of age

Q. A JA claimant has made an application for an increase in respect of a qualified adult. He states that he is cohabiting with his partner who is 17 years of age. Should he be awarded an increase for a qualified adult?

A. No. As provided for under section 2(2) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and article 6 of S.I. 142 of 2007, a qualified adult increase is payable in respect of a spouse who is wholly or mainly maintained by a person. Article 7 defines a 'spouse' as one of a married couple who are living together or one of a couple who are not married to each other but cohabiting as husband and wife. In this case, the couple is not married and, without the necessary Court order, cannot marry. The partner in this case is under 18 years of age. The minimum age at which a person can marry in Ireland is 18 years of age unless a Court Exemption Order is obtained through the Circuit Family Court or the High Court. Therefore, for the purpose of the increase for a qualified adult, the couple cannot be considered as cohabiting as husband and wife.

Other considerations are relevant in deciding that a person under 18 is not an adult for the purposes of qualifying as a Qualified Adult:

  • The Child Care Act, 1991 defines a child as "a person under the age of 18 years other than a person who is or has been married".
  • Persons under age 18 are not entitled to vote in a national or local authority election.
  • Legal definitions of adult include "a person who attains full age" and age of majority as "age 18 years or, if married before that age, age on marriage".

(IQA) FOR NON EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA (EEA) CUSTOMERS ON JOBSEEKER'S BENEFIT OR ALLOWANCE

The criterion for payment of an increase in respect of a qualified adult who is an EEA/Non-EEA national is outlined in the three examples below. EEA Nationals are Nationals of the European Union plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. Section 2(2) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and Article 7 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations 2007 (S.I. 142 of 2007) provides the definition of a "Qualified Adult" and specifies the circumstances under which one is considered to be wholly or mainly maintaining his/her spouse/partner.

Payment of an Increase for a Qualified Adult for Non-EEA nationals

Non-EEA nationals in Ireland fall into the following main categories:

  • Those in the country for study purposes
  • Migrant workers
  • People with refugee status and asylum seekers looking to be recognised as refugees
  • Short term visitors
  • Family of Irish or EU Nationals

A Non-EEA national must show evidence that s/he is legally living in the State (i.e. has leave to remain until a certain date) and must satisfy the conditions for payment of an IQA in the same manner as an Irish/EEA citizen (see RDO Memo 3/00 'Non-EU Nationals') i.e. be wholly or mainly maintained by the claimant.

Case No. 15:
Payment of an Increase for a Qualified Adult for a non-EEA spouse of an Irish/EEA National

Q. Claim for Jobseeker's Allowance made on 23rd July. Claimant has been granted refugee status (Stamp 4), and wishes to claim an IQA for his wife � decision on refugee status currently pending. She is currently in receipt of Supplementary Welfare Allowance equal to IQA rate.

A. Entitlement to payment of an IQA in respect of a Non-EEA spouse of an Irish/EEA national is determined in the same way as if the spouse was an EEA national. However, the Qualified Adult must demonstrate that s/he has a legal right to reside in the State i.e. hold an appropriate Garda National Immigration Bureau (G.N.I.B.) card or visa.

Payment of IQA can be made provided:
The customer (husband) has refugee status, giving him the same right to Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance as an Irish national,
and
The couple are legally married and can provide proof of same (e.g. marriage cert.),
and
We are satisfied as to identity of spouse,
and
all the usual conditions for payment of an IQA are satisfied e.g. being wholly or mainly maintained.

If an IQA is awarded, the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (DJELR) and the Community Welfare Officer (CWO) should be notified. If customer has leave to remain, then an IQA can be claimed provided spouse has right to live here and is wholly or mainly maintained.

Case No. 16:
Payment of IQA for a Non-EEA partner (Cohabitation case)

Q. Is an IQA payable where the partner of an EEA/Non-EEA claimant is an asylum seeker?

A. An IQA is payable provided that the normal conditions for payment of an IQA are satisfied (i.e. wholly or mainly maintained) and that the partner has permission to reside in the State pending a decision on his/her application for asylum.

Claims should be kept under review to examine the outcome of the application for asylum. If the application for asylum has been rejected, the decision may be appealed. If an appeal fails, a deportation order is issued. The applicant may then apply for a judicial review. While undergoing the above procedures the IQA remains payable provided the conditions for payment of an IQA continue to be satisfied. The claim should be kept under review while awaiting the outcome of the Judicial Review and the DJELR notified that the IQA is in payment.

Case No. 17:
Payment of an IQA for a Non- EEA partner with a restricted visa (Cohabitation case)

Q. Is an IQA payable in respect of a non-EEA partner with a restricted visa?

A. When a Non-EEA national enters the country for a specific period of time and for a specific purpose, e.g. on a student visa (Stamp 2), s/he is obliged to show, before being allowed to enter the State, that s/he has sufficient funds to support him/herself for the duration of the stay.

  • An application for an IQA should be referred to a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) to establish details of the person's income
  • IQA may be paid if the normal statutory conditions are satisfied
  • Notification of award of an IQA should be issued to the DJELR
  • IQA entitlement should be reviewed regularly

INCREASE FOR A QUALIFIED CHILD

Case No: 18 (previously 46):
Backdating Increase for Qualified Child

Q. Mrs. T has been in receipt of Illness Benefit since 2003 in respect of herself and 2 children. In May 2008 she claimed IQC for a foster child who had come to reside with her in February 2006. She said that the reason for not claiming an IQC earlier was that a friend had advised her that she would not be entitled to it. She had earlier claimed Child Benefit for the foster child and had been awarded payment from February 2006. The Deciding Officer allowed the claim for IQC from November 2007 only, i.e. he backdated it for the maximum period of 6 months allowed by the legislation. Mrs. T is not satisfied with this and is pressing for, payment from February 2006. Is there any scope within the legislation for paying arrears beyond 6 months in this case?

A. Social Welfare legislation provides that where a claim, 'including any increases thereof, is not made in time, payment shall be disqualified beyond a certain date ( See note below). The maximum backdating period specified for late claims under the different schemes varies; in the case of Illness Benefit it is 6 months. A claim to Child Benefit may be accepted as a claim for an Increase for a Qualified Child or an Guardian's Payment (contributory) or Guardian's Payment (non-contributory), provided no doubt exists as to entitlement to the payment for the period in question and a reasonable explanation is given for the delay in claiming.

So, since Mr. T had claimed and been paid Child Benefit from February 2006, her claim for an IQC may be treated as being received on that date and full arrears paid provided, of course, that the Deciding Officer is satisfied that the underlying conditions for the receipt of an IQC were fulfilled throughout this period.

Note:
Section 241 (3) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005

See case no. 48 (previously 45) for other circumstances in which backdating may be allowed.

Cases No. 19 to No. 23 deal with IQC payable where parents are separated/divorced.

In most cases payment of qualified child increases depends on whom the child is normally residing with. The Normal Residence regulations [Article 13 of S.I. 142 of 2007] provide that, if the parent with whom the child is living is not claiming or in receipt of a SW payment other than those listed below, the other parent is entitled to an IQC provided s/he is contributing substantially to the child's maintenance.

"contributing substantially" is not defined, but it is reasonable to take it to mean, at least, the equivalent of the IQC rate (�26.00 from 2009 or upwards a week).

Parent with whom child is living may receive one of the following payments without affecting the other parent's entitlement to IQC:

  • Guardian's Payment Contributory
  • Death Benefit by way of Orphan's Pension
  • Guardian's Payment Non-Contributory
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Child Benefit
  • Respite Care Grant
  • Family Income Supplement
  • Continued Payment for Qualified Children

[ Note:
Where a payment, e.g. OFP, SWA, is in place in respect of the particular child, an IQC is not payable to the 'other' parent, regardless of the level of maintenance in place]

Case No. 19 (previously 8):
Rate of IQC where claimant pays maintenance

Q. Mr. T is on State Pension (Transition). He is separated from Mrs. T who is not claiming SW in her own right. Mr. T contributes �20 a week towards the maintenance of his daughter who is living with Mrs. T. Can he be paid IQC for his daughter? If so, would he be paid an IQC at a half-rate or full rate?

A. IQC would not be payable to Mr. T in this case because the level of maintenance is less than the IQC rate. However, if Mr. T was to contribute �24.00 (�26 from 2009) or more weekly, a full IQC would be payable provided Mrs. T did not have a SW claim.

Case No. 20 (previously 114):
Full IQC payable to separated spouse who contributes substantially towards cost of maintenance of children

Q. Mr. C has claimed JA. He is separated from his wife and is living with another woman who is in employment. He pays �60 a week to Mrs. C in respect of maintenance for his 2 children who reside with her. She is not in receipt of a social welfare payment. Is he entitled to an IQC for the 2 children and, if so, at what rate?

A. Yes, an IQC at full rate is payable for both children to Mr. C. As he is paying in excess of the IQC rate, it can be taken that he is contributing substantially to the children's maintenance and full-rate IQC may be paid to him in respect of them. The fact that his new partner is in employment is not relevant to the question. [ See Case 21 if Mr. C's wife were to claim a social welfare payment in her own right].

Case No: 21 (previously 48):
Rate of IQC where claimant receives maintenance from separated spouse

Q. Mrs. J is on JB. She is separated from her husband who pays her maintenance of �90 a week in respect of herself and their 8 year old child. Should an IQC be paid at full or half rate?

A. If child is resident with Mrs. J in accordance with the Normal Residence rules, IQC at full-rate is payable to her.

Case No: 22 (previously 47):
Payment of IQC in Shared Custody cases

Q. Mr. B is in receipt of JA. He is separated from his wife who is in full-time employment. The couple have a 6 year old son who stays with the mother 4 days a week and with the father on the other 3 days. Mrs. B is getting Child Benefit for the child. Mr. B has applied for an IQC with JA in respect of the child on the grounds that he is contributing towards his maintenance. Can an IQC be awarded to him?

A. The question to be decided in the case of Mr. B is whether he is 'contributing substantially' to his son's maintenance. As the child stays for weekends or a few days with Mr. B, this may be accepted as evidence that he is so contributing, and IQC may be awarded to him. Note that payment of IQC in these circumstances is at full rate.

Case No. 23 (previously 134):
Rate of IQC payable to divorced claimant where ex-spouse on FIS

Q. A JA claimant is divorced and is paying maintenance for his children. The children are living with his ex-spouse who is employed and in receipt of FIS. Is an IQC payable with JA? If so, should the IQC be paid at half or full-rate?

A. If the JA claimant is contributing substantially to the child's maintenance i.e. at least �24 (�26 from 2009) per week he may be awarded the increase for a qualified child on his JA. A full-rate increase for the qualified child should be awarded as the claimant and the spouse are not living together (Section 146 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 refers).

Case No. 24 (previously 73):
Payment of IQC in respect of an orphan

Q. Mary is in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment for herself and 3 children. Her younger sister Anne, aged 17, lives with her. Both of their parents are dead and Anne is in receipt of Guardian's Payment (Contributory). Mary has now claimed for Anne as her child dependant. Is she entitled to IQC for her as part of her OFP? If so, can Anne retain entitlement to Guardian's Payment?

A. Yes provided Anne is being wholly or mainly maintained by her, Mary is entitled to an increase of OFP. Under the legislation, Guardian's Payment (Contributory) and one of a number of certain other specified payments (including One-Parent Family Payment) may be paid simultaneously in respect of the same person. This applies also to Guardian's (Non-Contributory) Payment and Death Benefit by way of Orphan's Pension. [Article 222 of S.I. 142 of 2007]

Case No. 25 (previously 101):
Repeat Leaving Cert student and IQC

Q. Ms. V was disqualified for Jobseeker's Assistance for 3 months following the Leaving Certificate examination in June 2007. Her father was paid an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) for her on his Illness Benefit claim. Ms. V has decided to resit the Leaving Certificate exam in June 2008. Should she be disqualified again for JA purposes for a further 3 months following the resit, and if so will her father be allowed to claim IQC for her again?

A. Yes. The disqualification should be imposed a second time, if Ms. V should again claim JA. Her father's entitlement to IQC would therefore exist for this second period also. [Section 2(3)(a) and Section 148(3)(a) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 apply.]

Case No. 26 (previously 125):
IQC - Reaching 22 years during academic year

Q. Mr. Q is an Invalidity Pensioner and he is in receipt of an increase in respect of his daughter Jean, who is receiving full-time education at a university. She completed the third year, of a four year course on 15 June 2008. She was 22 on the 14 July 2008. She returned to college, for her final year, on 29 September 2008. To what date is an IQC payable to Mr. Q?

A. Jean is attending on a full-time basis a course of instruction by day at an institution of education. She is regarded as receiving full-time education for the full academic year which includes the university summer holiday period between completing third year and starting fourth year. An IQC for her is payable to 28 September 2008, i.e. the end of the academic year in which Jean attained the age of 22 years.

For the purpose of an IQC in this case, an academic year is a period in which a course of instruction or part of a cycle of education commences in one calendar year and finishes in the next following calendar year. Article 3 of S.I. 142 of 2007 refers. A person continues to receive full-time education during term vacations except the summer vacation of their final year. Article 14 of S.I. 142 of 2007 refers.

Where a person receiving fulltime education reaches age 22 during an academic year s/he continues to be regarded as a qualified child for the duration of that academic year [Section 2 (3) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005].

Case No. 27 (previously 90 and 126 � now amalgamated):
IQC for Student Nurse

Q. Mr. U made a claim recently for One-Parent Family Payment in respect of himself and his daughter, Karen. She is aged 20, is a student nurse getting a student grant and works part-time at a local hospital. Is an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) payable to Mr. U for her?

A. An IQC is payable to One-Parent Family Payment ( see note below) claimants in respect of a child up to age 22 who is attending a full-time, second or third level, education course by day in a recognised educational establishment. As student nurses now receive their training in third level colleges recognised for this purpose, they satisfy this condition. So, an IQC is payable to Mr. U in respect of Karen until the end of the academic year in which she reaches age 22, or until she ceases to be a student. The fact that she is getting a grant does not affect her status as a "qualified child"

Where a period of paid work experience forms part of a course, students are regarded as being in full-time education where the time spent on work experience is less than the time spent receiving instruction or tuition at an institute of education. The relevant legislative provision is contained in Article 14(2)(d) of S.I. 142 of 2007.

Generally, those studying nursing have work placement as part of their course. However, they only receive payment for the 36 week period of clinical internship in year four of the course.

An increase in respect of a qualified child will be payable in respect of Karen if the period she spends on paid work experience at the hospital or elsewhere is less than the time spent receiving fulltime tuition or instruction at NUIG.

Note:
(See 'Increase for a Qualified Child Guideline' for other long-term schemes to which this provision also applies)

Case No. 28 (previously 123):
IQC payable with One-Parent Family Payment and Blind Pension

Q. Ms. O is in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment with an increase for two qualified children. She is also in receipt of a Blind Pension. Does she qualify for an IQC on her Blind Pension?

A. Yes. Under the overlapping provisions a person who has not attained pension age is entitled to receive a Blind Persons Pension and an increase in respect of qualified children together with any benefit other than Carer's Benefit, State Pension Contributory, State Pension (transition), or Invalidity Pension and any assistance other than Jobseeker's Allowance, Pre-Retirement Allowance, State Pension (Non-Contributory) Pension, Carer's Allowance, Disability Allowance or Farm Assist. In other words an increase for a qualified child is payable simultaneously on both a Blind Pension and any of the following:-

  • One-Parent Family Payment,
  • Illness Benefit,
  • Jobseeker's Benefit,
  • Maternity Benefit,
  • Adoptive Benefit,
  • Health and Safety Benefit,
  • Injury Benefit,
  • Widow/er's Contributory Pension,
  • Widow/er's (Non-Contributory) Pension,
    (Article 224 of S.I. 142 of 2007 refers).

JOBSEEKER'S BENEFIT - JOBSEEKER'S ALLOWANCE

SUBSTANTIAL LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT
Cases 29 to 38 relate to Substantial Loss.

Case No. 29 (previously 11):
Substantial Loss Test

Q. In what circumstances should the substantial loss test be applied?

A. To qualify for JB, a person must sustain a substantial loss of employment. A person is regarded as having sustained a substantial loss of employment if s/he has lost at least one day of insurable employment in any period of 6 days as an officer of the Minister may determine, provided his/her reckonable earnings or reckonable income are reduced as a consequence of the loss of employment. In short, the number of days worked in any JB week (i.e. Thurs - Wed) must be less than the normal number of days worked prior to the date of claim.

A person whose employment has terminated and is now fully unemployed will obviously satisfy the substantial loss rule. However, where the person continues to work for at least one day per week, the position must be determined by reference to the circumstances of the case.

There are 3 categories of claimant who may qualify for JB while partially employed.
They are:

  • Systematic Short-time workers (SST)
  • Casual workers, and
  • Part-time workers.

To qualify for JB, a person must be unemployed for at least 3 days in 6 and, except in the case of casual workers, must suffer a substantial loss of employment. [Section 62 (1) (d) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 refers]

Where the sub loss rule is not satisfied a person may claim JA, subject to means, as the sub loss rule does not apply to JA.

Case No. 30 (previously 121):
Substantial loss of employment � normal level of employment

Q. Ms. M claims Jobseeker's Benefit. She has been in insurable employment for 3 days each week for the 13 weeks prior to her claim and continues to be so employed. She had been employed on a full-time basis for a number of years prior to the reduction in her working week. In determining if she satisfies the condition of having suffered a substantial loss of employment, what period should be examined in determining the normal level of employment?

A. In establishing the normal level of employment, it is usual for the 13 weeks period immediately preceding the date of claim to be used, where it is an accurate reflection of the normal employment pattern. Where the level of employment during the preceding 13 weeks differed temporarily but significantly from the person's previous level of employment, it may be more appropriate for the Deciding Officer to choose an alternative period. On that basis, the determination in this case may be based on a 26 week or 52 week period prior to the date of claim.

Article 49 of S.I. 142 of 2007 refers.

Case No. 31 (previously 12):
Substantial Loss - extra work during re-qualification period

Q. Mrs. B is a part-time worker and normally works 3 days a week. Her JB expires and during the re-qualification period she works 4 days a week. On return to JB she goes back to working 3 days a week. Does she qualify for JB under the 'sub loss' rule?

A. No. In this case, while there has been a substantial loss of employment by reference to Mrs. B's recent work experience, the position needs to be looked at over a longer period. So, her work record should be examined by reference to the previous 26 or 52 weeks (rather than 13 weeks) which will show the true picture i.e. that there has been no substantial loss of employment over the period.

Case No. 32 (previously 36):
Substantial Loss Rule and unrepresentative periods of employment

The following JB 'appeal' case points to the need for Deciding Officers to go back over a longer period (than the usual 13 weeks) in cases where the person concerned has recently had a spell of employment during which the number of days worked per week was different from his/her normal pattern.

Basic Facts:
Ms. K is a part-time sales assistant in a Shopping Store. She worked for an average of 2 days a week and signed on for JB on the days she did not work until her claim expired on 27 February 2008. On 28 May 2008 she made a new claim for JB and reported 2 days work per week but during the 13 week re-qualification period she had worked an average of 3 days a week. The Deciding Officer disallowed the new JB claim on the grounds that she had not sustained a substantial loss of employment. The Deciding Officer based this decision by reference to 2 periods:

2007 year: Average 1.8 days a week, rounded to 2 days a week,
2008 to date of claim: Average 2.47 days a week, rounded to 2 days a week.

When determining a person's normal level of employment, a part of a day should be rounded up or down to the nearest day, as appropriate.

She appealed this decision.

Appeals Officer's decision:
In upholding the Deciding Officer's decision, the AO stated:

"Social Welfare legislation provides that an applicant for Jobseeker's Benefit must sustain a loss of employment i.e. their level of employment (days worked per week) must fall below what can be regarded as the normal pattern.

The period over which the pattern of employment is measured is not specified in legislation. A period of 13 weeks is often taken but Deciding Officers are free to take a longer period as happened in this case.

I am satisfied that the longer period chosen is appropriate in this case and that the appellant's normal level of employment - as shown by her signing pattern - is two days per week. Accordingly I am satisfied that a loss of employment is only sustained where she works less than 2 days a week".

Case No. 33 (previously 13):
Substantial Loss - short period of part time work after working full-time

Q. Mr. G receives a redundancy payment of �95,000 and does not claim JB for 9 weeks. He gets a part-time job two weeks before the end of what would have been the disqualification period. If he signs-on for JB, would the normal period of employment be calculated by reference to the part-time period even though he only worked parttime prior to claiming JB?

A. No - a short period of part-time employment may be disregarded and the person should be treated as having come from full-time employment i.e. the 'sub loss' rule would be satisfied in this case.

Case No. 34 (previously 14):
Substantial Loss - part-timers who work Week-On/Week-Off

Q. Mr. Q works Monday to Friday every second week and signs for JB on the other days. As the JB week runs from Thursday to Wednesday this means he signs 3 days one week and 4 days the next week. Would he have a substantial loss of employment every second week?

A. Yes, the normal level of employment is 3 days so Mr. Q qualifies for JB every second week provided that prior to claiming JB, he had been working full-time and had then been put on week-on week-off working by his employer. However, in a number of week-on week-off appeal cases the Appeals Officer held that, in order to satisfy the substantial loss condition, the number of days actually worked after the date of claim to JB must be less than the number of days actually worked prior to then. So, if Mr. Q had been working week-on week-off continuously prior to the JB claim, and continued to work the same pattern of days after claiming JB, there would be no actual loss of employment and JB would not be payable to him. Where the sub loss rule is not satisfied he may claim JA for the week off, subject to means, as the sub loss rule does not apply to JA.

Case No. 35 (previously 15):
Substantial Loss- Intensive Shifts

Q. Workers who previously worked 5 days a week now work weekends only, but work the same number of hours a week as before. Is JB payable for the days when they do no work?

A. If the number of hours they were working constituted full-time employment for that employment, they would not be entitled to JB for any day if they are now working the same number of hours each week. (Decision = 'not unemployed')

Although not defined in S.W. legislation, it would normally be reasonable to treat persons who work 36 hours or over in a week as being in full-time employment. However, in some circumstances workers who work a lower number of hours (perhaps as low as 30 hours) in a week could also be regarded as in full-time employment. Where the number of hours worked does not add up to full-time employment, regard has to be had to the actual number of days worked in applying the 'sub loss' rule.

If there is an increase in earnings (e.g. a shift allowance or bonus is paid) or a guarantee has been given that there will be no loss of earnings as a result of the revised hours, the 'sub loss' rule should be applied.

Case No. 36 (previously 85):
Sub-loss rule where there is a break in part time working

Q. Ms. L is in receipt of JB since April 2007 when she lost her part time job (3 days a week). She was fully unemployed until December 2007 when she obtained part-time employment with another employer for 3 days a week. Should JB be disallowed on the grounds that she has not sustained a substantial loss of employment?

A. The question of a person's normal level of employment is decided at the point a fresh JB claim is made, and the decision made at that point holds good for the full PIE. In Ms. L's case, her level of employment was determined in April as 3 days a week which means she is only entitled to JB in any week during the PIE where she works for 2 days or less. The fact that she was paid JB for 6 days a week for a period or that she is now working for a new employer, does not affect this situation i.e. she cannot be regarded as having sustained a substantial loss of employment in any week where she works for 3 days.

Case No. 37 (previously 93):
Substantial Loss Rule after Community Employment

Q. Ms. A has been working 5 days a week on a Community Employment Scheme for the past three years. The Community Employment has now finished and she has made a claim for Jobseeker's Benefit. Does the loss of her Community Employment constitute a 'substantial loss' for the purposes of her JB claim? What is Ms. A's normal level of employment"?

A. Since Community Employment became insurable at Class 'A' Rate of PRSI, employment on a CE Scheme is to be treated the same as any other employment in determining a JB claimant's normal level of employment for the purposes of the substantial loss rule. It follows that in this case Ms. A has sustained a substantial loss. Ms. A's normal level of employment is therefore set at "5" at the beginning of this JB claim and will continue for its duration.

Case No. 38 (previously 100):
Part-time Summer work and Substantial Loss Rule

Q. Ms. I works 3 days a week every year from June to end September (only). She signs for JB for the other 3 days. The days of the week follow a fixed pattern, i.e. she is not a casual worker. For the rest of the year she is fully unemployed and signs for JB for 6 days each week. Her JB expired during the summer and she made a new claim (having the necessary 13 re-qualifying contributions). However, this claim was disallowed because the Deciding Officer held that Ms. I had not sustained a substantial loss of employment - on the basis that her normal level of employment over the previous 52 weeks was two days a week. Will she be entitled to JB in October when her summer work terminates?

A. Yes. When she is again fully unemployed, Ms. I will satisfy the Substantial Loss rule and will be entitled to JB from that point, provided she satisfies the other statutory conditions (e.g. capable of, available for and genuinely seeking work).

CASUALS
Cases 39 to 41 look at casual contracts

Case No. 39 (previously 16):
Casual contracts with the HSE

Q. Nurses and domestics with Health Boards often have a 1 to 3 month contract for sick/ holiday relief work. Are they to be treated as casuals?

A. All 3 conditions set out in Article 51 of S.I. 142 of 2007 must be fulfilled for a person to be treated as a casual. The conditions are that:

  1. he or she is normally employed for periods of less than a week,
  2. the number of days and the days of the week on which he or she is employed in each period varies with the level of activity in the employer's business, and
  3. on the termination of each period of employment he or she has no assurance of being re-employed with the same employer.

Note:
The majority of HSE casual contracts which have come to notice do not guarantee any minimum level of employment and therefore satisfy condition (c) above. Where this is the case and the employment is irregular and part-time, these workers can be treated as casuals.

Case No. 40 (previously 17):
Casuals - Assurance of being re-employed

Q. Mr. N normally works 3 days a week but his employer will not give him a written guarantee that he will be taken on again in the following week. Should he be treated as a casual on the basis that he has 'no assurance of being re-employed' within the meaning of Article 51 (1)(c) of S.I. 142 of 2007?

A. Refusal by an employer to give a written guarantee does not necessarily mean that there is no assurance that the person will be re-employed. In this case, if Mr. N has a consistent pattern of working each week, it may be taken that he will be re-employed in the following week in the absence of a good reason for believing that the pattern is going to change.

Case No. 41 (previously 86):
Casuals - JA 'saver clause'

Q. Mr. T is a casual worker on JA. His spouse/partner is also working. When the revised method of assessing means for casuals came into operation on 26th September 2007, his means were reviewed but he was better off under the old means assessment so he was a 'saver case'. Mr. T found full-time work for 5 weeks from the 15th October 2007 to the 16th November 2007. Mr. T made a repeat claim on the 19th November 2007 he was assessed under the new means assessment. Should the 'saver clause' still apply? Mr. T would be better off under the old means assessment. Can Mr. T appeal the loss of the 'saver clause'?

A. The 'saver clause' does not apply. Yes, the customer can appeal the loss of the 'saver clause'. The new means assessment came into effect on the 26th September 2007. The saver clause relates to the halving of means. Where the customer's spouse/partner had earnings and the means on the claim were halved then the halving of means will apply while the claim is a 'saver case'.

The customer was in receipt of a higher payment on the 26th September 2007 than he/she would be entitled to under the new assessment so a saver was applied. Where the customer signed off for more than 4 consecutive weeks the 'Saver' no longer applies.

In this case the customer signed off for 5 weeks so the saver no longer applies and the claim must be assessed under the new means assessment. Once a claim is assessed under the new means assessment it cannot be assessed under the old means assessment. Mr. T has the right of appeal against the decision.

SYSTEMATIC SHORT-TIME
Cases 42, 43 and 44 deal with SST

Case No. 42 (previously 18):
SST - Meaning of "systematic"

Q. Mr. B was working 5 days a week. His employment has been reduced and he now has a regular pattern of working 3 days in one week and 2 days in the next. Should he be regarded as on systematic short-time (SST?)

A. For fully unemployed persons and Part-Time/Systematic Short-Time workers the normal level of employment is calculated once at the start of each JB claim and remains for the duration of the claim.

Short-time employment means employment in which, for the time being, a number of days are systematically worked (in a working week) that is less than the number of days, which is normal in a working week in the employment concerned.

The number of days of JB payable each week to a short-time worker is limited to ensure that the combined number of days paid and the number of days worked does not exceed five. The amount of JB payable in respect of each day of unemployment is one-fifth of the appropriate weekly JB rate.

Case No. 43 (previously 19):
SST - Meaning of "for the time being"

Q. Short-time is defined as employment in which "for the time being" the number of days systematically worked is less than is normal in that employment. Should cases be reviewed under the Substantial Loss rule on expiry of JB?

A. No, unless there is evidence that all the workers on short-time in the firm concerned have moved from SST to permanent part-time working (e.g. P45s issued and new contracts signed etc.)

Case No. 44 (previously 20):
SST - One worker on SST

Q. Do the Systematic Short Time provisions apply to situations where an employer has only one employee (e.g. doctor's receptionist)?

A. SST normally applies where a group of workers is put on a reduced working week. Although SST could also apply to a sole employee, care should be taken to ensure that the person is not job-sharing or has not become a permanent part-time worker.

SUBSIDIARY EMPLOYMENT

Case No. 45 (previously 72):
JB for person with subsidiary self-employment

Q. Mr. McD is 58 years of age. He was employed as an insurance broker with a large insurance company for many years and has a full PRSI (Class A) record. During most of that time he also engaged in self-employment. He was recently made redundant by the insurance company and claimed JB. He continues to engage in the self-employment from which he earns about �150 a week. Is he entitled to JB in this situation?

A. Yes, JB can be paid for the full period of interruption of employment. Under the legislation a day is treated as a day of unemployment if the claimant is following an occupation which could ordinarily have been followed by him/her in addition to his/her usual employment and outside the ordinary working hours of that employment and either (a) the remuneration or profit does not exceed �12.70 a day or (b) not less than 117 contributions have been paid in respect of the person in the 3 years immediately preceding the date of claim for JB or in the 3 contribution years before that date. Given his contribution record, Mr. McD would qualify under Article 44 (1) (b) of S.I. 142 of 2007.

Case No. 46 (previously 120):
Entitlement to JB when subsidiary employment is farming

Q. Mr. L claims Jobseeker's Benefit. He had been employed on a full-time basis paying Class A contributions for the past 10 years. He was also farming 30 acres of land. He continues to engage in farming, from which he derives an income of �30.00 per week. Is he entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit?

A. Yes. JB can be paid for the full period of interruption of employment. Under the legislation a day is treated as a day of unemployment if the claimant is following an occupation, which could ordinarily have been followed by him/her in addition to his usual employment and outside the ordinary hours of that employment and either (a) the remuneration or profit does not exceed �12.70 a day or (b) not less than 117 contributions have been paid in respect of the person in either the last 3 years immediately preceding the date of the claim for JB or in the 3 contribution years immediately preceding that date. Given his contribution record, Mr. L would qualify for Jobseeker's Benefit under (b).

Note:
It should be noted that the above conditions relate only to the condition of being unemployed. All the other conditions, which pertain to entitlement to JB, must also be satisfied. The person must be available for full-time work and genuinely seeking work. Self-employment can only continue to be considered as subsidiary, where the person remains available for the same level of insurable employment as before the JB claim. Subsequent increases in the level of engagement in a subsidiary occupation may affect its status. The person must not extend activities associated with the selfemployment into the time when s/he would normally have been in insurable employment. If this happens, the self-employment becomes the main occupation and cannot be considered to be subsidiary.

JB - REDUNDANCY

Case No. 47 (previously 138):
Redundancy � JB

Q. A customer has made a claim for Jobseeker's Benefit as he has been made redundant. He has received a redundancy lump sum of �74,000 but states that he intends to pay off his outstanding mortgage of �53,000. He is not in arrears with his mortgage. Should I impose a disqualification and if so, for what number of weeks?

A. Where a person under the age of 55 years has been made redundant and has received a payment in excess of �50,000 under the Redundancy Payments Acts or under an agreement with his/her employer, s/he is disqualified from payment of Jobseeker's benefit for a period of up to 9 weeks.

In considering the amount received it should be noted that the �50,000 includes the gross amount of all payments in respect of redundancy, e.g. statutory redundancy, topup or ex-gratia payments related to weeks of service, early encashment or pension entitlements (if from employer's fund) and any other money received under an agreement with the employer. [Section 68(6)(e) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 refers].

The imposition of the disqualification is mandatory but the duration of the disqualification is discretionary and may range from 1 day up to a maximum of 9 weeks. In order to achieve consistency throughout the Department in the application of this disqualification, an administrative guide to what might be considered to be an appropriate period of disqualification has been drawn-up. Full details can be obtained in the Jobseeker's Benefit guidelines in the Shared Guidelines drawer.

Where the claimant intends to use some of the redundancy payment to clear or reduce debts that have accrued, it is reasonable for a Deciding Officer to offset the debts against the amount received before determining an appropriate period for disqualification. However, in this context, debts refer only to arrears of mortgage or other bills that have accumulated.

In this particular case, the full redundancy payment received which amounted to �74,000 would be considered when deciding on the disqualification. The relevant administrative guideline figure for disqualification would be 5 weeks. However, a DO should examine each case on its own merits and may take into account other factors, e.g. age of customer and exceptional needs costs.

The date of disqualification commences from the date on which the person became redundant and in all circumstances, the period of disqualification is treated as if JB had been paid throughout, i.e. the cumulative total of days of JB paid includes the duration of the disqualification. Credited contributions are awarded for the duration of the above disqualification subject to the other conditions for JB being fulfilled, i.e. being available, capable of and genuinely seeking work.

Case No. 48 (previously 45):
Request to backdate JB

Q. Ms. R.claimed JB on 9 June 2008. She had been working for a local company for over 30 years and was made redundant on 4 April 2008. Her claim has been authorised for payment from the date of claim by the Deciding Officer. However, Ms. R is now seeking to have her JB claim back-dated to 4 April. She says this is the first time she has ever claimed JB and that the reason she had not claimed JB immediately after her job terminated was that she thought she could not claim for 9 weeks because she had been paid a redundancy lump sum. She now realises that disqualification does not apply in her case because the lump sum she received was under �50,000. Should she be allowed to sign back?

A. The rules for determining whether a claim under any of the statutory Social Welfare schemes may be back-dated are set out in legislation. The legislation ( see note below) provides that in the case of Jobseeker's benefit, a person is disqualified for receiving payment in respect of any period before the date on which the claim is made. However, the legislation also provides that a person shall not be disqualified for receiving JB for up to 6 months prior to the date of claim where the person can show that:

  1. s/he satisfied the conditions of entitlement during that earlier period, and
  2. there was good cause for the delay in making the claim.

In Ms. R's case, we would take the view that, having regard to all the circumstances, her reason for delaying to claim may be accepted as constituting 'good cause' and, provided the Deciding Officer is satisfied her story is genuine and that she satisfied the conditions of entitlement, the claim may be allowed with effect from 4 April 2008.

Note:
Section 241(2)(c) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005.

Regulations (S.I. 142 of 2007) also allow for back-dating for the majority of claim types in four specific circumstances

  1. where information given by the Department resulted in the late claim
  2. where the person was so incapacitated that they were unable to make the claim
  3. where the person suffers a 'Force Majeure'
  4. where the person is in debt and can't reasonably finance it from specified sources.

Further information is available in the Guideline 'Claims and Late Claims'

Case No. 49 (previously 150):
Redundancy Payment - Does a disqualification apply to Jobseeker's Allowance?

Q. I am dealing with a JA application. A redundancy payment was made to the applicant by the company he worked for. Does this affect his entitlement?

A. A person may be disqualified for receiving JA for up to 9 weeks from date of leaving employment if s/he has left the employment voluntarily and without good cause.

'Good cause' is not defined and it is for the Deciding Officer to apply a common sense meaning to the expression in considering the case. Factors that may be taken into account could include the circumstances surrounding any changes in working conditions, the financial situation of the firm; whether leaving the employment amounted to constructive dismissal (i.e. the person left the employment following harassment/abuse from the employer). The Guideline 'JA/JOBSEEKER'S ALLOWANCE' has useful information that will assist a DO in determining 'Good Cause'.

Other reasons for a disqualification may include;

  • Loss of employment through misconduct
  • Refusal of an offer of suitable employment
  • Refusal or failure without good cause to avail of a reasonable opportunity to receive training provided or approved by FAS
  • Failure or neglect to avail of any reasonable opportunity of obtaining suitable employment

Where any of the above disqualifications are imposed, the period must be calculated with reference to the day on which the loss or leaving of employment, refusal, failure, neglect or redundancy (as the case may be) occurred - See Guideline.

Note:
For JA cases the redundancy payment is treated as capital and assessed as means

JB - ACCRUED HOLIDAY PAY

Case No. 50 (previously 139):
Accrued holiday pay - JB

Q. Two school-related workers made a claim for Jobseeker's Benefit for the temporary lay-off at the Easter break. One was a part-time teacher who receives an hourly rate of payment that was increased by 56% to cover holiday entitlements and the other is a school warden who receives his full holiday pay entitlement at the summer lay-off. Both were laid-off from the 24th March. Can both be considered unemployed from 28th March as neither received any holiday pay?

A. No - JA or JB is not payable in respect of any day on which a person has received his/her holiday pay entitlement. The circumstances of these two workers differed at the Easter lay-off. One is a part-time teacher who is being paid in respect of his holiday entitlement, on an ongoing basis with his hourly wages (the 56% increase). Therefore, he had received his holiday pay entitlement at the time of the Easter lay-off and cannot be considered unemployed for the number of days for which he has received holiday pay. Details obtained on the form UP2 (d) will enable you to calculate the number of day's holiday pay he has received. The number of hours for which he has been paid the increase of 56% should be divided by the number of hours worked per day in order to determine the number of day's holidays for which he received wages. This is the number of days for which JB is not payable. When calculating the number of days for which holiday pay has been received, a part of a day should be rounded up or down to the nearest day, as appropriate. Where the number of hours worked per day varies the total number of hours holiday pay should be divided by the average number of hours worked per day. In most cases, the average should be based on the 13 week period immediately prior to the date of claim, or a more representative period may be used.

The other claimant, the school warden, has not taken holidays and has opted to receive all holiday pay that will have accrued at the summer lay-off. Therefore, this claimant is, during the Easter break, on a temporary lay-off and is unemployed from 28th March. Full details of accrued holiday entitlements and unemployment payments can be found in the JA or JB guidelines on the Shared Guidelines drawer and in RDO Memo 25/05 in the Shared RDO drawer.

JB - DELIBERATE FAILURE TO EXHAUST

Case No. 51 (previously 83):
Deliberate Failure to exhaust JB

Social Welfare legislation provides for disallowance of a JB claim where the person concerned has deliberately ceased claiming JB in order to avoid the necessity of requalifying by securing 13 paid contributions. The following is a case similar to one where this issue arose. Deciding Officers should be alert to the possibility of this kind of case and have investigations made where suspicion arises.

Basic Facts: Mr. Mc M made a claim to JB on 23/9/06 and proved unemployment until 8/11/07 when he 'signed-off', having exhausted 351 days. He renewed his claim on 9/2/08 (just over 13 weeks later). As he fulfilled the contribution conditions, in the normal way he would have been entitled to a fresh entitlement of 390 days. However, the Deciding Officer noticed that in June 2006 he had also signed off having drawn 369 days and had made a new claim just over 13 weeks later.

Decision: The Deciding Officer concluded that the claimant had deliberately ceased claiming JB on 10/11/07 to avoid the need to re-qualify and imposed the following disallowance:

"I decide that the person is to be treated as having been entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit for the period 11/11/07 to 8/2/08 on the grounds that he failed to make or prosecute his claim for Jobseeker's Benefit in that period in order to avoid the necessity of requalifying for Jobseeker's Benefit under Section 67 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005. I make this decision in accordance with Article 23 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Payment Provisions) Regulations 2007."

Mr. Mc M appealed this decision. In his appeal he vigorously refuted the basis of the decision and stated that he had broken his claim from 10/11/07 onwards solely to engage in employment. He also said that he taken a holiday in England during the break.

Deciding Officer's Submission
In commenting on the grounds of appeal the Deciding Officer contended that the break of claim was solely for the purpose of ensuring re-qualification; that the employment the claimant had been engaged in would not have debarred him from 'signing-on'; that he was well aware of the social welfare system as evidenced by the fact that during the break he contacted the Local Office to check that his contribution record (GCY) was in order; and that he could have applied for 2 weeks JB for the period on holidays in England (thus reducing the break to 11 weeks).

Appeal: At the hearing the appellant pleaded ignorance of the social welfare system and stated that he was unsure of when he was entitled to declare himself unemployed. He stated that he had been engaged in self-employment during the break of claim, including the installing of a central heating system and repair of a sewage system in his sister's house as a favour to her and for which he received no payment. He also stated that he did considerable work on his own house during the period in question and that he did not regard himself as unemployed as a result.

Appeals Officer's Decision
The Appeals Officer said that two elements must be present for the disallowance to stand:

  • Whether the appellant would have been entitled to JB from 10/11/07 to 9/2/08 but for any delay or failure on his part to make or prosecute a claim; and if so,
  • Whether, by this delay or failure on his part to make or prosecute a claim, he had intended to avoid the necessity of re-qualifying for JB.

In relation to element 1, the Appeals Officer concluded on the basis of the evidence that the appellant had worked, as claimed, for the period in question but that the work was not of such a character as to have disentitled him to JB because it was activity which a person would ordinarily engage in as part of normal day-to-day family life. In relation to element 2, the Appeals Officer concluded on the basis of the evidence that, despite his contention to the contrary, the appellant was aware of the re-qualifying conditions and that he intended, by failing to acquire or establish a right to JB for the period in question, to avoid the necessity for re-qualifying for JB. The appeal was accordingly rejected.

JA - ASSESSMENT OF MEANS

Case No. 52 (previously 35):
Assessment of capital where person on JA is changing residence

Q. Where a person in receipt of Jobseeker's Assistance has received money from the sale of the family home is that capital assessable in the usual way?

A. No. Where a person has offered his/her home for sale, the value of the property is not assessed as means for a period not more than two years from the date on which the property was first offered for sale. If the property remains unsold after 2 years, the normal capital value is assessed thereafter. This exemption only applies where the property is not invested or put to profitable use, i.e. is lying idle. Where the property is let, it is assessed in the usual way.

[Special rules apply where a person over age 66 changes accommodation � see Assessment of Means Guideline, under the heading 'Property Offered for Sale']

Case No. 53 (previously 52):
Travel expenses of Working Spouse

Q. Mr. J is in receipt of JA. His wife works in a firm which is 30 kilometres away and drives there by car every day. Mr. J is arguing that since his wife has driving expenses of �30 a week, a disregard for that amount should be allowed. Should these expenses be allowed?

A. With the introduction in September 2007 of the revised means test for JA, travel expenses cannot be deducted when calculating means.

Case No. 54 (previously 53):
No means disregard in respect of maintenance payments

Q. Mr. N has recently claimed JA. He has been assessed with means of �150 from self-employment. He is separated from his wife and up to now had been paying her maintenance of �100 a week on foot of a court order. He has asked that this amount be disregarded in assessing his means. Is this in order?

A. No. There is no provision whereby maintenance payments made to another person can be offset against income from self-employment (or employment). Income from self-employment must, accordingly, be assessed in full, allowing only for expenses incurred directly in earning that income [ Rule 1 (2) of Part 2 of the Third Schedule]. Therefore the full �150 is assessed as means.

If Mrs. N is not cohabiting and does not have other income exceeding �300 weekly, Mr. N will be entitled to an Increase for Qualified Adult in respect of her if he is paying maintenance equal to or above the IQA rate.[ Article 7 (2) of S.I. 142 of 2007]

Case No. 55 (previously 54):
Means disregard in respect of partner making maintenance payments

Q. Ms. K has claimed JA. She is living as husband and wife with Mr. W and has been assessed with means from his earnings (�500 per week). Recently Mr. W has been ordered by the Courts to pay his separated wife maintenance of �80 a week. Should this amount be disregarded in calculating Ms. K's means?

A. No. There is no provision whereby maintenance payments made by a spouse/partner to another person can be offset against their income from employment or self-employment. Income from employment must, accordingly, be assessed in full, allowing only for such disregards as are generally applicable. In the case of Jobseeker's Allowance, his earnings for means test purposes are �500 per week.

The following items, if applicable, are disregarded when assessing means from the earnings from the employment of a spouse or partner:

  • social insurance contributions, the Health contribution, superannuation contributions including Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVCs) and contributions to a PRSA and trade union contributions.

�20 per day worked, subject to a maximum of �60 per week, is also disregarded and the balance of earnings is assessed at 60%.

[ Rule 1(2) of Part 2 of Schedule 3 of the SW Consolidation Act 2005 and Article 153 of S.I. 142 of 2007]

Case No. 56 (previously 76):
Means assessment where Maintenance Payments not received

Q. Mrs. G is separated from her husband and is entitled to maintenance payments of �100 a week from him under a Court Order. She is in receipt of JA and the maintenance payments have been assessed against her as means. But she has recently notified that Mr. G has defaulted on the payments. Should she continue to be assessed with these payments as means?

A. Provided you are satisfied that she is not receiving the maintenance payments and that she has taken, and continues to take, all reasonable steps to enforce entitlement, Mrs. G should not be assessed with them. For example, if the reason why Mr. G has defaulted was because of his inability to pay, or if it is established that, for other reasons, there is no point in her pursuing her legal entitlement, no assessment should be made. The position should be kept under continuous review. But if you conclude from the evidence that Mrs. G has failed to take reasonable steps to secure the payments, she may continue to be assessed with that amount for means purposes on the grounds that she has "directly or indirectly deprived herself" of that income. [ Rule 1(4) of Part 2 Third Schedule of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005]

Case No. 57 (previously 108):
Means of JA claimant where spouse is studying nursing.

Q. Mr. E has applied for JA. His wife is studying nursing, and is receiving a grant to attend college. Is the grant payable to Mrs. E assessable as means on her husband's JA claim?

A. Nursing qualifications are now acquired by means of third level courses, and there are no longer specific grants for those studying nursing. They may qualify for a Local Authority Higher Education grant. The maintenance portion of such a grant is not assessable as means for JA.

Case No. 58 (previously 119):
Means from land let under Afforestation agreements

Q. Mr. J has applied for Jobseeker's Allowance. He is the owner of 55 acres of land.

  1. He has let 42 acres under the Coillte Farm Forestry Partnership scheme.
  2. He is in receipt of an Afforestation Grant from the Forest Service in the Department of Communications Marine and Natural Resources in respect of another 6 acres, which has been planted.
  3. The remaining 7 acres are lying idle.

Should he be assessed with the capital value of the 55 acres?

A. The income from the land let under the Farm Forestry Partnership is assessable as cash income. Land let under the Farm Forestry Partnership is let for a 40 year term. The landowner retains ownership of the land. Coillte Teoranta (The Irish Forestry Board) plants, maintains and sells the crop. Under this scheme the lessor is given an advance payment for 20 years, which is based on the size of the plantation, 80% of the thinning profit for 17 years and 60% of clear fell profits at year 40. If the landowner dies or retires or if he sells the 42 acres, the successor takes over the ownership and the partnership with Coillte continues until the full 40 years has expired.

In general, if land is let and the legal possession of the land is not passed to the person or body leasing it, capital value is not assessed.

The monies paid to Mr. K by the Department of Marine and Natural Resources, under its Afforestation Grant Scheme are not assessable as means.

A capital assessment may be applied to the remaining 7 acres, which Mr. K has left lying idle. Rule 1 (a) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule provides that the weekly value of property, which is not personally used by the claimant or his spouse and that property is invested or put to profitable use or is capable of being, but is not, invested or put to profitable use, the capital value of such property constitutes the weekly means of the claimant. If this land is capable of being put to profitable use, the capital value is assessable as means.

The assessment in this case is as follows:

  1. Income received from the 42 acres let under the Farm Forestry Partnership with Coillte Teoranta and
  2. Capital Value of the 7 acres that are lying idle.

Case No. 59 (previously 92):
Assessment of JA claimant's earnings from Sunday employment

Q. Mr. D has been on JA at the rate of �197.80 a week. He has recently started to work every Saturday and Sunday, being paid �70 net for Saturday and �100 net for the Sunday. PRSI contributions at Class A are paid by the employer. As Sunday is not counted as part of the JA week, is it correct to disregard Sunday earnings when assessing means?

A. No. Sunday earnings are reckonable when calculating the weekly and the daily means. Gross earnings less deductions (PRSI, Union, superannuation and AVC's) = assessable earnings.

In Mr. D's case his means would be calculated as follows:

Weekly means = assessable earnings received for working on Saturday (�70) and Sunday (�100) minus disregard of �40 (�20 disregard per day worked up to a maximum of 3 days) = �130, multiplied by 60% = �78. Persons claiming JA must have weekly means of less than the appropriate maximum rate of JA payable in order to qualify.

Daily Means = assessable earnings received for Saturday (�70) and Sunday (�100) = �170 divided by number of days worked (2) = �85 (this is the average daily earnings) minus �20 (disregard for 1 day worked) = �65 multiplied by 60% = �39.

The earnings for Sunday are taken into account when determining the means of a customer for JA. As we do not pay for Sunday, no means are deducted for Sunday.

The weekly rate of JA payable to Mr. D will be the maximum weekly rate payable in his case minus means in respect of Saturday only i.e. �197.80 less �39 = �158.80.

So if Mr. D's average weekly means were higher than �197.80 he would not be entitled to JA and his claim would be disallowed on the following grounds: his weekly means are more than the amount of Jobseeker's Allowance payable to the family based on family circumstances "Does not satisfy the condition as to means" (Section 141(1)(c) applies).

SELF EMPLOYMENT

Case No. 60 (previously 87):
C45 worker and entitlement to JB/JA

Q. Mr. McB is a construction worker who has been paying tax under the C45 system. He has recently claimed JB saying that he is not going to work any more at C45 work. (i) Can he be paid JB? (ii) If he were to claim JA instead, would his C45 employment earnings over the last year be assessed against him?

A. In dealing with claims from C45 workers the circumstances of each case need to be carefully checked in the light of local conditions and the relevant trade. In this case, if you are satisfied that Mr. McB's C45 employment has ceased and that he is looking for work, payment of JB can be authorised provided he satisfies the other conditions.

As regards the JA question, the assessment of his means would normally be based on his income over the last 12 months, unless there is reason to show that the income would be different over the coming year. If you were satisfied that Mr. Mc B had ceased to be a C45 worker and that he is not likely to engage in such work in the following year, then his income from the previous year in C45 employment should not be assessed as means.

Case No. 61 (previously 112):
Expenses related to self-employment

Q. Mr. R is in receipt of JA. He is a self-employed carpenter and has recently purchased a van at a cost of �25,400 for use in his business. In assessing his means should this cost be set off against his income?

A. The van is a business asset, the purchase of which increases Mr. R's capital. But since the capital value of a business is not taken into account in the assessment of means, increases or decreases in the capital value are ignored.

However, it is normal practice in assessing the means of persons who are self-employed to allow for depreciation and running costs of machinery or equipment that is directly related to the running of the business. In assessing Mr. R's means, therefore, allowance should be made for depreciation of the van and the running costs of the vehicle (insofar as the costs were incurred on the business).

Note:
(1) if Mr. R had taken out a bank loan to buy the van, interest payable on the loan would be allowable;
(2) if he had instead bought the van by hire purchase, the repayments would be allowed in full as an outgoing.

BOARD & LODGING

Case No. 62 (previously 94):
Foster Child not to be assessed with means from Board and Lodging

Q. Ms. H, aged 19 years, claimed JA recently. She is living at home with her foster parents, both of whom are in employment. Should means from their income be assessed in respect of the value to her of Board and Lodging?

A. No. Means derived from Board and Lodging should only be assessed where the claimant is living in the home of his/her natural parents or adoptive parents.

Case No. 63 (previously 140):
Assessment of Benefit and Privilege

Q. I have received an application for Jobseeker's Allowance. Claimant is 20 years of age and lives with his mother and her cohabiting partner. They are not married. The mother's partner is working with gross earnings of �590 per week. The mother is in receipt of JB. How do I assess B&P on the claimants Jobseeker's Allowance claim?

A. From 1st February 2006 JA customers aged 25 and over are not assessed with their parents' income ( household income Rule 1 (10) of Part 2 of Schedule 3).

In this case as the claimant is 20 years of age he would be assessed with his parents' (household) income. All Social Welfare and HSE payments are included as income for B&P purposes (except those listed below). The partner's earnings are treated in the normal manner i.e. net income is calculated as the gross income less income tax, PRSI, VHI, HSF, superannuation and union dues and rent/mortgage.

Gross earnings �590 - (Income Tax 40 + PRSI 26 + VHI 20 + Union Dues 10)

Net Wages (�590 minus �96) �494.00
Partners net earnings of �494.00
Mother's JB payment �197.80
Total Income �691.80
Less rent �50.00
  �641.80
   
  �641.80
Less parental Allowance
(Two Parent Allowance
�600.00
  �41.80 x 34% = �14.21
Rounded to �14
Weekly means are �14

The following Social Welfare payments are not included when calculating household income for B&P: National and Smokeless Fuel Allowance, Child Benefit, Early Childcare Supplement, Respite Care Grant and Guardian Payment.

HSE payments that are not included as income for B&P are Domiciliary Care Allowance, Blind Welfare Allowance, Mobility Allowance, Infectious Diseases Maintenance Allowance, and Foster Care Allowance.

STUDENTS

Case No. 64 (previously 64):
JA following Post-leaving Course

Q. Ms. T finished school in June 2007 after doing the Leaving Cert. In September she enrolled in a one-year Post-Leaving Cert. (PLC) course at the local VEC. She finished that course in May 2008 and claimed JA. Is she entitled to payment of JA or should she be disqualified on the ground that she is attending a course of study?

A. JA is payable in this case because the PLC is finished. Under the legislation a person who has been attending a course of education is regarded as continuing to attend that course for the period immediately following the completion of one academic year up to the commencement of the following academic year. In the normal way, therefore, a student is disqualified for JA for this period. However, the legislation also provides that disqualification does not apply where the person has completed 'the final academic year of a course of study'. As the PLC that Ms. T attended was a one-year course, it was the final academic year for this purpose and, therefore, JA is payable from May 2008 onwards. (If the PLC had been a 2 year course, disqualification would be appropriate as the final academic year would not have been completed.) [Section 148(3)(c) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005]

Case No. 65 (previously 65):
JB while on part-time educational course

Q. Mr. W is an apprentice electrician. As part of his apprenticeship he attends classes at the VEC every Thursday. He was made redundant recently and is now in receipt of JB. He continues to attend class on Thursdays - can he be paid JB for that day?

A. Yes, claimants who engage in part-time education courses are entitled to draw JA or JB provided they can show that they remain available for and genuinely seeking work. Once the Deciding Officer is satisfied that the education course is being pursued on a genuine part-time basis, the claimant may draw JA/JB for days of attendance at school or college, whether the class-hours are compressed into one or two days or spread over the full week. In this case, it appears clear that Mr. W is engaged in a part-time course.

Case No. 66 (previously 66):
Payment for JA/JB while sitting an examination

Q. Ms. R has been in receipt of JA for the last year. She has been studying for the Leaving Certificate in her spare time and has been attending evening classes at the local VEC. She is due to sit the Leaving Cert. examination shortly on various days and half-days over a two-week period. Is she entitled to be paid JA for the exam days?

A. Yes, as Ms. R is participating in a part-time educational course she may be paid JA for any days on which s/he sits an examination for that course. This would also apply if the part-time course consisted of attending classes on odd days during the week.

Case No. 67 (previously 84):
No JA for mature student during Christmas/Easter holidays

Q. Ms. O'M is aged 30. She claimed JA in May 2007 after being abroad for a number of years. She began a four year degree course at TCD in autumn 2007. She was refused TLA because she was not on JA long enough. She claimed and was paid JA for the Christmas 2007 college vacation. But when she claimed JA for the Easter 2008 vacation, she was disqualified for JA because the Deciding Officer considered that during the vacation she was following a course of study within the meaning of Section 148 of the 2005 Social Welfare Consolidation Act. She appealed that decision and the Appeals Officer allowed the appeal on the basis that the provision invoked by the Deciding Officer did not apply in her case. Does this mean that mature students generally have to be paid for Christmas/Easter holiday periods?

A. No, in the normal way a mature student is not entitled to JA (or JB) during the short vacations i.e. Easter/Christmas, but the decision should be based on availability, not Section 148 of the Act. Section 148 provides that a person who is following a course of study is disqualified for JA for the duration of the academic year including periods between academic years "other than in such circumstances and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed". However regulations made under that section provide that a person shall not be disqualified for receiving JA while attending a course of study "{within the meaning of section 148 where that person is a mature student}". [Article 121 (a) of S.I.42 of 2007]

This was the reasoning behind the Appeals Officer's decision to allow Ms. O'M's appeal in this instance. However, there is another provision that is relevant in these cases. It has long been held by Deciding Officers (and Appeals Officers) that persons following a full-time education course by day are not entitled to JA/JB during the short vacations on the grounds that they are not available for work within the meaning of Section 141 (4)(c) of the 2005 Social Welfare Consolidation Act. The basis for this view is that the time restriction during these breaks effectively curtails a student's availability. So, this is the appropriate provision to be applied by Deciding Officers in the case of mature students who claim JA during the Easter /Christmas breaks.

STRIKE PROVISIONS

Trade Dispute Provision

Social Welfare legislation provides that a person who has lost his/her employment because of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute is disqualified for receiving JB or JA other than in certain defined circumstances. Determining whether disqualification applies or not can be very difficult - each case is different and has to be looked at very carefully to establish the facts of the situation.

We hope that the following hypothetical cases [No's: 68 - 77] help clarify the critical elements to be taken into account by the Deciding Officer in determining whether disqualification applies or not. However, please be aware that these cases are rather simplistic and that in practice there could be other factors present which would have to be considered and which could lead to a different decision.

The Four key elements:

The Deciding Officer has to determine whether:

  1. there is a trade dispute and
  2. it is at the claimant's place of employment and
  3. it has resulted in a stoppage and
  4. the claimant has lost employment as a result of the stoppage (including whether the stoppage has ended).

If all 4 elements are not present, disqualification does not apply. If all 4 elements are present, the claimant can avoid disqualification only if s/he can show that s/he is not participating in or directly interested in the dispute.

Note:
The Deciding Officer is solely concerned with determining the facts of the situation in relation to the four elements mentioned above. Accordingly, the merits of the dispute or whether the parties have acted reasonably is not relevant to his/her decision. However, the circumstances of the dispute can be relevant if the case is referred to the Social Welfare Tribunal for determination [Sections 331 - 333 of the 2005 Social Welfare Consolidation Act].

Trade Disputes and Qualified Adults on other Social Welfare claims

A person who is disqualified for JA or JB because of a trade dispute, or would be if s/he made such a claim, cannot be accepted as a qualified adult on a spouse's claim for any social welfare payment. [Section 2(2) (iv) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005.]

Case No. 68 (previously 55):
All workers on strike

Q. A company which manufactures steel goods employs clerical staff, production workers and skilled workers (fitters, electricians, etc.). The clerical and production workers are members of a different trade union to the skilled workers. A dispute arose in the company concerning its proposals to dismiss four clerical workers on grounds of redundancy. The Unions objected to the proposed dismissals mainly on the grounds that the selection of the people to be let go breached the principle 'last in, first out'. When negotiations failed to resolve the problem, strike notice was served and a strike of the clerical workers commenced with an ordinary picket. All the other workers at the factory (production and skilled workers) supported the clerical workers and refused to pass the picket. Are all the workers subject to disqualification of JB?

A. Yes, because all 4 elements (i) to (iv) are present. None of the workers escape disqualification. Those not directly involved (production and skilled workers) are participating in the strike.

Case No. 69 (previously 56):
Separate place of employment

Q. A supermarket chain has its own bakery in one branch that services all the other branches. A strike at the bakery results in the sales staff at the bakery counter in all branches being laid off. The counter staff are members of a different union to the bakery staff and are not participating and do not stand to gain from the dispute. Are counter staff disqualified because they work for the same employer?

A. No, disqualification would not be appropriate to any of the counter staff because the bakery could be regarded as a separate place of employment to the sales counter i.e. element (ii) above is not present. But note that if the counter staff stood to gain from the dispute or if they supported it by withdrawing their labour, it would mean that there is a dispute at their place of employment and they would be subject to disqualification.

Case No. 70 (previously 57):
Sit-in following closure

Q. A company closes down pending the sale of the plant to a new owner, and the staff are given their P45s. They dispute the terms of redundancy, and stage a sit-in in the factory, hoping to negotiate terms of employment with the prospective buyers. Are they disqualified?

A. No, because the stoppage of work is not due to a trade dispute. Instead, work stopped as a result of the employer's business decision to sell the plant.

Case No. 71 (previously 58):
Part-time worker involved in a strike

Q. A bus-driver was working 3 days a week and claiming JB for the other 3 days. The bus company closed down during a dispute, in which the driver was participating. Should the disqualification be applied for the full week or only for the 3 days he was normally working?

A. Only 3 days employment was lost because of the stoppage. For the other 3 days JB may be paid, because the loss of employment on these days is not due to the dispute.

Case No. 72 (previously 59):
Work resumption delayed after settlement of dispute

Q. Workers in a heavy engineering plant have settled their dispute with management. However they cannot be re-employed until maintenance (which became necessary because of the shut-down of the machinery during the dispute) has been carried out. Can the disqualification be lifted because the dispute has ended?

A. No, because the continuing stoppage of work is due to the trade dispute.

Case No. 73 (previously 60):
Work resumption delayed by other causes

Q. Workers are unable to return to work following a settlement of the dispute because the premises were flooded due to a bad storm. Can the disqualification be lifted?

A. Yes. In this case, the disqualification ceases to apply following the settlement of the dispute.

Case No. 74 (previously 61):
Person not involved in a dispute but has a direct interest

Q. Workers at a food processing plant were advised by the company that it proposed to introduce changes in work practices at the plant. One of the changes involved was linked to a National Pay Award. Three of the four categories of workers employed at the plant accepted the company's proposals; the fourth category did not accept. The company decided to close the plant until all workers had agreed to the proposals.

A. Although three categories of the workers were happy with the company's proposal and were prepared to continue working, they had, nonetheless, lost their employment by reason of a stoppage of work due to a trade dispute. Their claims for JB would therefore be disqualified. As they had a direct interest in the trade dispute (they stood to gain or lose by the outcome of the dispute) they would not escape disqualification under the proviso.

Case No. 75 (previously 62):
Employment elsewhere during strike

Q. A worker involved in a long-running dispute at her place of employment, goes to England and works there for 4 months. On losing her job there, she returns to Ireland to seek further employment. The trade dispute at her previous place of employment is still continuing but she says she is willing to take up employment wherever she can find it and is not waiting for the settlement of that dispute. Should the disqualification be re-imposed because the dispute is still continuing?

A. No, provided the person concerned can satisfy the Deciding Officer that she was genuinely employed elsewhere (i.e. that her employment in England was not a sham to avoid disqualification), she can be considered to have no longer lost employment due to the stoppage of work.

Case No. 76 (previously 63):
Temporary employment on another site by same employer

Q. The labourers employed directly by the main contractor on a large building site are involved in an unofficial dispute, and place pickets on the site. Labourers employed by a sub-contractor refuse to pass the picket; some of them are re-deployed by their employer to another site for a few weeks, but are then laid off as he has no other work for them. Do they escape disqualification because of their employment elsewhere?

A. No. The underlying reason why they are out of work is that they are refusing to pass the picket on the large building site, and therefore participating in the dispute. The few weeks work for the same employer on another site would not constitute 'becoming employed elsewhere' for this purpose.

Case No. 77 (previously 75):
Rate of IQC where spouse is on strike

Q. Mrs. Y has claimed Illness Benefit for herself and two children. Her husband is currently on strike and has been disqualified for JB under the trade dispute provision. Is an Increase for a Qualified Child (IQC) payable to Mrs. Y and, if so, should it be at full or half rate?

A. Mr. Y, being disqualified for JB because of his involvement in a trade dispute, is not a Qualified Adult. Therefore, as in any case where a claimant's spouse is not a Qualified Adult, Mrs. Y is entitled to IQC at half-rate.

JA � INMATE OF INSTITUTION

Case No. 78 (previously 89):
No JA for Inmate of Institution

Q. Mr. Mc Q is disabled and is wheel-chair bound. He is residing in a Cheshire Home where his meals are provided free. He also gets pocket money for his own personal needs. He is not paying anything towards the cost of his accommodation but would be expected to make a contribution if he received income - he has been self-employed as a disabled artist. He has recently made a claim for Jobseeker's Allowance on the basis that he is available for and genuinely seeking work. We have established that the Cheshire Home where Mr. Mc Q is staying is funded by the Health Service Executive. Is there anything in the JA legislation which would preclude payments of JA in this case?

A. The legislation governing the JA Scheme includes a provision that a claimant shall be disqualified for receiving JA while he or she "is an inmate of an institution maintained wholly or partly out of public moneys or by a local authority". [Section 147 (1) (a) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005]

The term 'inmate' is not defined in social welfare legislation but its usual meaning is a person confined in an institution.

The term 'institution' is not defined in the JA legislation; it is, however, defined for Disability Allowance purposes as follows: "institution" means a hospital, convalescent home or home for people suffering from physical or mental disability or ancillary accommodation, nursing home for the care and maintenance of dependent elderly people and any other similar establishment providing residence, maintenance or care where the cost of a person's maintenance in that institution is being met in whole or in part by or on behalf of the Executive;". [Section 209 (1) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005] It seems to us to be reasonable for Deciding Officers to apply this definition of 'institution' when considering whether a person is an inmate of an institution for the purposes of the JA disqualification.

The Cheshire Home Foundation provides residential accommodation and sheltered housing to people with physical disabilities in Cheshire Homes and projects which exist throughout the country. As the Cheshire Home in which Mr. Mc Q is staying is funded by the HSE, it is our view that it is an 'institution' within the meaning of the legislation and that Mr. Mc Q is an inmate. We would accordingly consider disqualification appropriate in this case.

AVAILABILITY/GENUINELY SEEKING WORKM

Case No. 79 (previously 97):
Search for work by JA/JB claimants to be widened in time.

This case was commented upon by the Chief Appeals Officer in his Annual Report for 1998 and highlights the need for an unemployed person to conduct a genuine and realistic search for work.

CAO's comments
"If after a time, it is evident that employment is not obtainable in a claimant's preferred occupation, the person is expected to turn their attention to and look for other employment which might be suitable. Where it becomes clear that there is no reasonable prospect of obtaining the desired employment and a person, nevertheless, is not prepared to widen their search and look for suitable alternative employment, then the genuinely seeking employment condition is not satisfied. [Persisting in confining the search for employment to unrealistic ambitions is little different to the position of a person who is not looking for employment at all.]"

Background:
Ms. G, aged 33, returned to live in Dublin after 10 years abroad as an au pair. She completed a F�S approved course on acting and then claimed Jobseeker's Allowance. She told the local office that she had made efforts to get work as a receptionist, as a sales assistant and as a tourist guide; she also said she would be prepared to take other types of unspecified work. Some 7 weeks after the claim was in payment, Ms. G was interviewed by the Deciding Officer about her search for work and was asked whether she had sought the assistance of F�S for information about available jobs. She said that she was not prepared to make use of the service of F�S because she considered that, if needs be, she would go to private employment agencies.

Deciding Officer's Decision: In the light of this response and having regard to the widespread demand in the city for sales assistants and to the openings for receptionists, the Deciding Officer disallowed further payment of JA, on the grounds that she was not genuinely seeking work.

Appeal:
In her written appeal submission Ms. G contended that the ground for disallowing her claim was untenable as she had informed the Deciding Officer of her efforts to get work. At the appeal hearing she gave particulars of contacts she had had with different enterprises which engaged acting and theatrical staff. She also told of some contacts she had made with stores about employment as a sales assistant.

Appeals Officer's Decision:
Commenting on the evidence the Appeals Officer noted the various efforts by Ms. G to find employment in acting. He considered, however, that in regard to seeking or accepting main stream jobs for which she was qualified, until such time as employment in acting transpired, the evidence was not persuasive. He did not consider that she was applying her mind to securing work in the range of employments for which she was qualified but was instead concentrating on a particular and narrow field of employment in which there was a very limited number of opportunities. He accordingly disallowed the appeal.

Case No. 80 (previously 105):
'Disadvantaged' JA claimants

Q. In a report on a recent appeal case where a JA claimant had appealed against a 'Genuinely Seeking Work' disallowance, the Appeals Officer referred to the appellant as "disadvantaged". Could you explain what the Appeals Officer meant by this?

A. The Chief Appeals Officer referred to this matter in his Annual Report for 2000 as follows (Note in particular the need for Deciding Officers, in giving their comments on the grounds put forward by appellants in such cases, to refer to any measures that have been taken to help the person to become job ready):

"Of particular concern to Appeals Officers - as indeed it is to the Department � are claimants who, because of factors such as illiteracy, some impaired physical or mental abilities, or a socially deprived background, are at a real disadvantage in securing employment. Where there are indications that an appellant is disadvantaged, Appeals Officers have asked that the Department's comments (obligatory on all appeals) include full briefing on measures which have been taken to help the person to become job ready. Such measures would include availing of the Department's local job facilitator or of assessment/training by FAS. Consideration of the appeal by Appeals Officers is greatly facilitated where such documentation is available, particularly where the Deciding Officer may not be available to present the Department's case at the hearing".

Case No. 81 (previously 107):
Person who made himself unavailable for work by moving to a remote area

Q. Mr. H is single and was working in a factory in this area until recently when he opted to go to live about 60 kilometres away in a rural area where there are no factories. He has made a postal claim for JB and in response to a question about the efforts he had made to get work since coming here; he said that he was looking for work but that there was no suitable work available in the area. Is he entitled to be paid JB?

A. From what you say, Mr. H has removed himself from a place of good job opportunities to an area in which there is little or no work to be found. He is accordingly placing limitations of distance on his availability for employment, such that he has deprived himself of a reasonable opportunity of getting employment. In these circumstances we would consider that there are good grounds for disallowance of Mr. H's claim to JB, as he does not appear to satisfy the 'available for work' condition.

JA - FOREIGN WORKER

Case No. 82 (previously 104):
JA for foreign worker on fixed work contract.

Q. Mr. Z is from Zanzibar and came to Ireland to work in a meat factory, having secured a 12-month work permit in respect of that employer from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. However, because of a downturn in business, Mr. Z was recently laid off work by the employer who says that he may employ him again, if business picks up. In the meantime Mr. Z has claimed JA. Can he be regarded as available for work for JA purposes?

A. As he is from Zanzibar, for visa purposes Mr. Z falls into the category of a national from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Such nationals may be issued with a visa that allows them to work in this State for a fixed period with a named employer.

Following discussions with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and also with the Department of Justice and Law Reform, it has been confirmed that non-EEA Nationals are legally allowed to reside in the State until the expiry of their visa, even if they have lost their employment prior to the expiry date.

There is no restriction preventing a non-EEA national who suffers a loss of employment (including being put on short-time) from being able to demonstrate availability for full-time employment for the period up to the expiry of the visa.

It is very important to check whether customer has an entitlement to JB before checking the customer's entitlement to JA. If a Non EEA national loses their employment he/she may have an entitlement to JB until the expiry date on his /her visa subject to satisfying all the conditions for JB.

In cases where the non-EEA national does not have an entitlement to JB his/her eligibility for JA should be examined. Customer may have an entitlement to JA subject to satisfying all the conditions which includes the habitual residence condition (HRC). Mr. Z may accordingly be paid JB up to the expiry date of his visa if he qualifies for JB or JA in the event that he does not qualify for JB but he qualifies for JA. As a non-EEA national he will not have his permission to stay in Ireland renewed unless he is in possession of a valid work permit at the time of renewal.

JA/JB PENDING ILLNESS BENEFIT APPEAL

Case No. 83 (previously 111):
Payment of JA/JB pending Illness Benefit appeal

Q. Following examination by a Medical Assessor, Mrs. B was disallowed Illness Benefit on the grounds that she was capable of work. She appealed the decision and continued to submit medical certificates. Pending the outcome of her appeal, she lodged a claim for Jobseeker's Benefit. The local office has learned from her previous employer that Mrs. B's position is still vacant and that it is open to her to return to work. However, she refuses to go back to work on the grounds that she still considers herself incapable of work. Should she be paid JB pending the outcome of Illness Benefit Appeal or should a disallowance be imposed on the grounds that she is not available/genuinely seeking work?

A. In cases of this kind it is normal for Deciding Officers to await the outcome of the Illness Benefit appeal before pursuing the question of availability/GSW. So, JB may be paid to Mrs. B until then. However, if the 'capable' decision is upheld by the Appeals Officer, all of the conditions for receipt of JA/JB should be applied within a reasonable period and if she were to persist in refusing to return to her job without good reason, disallowance on grounds of being "Not Available/not GSW" would be indicated.

FARM ASSIST

Case No. 84 (previously 98):
Family Farms and Farm Assist

Q. Mr. F owns a farm of land but is no longer actively involved in running the farm because of poor health. The farm is being run jointly by his wife, Mrs. F, and their eldest son, Tom. Which of them may claim Farm Assist?

A. Both Mrs. F and Tom may claim Farm Assist. Mr. F is not entitled to claim if he has no part in the running of the farm. With regard to Mrs. F and Tom, entitlement to Farm Assist is not dependent on ownership of the farm. For Farm Assist purposes a farmer is defined as a person who is farming farmland including commonage, which -

  1. is owned, and used for the purposes of husbandry,
  2. is leased, and used for the purposes of husbandry, or
  3. does not form part of a larger holding and is used for the purposes of husbandry.

For the purposes of the Act, a person may qualify as a farmer under (a) or (b) or (c) above. Where a son/daughter is working on a family farm and sharing in the profits of the farm with parents, s/he may also claim Farm Assist. However, if s/he is working the farm in return for a wage instead of sharing the profits, s/he is not considered to be a farmer as defined in the Act, and does not qualify for Farm Assist.

(Where a married couple are both involved in running the farm, both may apply for Farm Assist. A limitation applies to the rate payable, so that the combined payments do not exceed the married rate.)


REVISED DECISIONS

Case No. 85 (previously 21):
Fraud Cases

Q. In what circumstances should a Deciding Officer apply Section 302(a)?

A. 302(a) applies where fraud is involved. Fraud for this purpose means that the person deliberately gave false or misleading information or deliberately failed to disclose relevant information, either on the claim form, or on another enquiry form, or at an interview. In order to base a decision on this section 302(a), the Deciding Officer has to be satisfied that the person:

  • deliberately gave information knowing it to be false or to be misleading in a material respect,
    or
  • deliberately withheld information knowing it to be material to the question of entitlement.

In all cases where the Deciding Officer decides to apply Section 302(a), the decision should be applied with retrospective effect.

Note:
In fraud cases it is particularly important that the Deciding Officer states clearly as part of the decision that he or she has applied the provisions of subsection 302(a). This clarifies the opinion of the Deciding Officer in the event of an appeal or if consideration is given to taking legal proceedings.

Case No. 86 (previously 22):
Effective date of revised decisions made under section 302(b)

Q. When should section 302(b) be applied retrospectively and when from a current date?

A. Section 302(b) allows a Deciding Officer, in making a revised decision in the light of new facts or new evidence to decide that it shall take effect either from a current or from a retrospective date. Section 302(b) should be applied with retrospective effect if:

  • new facts have occurred since the person claimed the social welfare payment in question, or if new evidence has come to light which was not available at claim stage and the person was aware of the new facts or evidence but failed to report this information to the Department, or
  • it is not possible for the Deciding Officer to establish that the person willfully concealed the facts on a previous interview or enquiry but the Deciding Officer is satisfied that the person could reasonably have been expected to be aware of the new facts (or evidence) and their relevance.

Circumstances where it would be appropriate to revise a decision under 302(b) with effect from a current date include cases where the Deciding Officer is satisfied that:

  • the person could not reasonably have been expected to know the relevance of the new fact,
    or
  • the person was not aware of the undisclosed evidence at the point when s/he made the claim or subsequently,
    or
  • the evidence on which the decision was based was defective in a material respect through no fault of the person concerned e.g. arithmetical error in means report.

Case No. 87 (previously 23):
New Facts or New Evidence

Q. What constitutes "new facts or new evidence" in the context of Section 302(b)?

A. An example of a new fact is where a qualified adult has commenced employment since the person claimed the SW payment. An example of new evidence is where it comes to light that a person had not disclosed a bank account when claiming a meanstested Social Welfare payment but, as the amount was small and the account had been dormant for a long time, it is accepted that the non-disclosure was a genuine oversight by the person.

Case No. 88 (previously 24):
Applying section 302(c)

Q. When should section 302(c) be applied?

A. 302 (c) applies where a decision has to be revised but neither subsection 302 (a) nor subsection 302 (b) is appropriate, i.e. the reason for revising the decision is not because the person concerned deliberately gave false/misleading information or deliberately withheld relevant information and is not because new facts or new evidence have come to light. The kind of circumstances where sub-section 302 (c) may be applicable would include cases where:

  • the Deciding Officer who made the original decision authorized the claim in error or made a mistake in striking the rate payable,
  • the Deciding Officer concludes that the original decision was incorrect because of a wrong interpretation of the legislation.

Case No. 89 (previously 25):
Effective date of revised decisions made under section 302(c)

Q. Is section 302(c) always to be applied from a current date?

A. Obviously where a customer was underpaid because of a wrong calculation or interpretation by the Deciding Officer, the position must be rectified by way of a revised decision awarding the correct entitlement from a retrospective date. In the vast majority of cases where an entitlement is being reduced, revised decisions made in accordance with 302 (c) should have effect from a current date. However, in cases where a person has been overpaid on foot of a decision which was wrong and the Deciding Officer is satisfied that the person knew the decision was wrong but deliberately omitted to bring the matter to the attention of the Department, it could be appropriate to apply the decision with retrospective effect.

Case No. 90 (previously 26):
Spouse in employment when claim made

Q. Mr. A claimed JB on 1st November 2007. He was awarded an increase of JB for his spouse on the basis of his statement that she was not working. However, in September 2008 it came to light that Mrs. A was in employment at the time of Mr. A's claim and had been working continuously since then. Her wages are �400 a week. Mr. A has been interviewed and has admitted that when claiming JB he had knowingly made a false statement that his wife was not employed. Which sub-section of section 302 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 should the Deciding Officer apply?

A. The increase of JB paid to Mr. A in respect of his spouse should be disallowed on the grounds that she was not a qualified adult within the meaning of Social Welfare legislation from 1st November 2007 onwards. The Deciding Officer should revise the decision and make it effective from 1st November 2007 in accordance with section 302(a).

Case No. 91 (previously 27):
Spouse starts work after claim is made

Q. Mr. B claimed JB on 1st November 2007. He was awarded an increase of JB for his spouse on the basis of his statement that she was not working. In July 2008 it came to light that Mrs. B had commenced full-time employment on 1st March 2008 and had been working continuously since then. Her wages are �200 a week. Mr. B had not notified the Department of this change in his circumstances. He has been interviewed about the matter and stated that his wife told him she was only receiving wages of �90 a week. He said he thought he only had to notify the Department if her earnings were over �100 a week. However, the Deciding Officer does not accept Mr. B's story. Which sub-section of section 302 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 should the Deciding Officer apply?

A. The increase of JB paid to Mr. B in respect of his spouse should be reviewed on the grounds that he was not entitled a full-rate IQA payment from March 1st. The Deciding Officer should revise the decision in accordance with Section 302(b) and make it effective from 1st March 2008.

Note the difference between Cases 90 and 91
In Case No. 78 the false statement made by Mr. A on his claim clearly constituted fraud. In Case No. 79, fraud could not be proved because Mr. B had not been asked about his wife's position between April and October and had therefore not deliberately made a false statement. However the Deciding Officer concluded that Mr. B was aware of the need to report a change of circumstances, and did not accept that he was ignorant of his wife's true earnings, so the decision is made retrospective.

Case No. 92 (previously 28):
Pensioner dies leaving undisclosed means

Q. Ms. C had been in receipt of full-rate SPNC since 2005 on the basis of nil means. Following her death in September 2008 it came to light that she had received an inheritance of �40,000 in July 2006 which she had lodged to a bank account. The bank account shows regular lodgements and withdrawals by her between 2006 and 2008. She had not notified the Department of this change in her circumstances. Which sub-section of section 302 should the Deciding Officer apply?

A. Ms. Cs means should be reassessed having regard to the undisclosed capital from 2006. As she was not interviewed between July 2006 and her death, there was no fraudulent statement and wilful concealment cannot be proved, so section 302(a) is not appropriate. The receipt of the inheritance is a new fact, so the decision should be made in accordance with Section 302(b). It is departmental policy to give three months before assessing the change. In this particular case the change would be effected from 1 st November as we do not consider part months. It should be noted that the three months is proper to SPNC and Blind Pension only. Therefore the decision should be applied with effect from 1st November 2006 on the basis of the available evidence that Ms. C was aware of her increased means and should have notified the Department within 3 months about the position.

Case No. 93 (previously 29):
Pensioner not aware of change of circumstances

Q. Mr. D had been in receipt of full-rate SPNC since 2000 on the basis of nil means. Following his death in August 2008 it came to light that he had a bank account since April 2004 containing a balance of �40,000. He had not notified the Department of this capital. However, evidence is now put forward that this money had been lodged to his bank account by his sister and that, because of his poor mental state of mind, Mr. D had not known that she had done this. Which sub-section of section 302 should the Deciding Officer apply?

A. Mr. D's means should be reassessed having regard to the undisclosed capital from April 2004. If the Deciding Officer is satisfied there is adequate evidence that Mr. D was not aware that he had this capital, the decision should be made in accordance with section 302(b) and be applied with effect from a current date.

Note the difference between Cases 92 and 93
In most �Estate' cases where there has been a significant change of means the revised decision will apply from a retrospective date i.e. having regard to the date of the new fact or evidence (3 months later for SPNC and Blind Pension). This is the position in Case No. 80. However, Case No. 81 is exceptional in that there is satisfactory evidence that Mr. D was not aware that there had been a change in his means and having regard to the circumstances of the case the Deciding Officer may apply the decision from a current date.

Case No. 94 (previously 30):
Lone Parent Cohabiting

Q. Ms. E has been in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) since 2005. In August 2008 it is established following investigation that she is cohabiting as husband and wife with another person. She alleges that this cohabitation has only just started. However, there is evidence to indicate that she has in fact been cohabiting since at least October 2006. Which sub-section of Section 302 should the Deciding Officer apply?

A. Ms. E should be disqualified for payment of OFP in accordance with Section 175 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005. It is normally very difficult to prove in respect of a past period that a person has been cohabiting with somebody as husband and wife.

Many appeals against such decisions have been successful because of the inadequacy of available evidence, and in some cases even the evidence of current cohabitation has been overturned. So, unless the evidence of previous cohabitation is very strong, we would advise that the decision in Ms. E's case be revised with effect from a current date in accordance with Section 302(b).

Case No. 95 (previously 31):
Mistake by Deciding Officer

Q. Mrs. F has been in receipt of Illness Benefit (IB) since February 2006. Her claim was authorized for payment on the basis that she satisfied the contribution conditions. It has now been discovered, however, that the Deciding Officer misread the contribution record and that Mrs. F has only 37 (and not 39) contributions paid since her entry to insurance. Which sub-section of section 302 should the Deciding Officer apply?

A. Payment of Illness Benefit to Mrs. F should be disallowed on the grounds that she does not satisfy the first contribution condition. As the need for a revised decision in this case arises from an error by the Deciding Officer and there is no reason for believing that Mrs. F was aware she was being paid Illness Benefit in error, the revision should, in accordance with section 302 (c), be applied with effect from a current date.

Case No. 96 (previously 32):
Adult Dependant claims in own right

Q. Mr. G made a claim for JB in January 2006 and was allowed a qualified adult increase for his wife who was in employment with wages of �50 a week. It has now come to light that Mrs. G has been in receipt of Illness Benefit since March 2006. Mr. G had not notified his Local Office of this development. When she made her Illness Benefit claim Mrs. G had stated on the claim form that her husband was receiving JB. However, the fact that Mrs. G had claimed Illness Benefit was not notified by IB Section to the Local Office where Mr. G was signing. When he was interviewed about the matter, Mr. G said that, because his wife had already informed the Department of the position, he did not think he had to tell the LO about it. In any event he thought that, because he could get an increase for his wife while she was working, he could continue to get it while she was on Illness Benefit. He appeared honest in what he said at the interview. Which sub-section of section 302 should the Deciding Officer apply?

A. The payment of an increase for a qualified adult (IQA) to Mr. G should be disallowed on the grounds that his wife is in receipt of a social welfare payment in her own right [Section 2(2) (a) (iii) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005]. Having regard to the evidence that Mr. G genuinely believed that he did not need to report the information which had already been notified to the Department by his wife, we would consider that the decision should be revised with effect from a current date under section 302(b).


APPEAL SUBMISSIONS

For the reasons shown below, the DO's submission in this example would be regarded as inadequate.

Case No. 97 (previously 38):
Lost Job because of misconduct (JB)

DO's Decision: Disqualified for payment of JB for 9 weeks.

Grounds for DO's decision: Lost job because of misconduct.

Relevant Documents: UP 25 and UP 20

Grounds of Appeal: "I left my last job. I was not fired. I was accused of stealing money but this was not true. Everybody in the firm knows who really took the money but nobody's saying. I couldn't stand it any longer so I asked for my P45 and left. I told my boss and he said he understood. My union said they would contact Social Welfare about the matter".

DO's comments:
When this person made a claim we sent a form UP 20 to the employer. The employer returned the form to this Office last week. I interviewed the claimant about why his job terminated but I am satisfied that the disqualification should stand.

Criticisms of DO's comments:
Relevant documents (UP 25 and UP 20) not tabbed.
Reference to sending and return of UP 20 is not relevant.
No reference to contents of employer's remarks on UP 20.
No indication whether DO contacted employer about the contentions in the appeal. No comment on whether Union contacted DSW about the case.
No reasons given by DO why disqualification should stand.

The Suggested Way, Cases 98 to 103.
In these examples, the DO has noted the contentions of the Appellant, and has commented on each of them.

Case No. 98 (previously 39):
Appeal against "not genuinely seeking work" disallowance (JA)

Decision of Deciding Officer:
Summary of Decision: Claimant is not entitled to JA with effect from (TAB A)
Grounds for Decision: Main basis for decision: Not genuinely seeking work.
Relevant Documents/Reports/ Minutes: Report on Interview with claimant (TAB B). Letters from employer (TAB C)

Grounds of Appeal:

  1. "I have been unemployed for the last 2 years and have looked for work all over but can get nothing.
  2. I am a lorry driver but there are very few jobs going for drivers.
  3. I attach letters from 4 employers that I asked for work but they could not offer me anything.
  4. I have registered for work with FAS.
  5. My parents can't afford to keep me so I need the money to live on."

DO's comments:

I wish to confirm my decision in this case. My comments on the customer's contentions are as follows:

  1. I do not accept this as credible.
  2. the newspapers are full of ads for drivers. He has been out of work for over 3 years (not 2 years as stated) and if he cannot get work as a driver he should be prepared to look for other kinds of work.
  3. claimant was asked for evidence that he was looking for work previously but failed to supply it. Letters now furnished were all obtained in a period of 2 days and do not therefore show a continuing pattern of seeking work.
  4. he only registered with FAS after his claim was disallowed.
  5. not relevant to decision.

Other comments: Claimant is young and healthy and in my view could get work easily if he really tried, either as a driver or as a labourer.

Case No. 99 (previously 40):
Appeal against "not available for employment" disallowance (JB)

Decision of Deciding Officer: Claimant is not entitled to JB with effect from (TAB A)
Grounds for Decision: Main basis for decision: Not available for work.
Relevant Documents/Reports/Minutes: Report from employer on UP 20 (TAB B). Report on interview with claimant (TAB C).

Grounds of Appeal:
"I was working with my last employer for 5 years. I had a baby last year and went back to work after maternity leave. But my childminder had very bad problems with her own baby and I found I could not rely on her. So, I had to stop work. But my mother-in-law has told me that she will look after the child if I get another job.(l) I have tried everywhere for work (see letters attached) but cannot get anything suitable".(2)

DO's comments:

I wish to confirm my decision in this case.
Re. (1) I do not accept this as genuine - it seems strange that this arrangement could not have been made before she left her job.
Re. (2) her employer has notified that the job she left is still vacant and that he would be willing to take her back but that she has not approached him about it.

Case No. 100 (previously 41):
Appeal against "left job voluntarily" disqualification (JB)

Decision of Deciding Officer:Claimant is disqualified for payment of JB for 9 weeks from to (TAB A)
Grounds for Decision: Main basis for decision: Left work voluntarily without just cause.
Relevant Documents/Reports/Minutes: Employer's remarks on Form UP 20 (TAB B), Report of interview with claimant (TAB C).

Grounds of Appeal:

"The reason I left my last job was because (1) the boss didn't give me a pay rise he had promised me and (2) because the work was boring and I wanted to do something more interesting. (3) I am looking hard for work at present and will take anything suitable that turns up."

DO's comments:
I wish to confirm my decision in this case.

  1. Employer says he never promised claimant a raise. He told claimant he would pay him more if business picked up but that this hadn't happened.
  2. Claimant should have waited until he had another job lined up before giving up this one.
  3. This is not relevant to the disqualification.

General Comment: The employer is reputable and I do not accept that the points made by claimant amount to good cause for leaving his employment.

Case No. 101 (previously 42): JA Appeal against "not genuinely seeking work" disallowance

Decision of Deciding Officer: Claimant is not entitled to JA with effect from.(TAB A)
Grounds for Decision: Main basis for decision: (a) not available for work, (b) not genuinely seeking work, (c) does not meet the Habitually Resident condition.
Relevant Documents/Reports/Minutes: UA1 form, HRC1 form (TAB B).

Grounds of Appeal:
"I wish to appeal this decision.

  1. I think I should not be disallowed just because I am a foreigner.
  2. I am from Northern Italy and I have come to Ireland to look for work.
  3. I hope to get work in an Italian restaurant."

DO's comments:
I wish to confirm my decision in this case.

  1. This claim was disallowed not because she is a foreigner but because she failed to satisfy the statutory conditions of entitlement.
  2. The claimant's English is very poor (she got an Irish acquaintance to write out her appeal) and she would have much better opportunities to find work in Italy.
  3. She should have tried to arrange a job in a restaurant here before leaving Italy.

When considering whether the claimant met the HR condition, regard was had firstly to the length and continuity of her residence in the State or in any other particular country. She has lived all her life in Italy, and came to Ireland shortly after finishing her secondary level education there. Her employment history was then considered, which is that she has not worked in the state. In relation to her main centre of interest, her family home is in Italy, where her parents and other family members live. She has not purchased a dwelling in Ireland, nor has she opened a bank account. While she states that her intention is to remain in Ireland, she travelled here on a return ticket, and is currently living in a youth hostel.

Other comments: She has recently finished secondary level education in Italy and I believe that the real reason she has come to Ireland is to improve her English language skills. I do not think she can be regarded as seriously seeking work here that would be suitable to her.

Case No. 102 (previously 43):
Appeal against level of Means assessed (SPNC)

Decision of Deciding Officer: Not entitled to SPNC (TAB A)
Grounds for Decision: Main basis for decision: Means of �30,000 a year exceed the statutory limit.
Relevant Documents/Reports/Minutes: claim form (TAB B), SWI's IN 93 Report (TAB C), Additional comments furnished by SWI (TAB D).

Grounds of Appeal:

  1. "My farm does not give me �30,000 per year.
  2. I enclose more receipts for seed and fertilizer.
  3. I spent �10,000 altogether on fertilizer last year and the Department allowed me for only �2,000.
  4. I am entitled to the Old Age Pension as I am 70 years of age and all the other farmers around here are drawing it, including some with much bigger farms than mine".

DO's comments:
I wish to confirm my decision in this case.

Re. (1) the evidence confirms that the original estimate is correct.
Re. (2) the receipts marked C1 to C3 were already included in the assessment; additional expenses of �750 marked C4 are accepted, but does not bring the means below the limit.
Re. (3) I accept the SWI's finding that the unverified figure of �10,000 is not credible because a farm of 40 acres could not use this level of fertilizer annually.
Re. (4) is irrelevant to the question of means.

Case No. 103 (previously 44):
Appeal against "not genuinely seeking work" disallowance (JA)

Decision of Deciding Officer: Claimant is not entitled to JA with effect from.(TAB A)
Grounds for Decision: Main basis for decision: Not genuinely seeking work.
Relevant Documents/Reports/Minutes: Form JA1 (TAB B) and report on interview with claimant (TAB C).

Grounds of Appeal:
"I have been unemployed since I came to Ireland 14 months ago. Before that I was living in England but decided to come to Ireland because I heard there were great opportunities here.

  1. However, despite searching for work everywhere, I haven't been able to find a suitable position.
  2. I got a promise of a job a few months ago but it fell through at the last moment.
  3. I am a computer scientist and have looked for work all over but can get nothing.
  4. I have registered for work with FAS."

DO's comments:
I wish to confirm my decision in this case. My comments on the claimant's contentions are as follows:

  1. Claimant resides with a group of New Age Travellers in a remote rural area. The nearest urban area where there could be work suitable to him is almost 30 kilometres away. As he has no transport, I think he cannot be regarded as really interested in obtaining work.
  2. Claimant was very vague about the job in question, and did not provide any details.
  3. By residing in a rural area he is making it very difficult for a person with his qualifications to get work.
  4. Having regard to the other circumstances I would not regard this as significant.

General Comment: I think claimant has opted out of the life of work and has no real commitment to getting work.

Case No. 104 (previously 131):
Clarification of Appeals Officer's decision

Q. The AO has allowed a JA appeal in relation to a decision I made on GSW. I cannot understand how the AO came to his decision and wonder whether his decision contradicts the JA guidelines. Can I refer the decision to the SWAO for clarification?

A. Requests for clarification of an AO's decision should not be sent directly to the SWAO. In the first instance it should be raised with the Regional Decisions Adviser (RDA) for your area. If the RDA considers that clarification is necessary, the case should be sent to the DAO, clearly stating the issue which requires clarification. One of the functions of the DAO is as the Department's liaison with the SWAO. All requests for clarification in relation to an AO's decision should be channelled through the DAO which will, if necessary, raise the issue with the SWAO at one of the regular meetings between the DAO and SWAO.


OVERPAYMENTS

Please note that this case relates to the functions of officers authorised for the purposes of Section 342 which relates to overpayments

Case No. 105 (previously 49):
Ability to repay overpayment

Q. Mr. Y was found to be working during a period when he was claiming JB. His claim was disallowed with retrospective effect and he was assessed with an overpayment of �800. He is currently in receipt of JA at the rate of �197.80 a week (long-term personal rate, no dependants, NIL means). When asked how he proposed to repay the overpayment he offered recovery by deductions of �20.00 a week from his JA payment. Can this offer be accepted, even though it will mean that his rate of payment will be below the SWA rate appropriate in his case?

A. In this case the offer should be accepted but the claimant's written agreement to the �20 deduction must be obtained.

You must have regard to the provisions of Part 9 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations 2007, S.I. No. 142 of 2007 which require that where the proposed method of recovery is by making deductions from ongoing social welfare payments no recovery plan for the recovery of an overpayment can be put in place without the prior written agreement of the person liable to repay the overpayment where this would result in that person's weekly social welfare payment falling below the SWA rate appropriate to his/her family circumstances.

In cases where the deduction proposed will not bring the person's payment rate below the appropriate SWA rate a written agreement is not required.

The Department is obliged to recover overpayments as quickly as possible. There is an equal obligation on a person who has been overpaid to repay the overpayment quickly. This means that where an overpayment is being recovered by deduction from ongoing SW payments, the level of deduction should be as high as possible, having regard to the amount of the overpayment, in order that the overpayment may be recovered in a realistic period. In determining this, regard must be had to the person's ability to repay. So, where a person is willing to repay an overpayment by way of deduction at a rate that would bring his/her SW payment below the SWA rate, such an arrangement is acceptable once the claimant's written agreement has been obtained.


CREDITS

Case No. 106 (previously 50):
Break in insurance record

Q. Mr. O'L was in insurable employment at Class A rate for 10 years. He then ceased employment and paid only Class K contributions on his occupational pension for 5 years. He is now again seeking employment. Is he entitled to unemployment credits?

A. No, he needs 26 Class A contributions before he will be entitled to the award of JB credits. Payment of� Class J, K or S contributions do not bridge the gap. [Article 57 of S.I. No. 312 of 1996, previously Article 5 of S.I. No. 5 of 1953]

Case No. 107 (previously 51):
Entitlement to Credits following self-employment

Q. Mr. J worked for a number of years in employment which was insurable at Class A. He then became self-employed for a few months and paid Class S contributions. He has now ceased self-employment and has claimed and been awarded JB. (He satisfies the GCY.) Is he entitled to credits while on JB?

A. Yes, credits should be awarded to Mr. J while on JB as he has Class A contributions paid within the last 2 years. However, if he had had two consecutive years at Class S he would not be entitled to unemployment credits until 26 further Class A contributions were paid in respect of him.

Case No. 108 (previously 80):
Commissioned Officer and Credits

Q. Mr. S was a Commissioned Officer in the Defence Forces until recently when he retired at age 58. He had been paying PRSI at Class C rate which gives cover for Widow/er's and Guardians Pension (only). He wants to know whether he can sign for credits at the local office until he reaches age 65.

A. Yes, a person who has been paying Class C contributions can sign for Widows/Guardians credits provided s/he does not have a two year gap since the last such contribution was paid. By signing for credits, Mr. S will maintain his title to Widows/Guardians.

Case No. 109 (previously 95):
Student Credits for JB Claimant

Q. Ms. P claimed Jobseeker's Benefit recently following the closure of the company for which she had been working since 1 January 2008. She is aged 23 and had previously been at university for 4 years. She had worked part-time while at college and first entered insurance in 2006. Although she satisfies the first contribution condition (39 paid contributions), she has only 13 contributions in the GCY (2007/08). Could she be awarded Student Credits and, if so, would they qualify her for JB?

A. Student Credits may be awarded to a person who has completed a course of full-time education by day, who had entered insurable employment during or before that course and who subsequently re-entered insurable employment as an employed contributor for which PRSI contributions at Class A, E or H are payable. They are only awarded where the course of education commenced before the person reached age 23. Student Credits are awarded on request from the beginning of the contribution year of re-entry into insurable employment up to the date of re-entry and for the two previous contribution years. Student Credits are reckonable for short-term benefits only i.e. JB, IB, or Treatment Benefit.

In this case, if the position as described above is confirmed, Ms. P will be entitled to Student Credits for the contribution years 2005/06 and 20066/07 and for the periods 6/4/07 to 31/12/07. The award of (about 39) credits for 2007/08 GCY will mean that she will satisfy the second contribution condition for the purpose of her JB claim. She will need to submit (a) a statement from the college showing that the course was full-time and the date of commencement and cessation of the course and (b) a statement from her employer verifying the date of her re-entry into full-time insurable employment.

Case No. 110 (previously 145):
Conditions for Pre-Retirement Credits

Q. A customer applied last year for Pre-Retirement Credits. At the time she met the requirements for being awarded these credits, she was over 55 years of age, was retired from the workforce and was no longer looking for work, and had been in receipt of Jobseeker's Benefit in respect of 390 days of continuous unemployment just before applying. However, recently she has taken up part-time work in a local school for several hours each week. Is she still entitled to receive these Pre-Retirement credits? Are the Pre-Retirement Credits she received in respect of last year still valid or should they be removed from her record?

A. The Pre-Retirement Credits Scheme (PRECS) enables credited contributions 'credits' to be awarded to a person who is aged 55 years or older. The person must be retired from the workforce and no longer looking for work and, who, in the immediately preceding period, was in receipt of either Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance or credits in respect of 390 days of continuous unemployment. Pre-Retirement credits can only be maintained through a signed annual declaration from the claimant (i.e. that confirms his or her unemployment and retirement from the workforce).

Where a person's last paid contribution was at class B, C, or D, credits are awarded at that class. Credits are reckonable for all benefits which paid contributions at that class cover.

Where a person who is receiving Pre-Retirement Credits subsequently rejoins the workforce, even to undertake irregular part-time work, then the award of these credits is discontinued for that period of employment - in line with the aforementioned preconditions for eligibility to the PRECS scheme.

It is open to the customer to re-apply for Pre-Retirement Credits should they consider that they again meet the PRECS pre-conditions. It should be noted that this scheme has been closed to new applicants from July 4th 2007. However, people awarded PRECS before that date may re-apply within 12 months of signing off.


INSURABILITY

Case No. 111 (previously 34):
Insurability of Employment
Family members working on the family farm

Q. Are family members working on the family farm insurable under the Social Welfare Acts? Are they covered under the Social Welfare Acts in the case of an accident at work, or in the case of illness?

A. No. Prescribed Relatives working and living on the family farm, who are not employed under a written contract of service or apprenticeship, are exempted as insurable employees under the First Schedule, Part 2 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 [Article 93 of S.I. 312 of 1996 refers]. A spouse is also excluded under the same Part. For such family members Class K or M is returned, if the PAYE system is in operation. They are not covered for Occupational Injuries Benefit and have no entitlement to Illness Benefit.

Prescribed Relatives are excepted from paying self-employment contributions also, under the First Schedule, Part 3 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005 where the principal of the farm is a self-employed contributor. However, if the relative is a partner in the farm, contributions may be due at the Class S rate for each of the partners ( see note below). If the prescribed relative is not living on the family farm and is employed under a contract of service then Class A is payable and s/he would be covered for all benefits including Occupational Injuries Benefit and Illness Benefit. These cases should also be referred to Scope Section for determination. A Prescribed Relative is a father, mother, grandmother, grandfather, stepfather, stepmother, son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, stepson, stepdaughter, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister of the employed person. A spouse is included as a Prescribed Relative for selfemployment purposes.

Note:
A booklet (SW124) 'Working with your spouse' "How it affects your Social Welfare contributions and entitlement" is available on the Department's website. The booklet outlines procedures to be followed including the recognition of a retrospective partnership.

Case No.112 (previously 67):
Insurability of Civil/Public Servants

Q. Mr. O'R was appointed to the civil service in a permanent capacity in October 1997. He had been working abroad from March 1996 to September 1997 but had previously (July 1992 - Feb. 1996) worked in a temporary capacity in the public service. What rate of PRSI is payable in respect of his current employment?

A. Class A. From the 6 April 1995 all new entrants into the public service are insurable at PRSI Class A. If a person was temporary on 6/4/95 and subsequently was made permanent without a break in service then Class D/B would be payable from the date of appointment to a permanent position. However, if (as in the case of Mr. O'R), a person was temporary or permanent on the 6 April 1995 and had a break in their contract of employment after that date, then on re-entry s/he would be regarded as a new entrant and Class A PRSI applicable. [S.I. 312 of 1996 refers].

Case No. 113 (previously 68):
Insurability of Secondary Teacher

Q. Ms. S is a secondary school teacher who was not in the Department of Education Superannuation Scheme on 6 April 1995. She is paying Class A PRSI. She has recently joined the Superannuation Scheme. What Class PRSI is now payable?

A. Class D is payable from date of admittance into the Superannuation Scheme provided Ms. S had no break in service from 6 April 1995 to date of admittance into the scheme. If there was a break in service then Class A is payable.

Case No. 114 (previously 69):
Insurability of Primary Teacher

Q. Ms. W was a primary school teacher (temporary) from January 1993 to September 1997 when she was made permanent. What Class of PRSI is payable?

A. Class D. Prior to 6 April 1995 primary school temporary teachers were insurable at PRSI Class D for the weeks they were employed through the Department of Education. However after 6 April 1995 the PRSI Class D only continued if they were in continuous employment (This applies in the case of Ms. W). If they had a break in their contract then Class A was payable.

Case No. 115 (previously 70):
Insurability of Substitute Teacher

Q. Mr. P is a teacher who does substitute work. What Class of PRSI is payable?

A. Class A - all substitute teaching is insurable at Class A only, never Class D.

Case No. 116 (previously 71): Insurability of demonstrators/ merchandisers

The Supreme Court ruled on 1 December 1997 that a person who was employed as a demonstrator/merchandiser with Kerry Foods was employed under a contract of service. Consequently all workers employed as demonstrators/merchandisers are insurable at Class A/J provided the terms and conditions of the employment are the same as in this case. [A copy of the Judgement 'Henry Denny & Son T/A Kerry Food v Minister for Social Welfare' is available from Scope Section]

Background
A contract for service was drawn up by Kerry Foods for demonstrators/merchandisers and the Supreme Court was satisfied that the conditions of their employment was more appropriate to a contract of service. The general contents of this contract are as follows:

  1. Kerry Foods is willing to retain the person's services as a demonstrator/merchandiser and pointed out that the person will not be an employee of Kerry Foods but an independent contractor
  2. The person will be responsible for their own tax affairs.
  3. Kerry Foods at its discretion may retain the services of the demonstrator; give not less than 24 hours notice of the retention of the services and the demonstrator can send a substitute provided the substitute is approved by Kerry Foods.
  4. The demonstrator shall be neat and tidy, be properly attired and wear such uniform, jackets, coats or head-dress as Kerry Foods may require.
  5. The demonstrator shall attend at the time and location specified by Kerry Foods.
  6. The demonstrator shall abide by the regulations of the place where the demonstration is taking place and in cases of dispute with the conditions available the sales manager of Kerry Foods will make a decision on the matter.
  7. Kerry Foods shall terminate the contract in cases of misconduct or neglect of obligations.
  8. The demonstrator shall be an independent contractor, a master/servant relationship shall not exist and the provisions of the Unfair Dismissals Act, 1977 shall not apply.
  9. All clothing and equipment shall be the sole property of Kerry Foods.
  10. The remuneration is a fee from which the demonstrator is to discharge such taxes and charges which may be due.
  11. The demonstrator was to indemnify the appellants against claims for loss and damage sustained as a result of his/her actions.
  12. The demonstrator cannot operate for a competitor as long as his/ her services are available to Kerry Foods.
  13. Each demonstration shall be a separate contract.

Case No. 117 (previously 77):
PRSI Class for Primary Teacher who had break in service

Q. Ms. D took a career break from her permanent primary teaching post in Donegal on 1/9/97 as her husband was relocated to Cork. She had been paying PRSI Class D. She applied for and obtained a permanent post in Cork from 11/1/99. She wrote (on 13/12/98) to the Board of Management of her old school in Donegal resigning her post there. What Class of PRSI is payable in her new post in Cork?

A. Class A. As mentioned in Case No. 112, PRSI Class D applies to primary teachers who have been in continuous employment since before 6 April 1995. Because Ms. D had a break in service between 13/12/98 (when she resigned from her old permanent post) and 11/1 /99 (when she took up her new permanent post), her employment is not 'continuous' and so Class A is payable.

Case No. 118 (previously 96):
Share fisherman's entitlement to JB

Q. Mr. K is a fisherman working on board a fishing vessel and paid by a share of the value of the catch. What is the correct PRSI Class payable in his case? If he became unemployed, would he be entitled to Jobseeker's Benefit?

A. Whether Mr. K would be entitled to JB depends on the class of PRSI payable in his case, which in turn depends on whether he is employed as an employee (Class A) or is self employed (Class S). The insurability of share fishermen is determined by reference to the terms and conditions of employment in each case. The aim is to establish whether the employment is under a contract of service (employee) or contract for services (self-employed).

Contract of Service:
A share fisherman is considered to be employed as an employee if he:

  • works under the control of another person who directs (or has the right to direct) him as to how, when, what, and where the work is performed
  • is an integral part of the skipper/boat owner's business as a crew member
  • cannot send a substitute without prior consent of the boat owner
  • supplies his labour only
  • does not make an investment in the vessel
  • is not expected to contribute to any losses which may be incurred
  • does not provide his own public liability cover
  • cannot engage or dismiss another crew member.
  • If these conditions apply, PRSI at Class A is payable.

Contract for services:
The question to be determined is whether or not the fisherman is in partnership with the skipper/boat owner. The main factors indicating a partnership are;

  • each partner contributes capital or services to the business
  • each partner has the right to make management decisions
  • the profits are paid and losses made good in accordance with their agreed share
  • the person is not under the control of the skipper

If these conditions apply, PRSI at Class S is payable. Mr. K's JB Entitlement: If he was employed under a contract of service and the requisite number of Class A contributions was paid in respect of that employment, Mr. K would be entitled to JB if unemployed.

Class P Contributions: If Mr. K was employed under a contract for services and had contributed under the 'Optional Social Insurance Scheme for People engaged in Share Fishing' and was a fully paid up contributor under this scheme than he would be entitled to JB for up to 78 days in each calendar year.

To be eligible for the Optional Social Insurance Scheme (Class P contributions) you must:

  • Work at share fishing as your principal means of livelihood.
  • Be paid from share fishing solely by share of the value of the catch.
  • Be registered with Revenue and currently paying PRSI as a self-employed person.
  • Pay an optional PRSI contribution. The amount you pay is based on your income in the previous tax year subject to a minimum payment of �500

Any doubts or queries on the insurance status of share fishermen should be sent to Scope Section for further investigation.

Case No. 119 (previously 78):
PRSI Class for Civil Servant on Career Break

Q. Ms. E is a Civil Servant on a Career Break for one year until November 2008. She had previously been paying PRSI at Class B. She has recently taken up temporary employment in the local supermarket for wages of �120 per week. What rate of PRSI is payable for this employment.

A. Class J applies because Ms. E's employment while on a career break is regarded as subsidiary to her main employment (Career Breaks are not granted for the purpose of taking up employment in this country).

Case No. 120 (previously 9):
Subsidiary Employment - Person with Class D and Class A insurance in GCY

Q. Mr. Mc N is a permanent and pensionable postman for whom Class D contributions are payable by An Post. He is also a part-time fireman and the Local Authority pay Class A contributions in respect of this employment. He is due to retire as a postman shortly. Will he be entitled to JB on foot of having 52 Class A contributions in the GCY?

A. No. A permanent and pensionable postman is insurable at the modified rate of contributions which does not give cover for JB/IB. The Social Welfare (Subsidiary Employments) Regulations specify that any other employment adopted by a person, where their ordinary employment is insurable at the modified rate of insurance, is classed as a subsidiary employment (insurable at the Class J rate of contribution). Schedule C of Article 1(b) of S.I. 312 of 1996. The Class A contributions paid in respect of his employment as a part-time fireman are refundable.


EUROPEAN UNION (EU)

Case No. 121 (previously 81):
Becoming a Voluntary Contributor here following retirement in the UK

Q. In 2007 Ms. M is aged 58 years. She is living in the UK where she has been in employment for the last 22 years. She has been advised by the DSS that she will be entitled to a UK Retirement Pension when she retires after she reaches age 60( see note below).

Before going to the UK she worked in Ireland for 10 years which means that she will be entitled to an EU pro rata Retirement Pension from DSFA at age 65. She wants to know whether, if she continues to work in the UK after age 60, she can become a Voluntary Contributor under Irish Legislation during the period when she is aged between 60 and 65 and, if so, whether the VC contribution will give her a higher rate of Irish pension.

A. Under Irish social welfare legislation, a person who retires before pension age may pay Voluntary Contributions (VC) into the Irish Social Insurance Fund to increase his/her rate of Irish pension at age 65 (State Pension Transition) or at age 66 (State Pension Contributory) provided s/he applies within 12 months of the last social insurance contribution. Two conditions apply: the person must have ceased insurable employment and s/he must not be tied to the VC system of another country.

The fact that payment of social insurance contributions (apart from OIB and other special rate contributions) ceases at age 60 in the UK means that, even if she continues to work in the UK after age 60, Ms. M will not be in insurable employment and can therefore pay (Irish) VC contributions. These contributions will be reckonable in due course in determining Ms. M's yearly average over the period from entry into insurance to pension age and will result in a higher rate of EU pro rata pension being payable than would otherwise be the case.

( Note:
Only the low and high rate voluntary contributions are collected up to the date of the IP's 66 birthday. The special rate (Class S) is not collected in the tax year in which an individual turns 66 years of age).

Note:
In the UK, pension age for women will rise gradually from age 60 to 65 from 2010 to 2020, making it equal to that of men. So from April 2020, the State Pension age for both men and women will be 65. (See pension calculator on UK website; 'www.thepensionservice.gov.uk/state-pension/age-calculator.asp'

Case No. 122 (previously 82):
Non-EU claimant and Restrictions on Working

Q. Mr. F moved to Ireland recently and has claimed JA. Both his parents were Irish but he holds an American passport. However, as both his parents were Irish, he would be entitled to obtain an Irish passport in which case the above restriction on employment would not apply. Can JA be paid to him?

A. Mr. F can apply for an Endorsement Stamp 6 which is processed by the Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform. The Stamp 6 is issued to persons who have dual citizenship through:

  • Birth in Ireland
  • Parent(s) born in Ireland
  • Grandparent(s) born in Ireland (Foreign Births Register certificate required from D/Foreign Affairs)
  • Naturalisation
  • Post-nuptial citizenship

Once the Stamp 6 has been granted Mr. F can legally work in the State. However in order to qualify for JA, he will need to satisfy all of the conditions including that of Habitual Residence.

(Note:
The Stamp 6 is only valid to the expiry date on the person's foreign passport - where they do not apply for an Irish passport)

Case No. 123 (previously 124):
Competent state for payment of Illness Benefit

Q. Mr. P applied for Illness Benefit on 12 May 2008, having worked in the UK for 8 months to 7 May 2008. Prior to his work in the UK he had worked in Ireland for 10 years. He is incapable of work and has sufficient Irish contributions to satisfy the Governing Contribution year condition. Can he choose to claim Irish Illness Benefit rather than UK Incapacity Benefit?

A. No. The UK is the state in which Mr. P was last employed and whose legislation he was last subject to. Therefore, UK is the competent state for payment of the benefit to him during sickness. As the UK is the competent state he can only claim Illness Benefit from the UK, even though he has an underlying entitlement to Illness Benefit from Ireland. His Irish insurance record will be taken into account by the UK authorities in order to satisfy the contribution conditions attached to their Incapacity Benefit.

Article 8 of Regulation EEC No. 574/72 specifically covers this situation and provides that: "If an employed person or self employed person is entitled to claim sickness benefits under the legislation of Ireland and the United Kingdom for the same period of incapacity for work, those benefits shall be granted exclusively under the legislation of the Member State to which the person concerned was last subject".

Case No. 124 (previously 137):
Export of Carer's Benefit

Q. An application for Carer's Benefit has been received from a person who is normally resident in Northern Ireland (Co. Tyrone). He is employed in Co. Monaghan and satisfies the PRSI contribution conditions for Carer's Benefit. He looks after his mother who is resident in Co. Monaghan. He proposes to give full-time care to his mother when he leaves work and to stay all night with her, if and when necessary. Can Carer's Benefit be paid to someone who is resident outside the State?

A. Carer's Benefit is a benefit covered by the EU Social Security Regulations 1408/71 and 574/72 as amended by Regulation 647/05. These regulations are applicable to migrant workers and members of their families. These EU regulations prohibit national rules/legislation concerning the non-export of certain payments including Carer's Benefit. Our national law (i.e. the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005) prohibits the export of Carer's Benefit. However, where there is conflict between our national legislation and EU legislation, EU law must be applied as it takes precedence over national law. In this instance, Ireland is the State of employment and therefore is the competent State. If all other conditions for receipt of Carer's Benefit are satisfied, payment can be exported to this claimant.


ILLNESS BENEFIT (IB)

Case No. 125 (previously 113):
Illness Benefit while on Career break

Q. Mr. O'N is a civil servant who is on a career break for study purposes. He became ill recently and made a claim for Illness Benefit. Is he entitled to payment?

A. Yes, provided he satisfies the contribution conditions and is incapable of work, there is no reason why Mr. O'N should not be paid Illness Benefit. The fact that he is on a career break is not relevant to the question of entitlement to Illness Benefit (unlike JB where a person on a career break may be disallowed 'not unemployed'). If there are grounds for suspecting that he is not incapable of work, early examination by a Medical Assessor should be arranged.


CARER'S ALLOWANCE/BENEFIT

Case No. 126 (previously 99):
Farm loss cannot be offset against income from self-employment in assessing Carer's Means

Q. Mrs. C has applied for Carer's Allowance in respect of her mother. Her husband is in self-employment from which he derived a net profit of �10,000 in the last year. He also has a farm which lost about �6,000 in the same period. Can the loss from, farming be set off against the income from self-employment by subtracting one from the other, i.e. should her means be assessed on the basis of her husband having an income of �4,000

A. The rules for the assessment of means for Carer's Allowance purposes are set out in Part 5 of the Third Schedule to the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005. Income from farming is assessed under Rule 1 (3) and income from self-employment is assessed under Rule 1 (2). There is no provision for a negative value from the former to be offset against income from the latter. So, for the purpose of assessing Mrs. Cs means, her husband's income should be taken as �10,000

N.B. This position is applicable to all other social welfare schemes with the exception of Farm Assist. Farm Assist provides for the aggregation of income from all forms of self-employment in respect of the farmer and his/her spouse/partner, less total expenses, before any disregards are applied. (In effect, for Farm Assist a loss in one form of self-employment can be off-set against a profit in another).

Case No. 127 (previously 109):
Assessment of Second House

Q. Ms. Q is in receipt of Carer's Allowance. She has inherited a half-share in a cottage from her uncle. At present her three elderly aunts are resident in the house. Under the terms of their brother's will, they have right of residency in the cottage for their lifetime. Should she be assessed with the capital value or possible letting value of the house?

A. No, a second house is only assessable if it is not being personally used or enjoyed by the claimant and either (a) it is invested or is otherwise put to profitable use by the person or (b) although not invested or put to profitable use, it is capable of being invested or put to profitable use. Neither of these conditions apply in this case because, owing to the legal rights of the present occupants, Ms. Q's second house is not capable of being put to profitable use. In the circumstances, no means assessment should be made in respect of Ms. Q's half-share in the cottage.

Case No. 128 (previously 118):
Employed Contributor/Carer's Benefit

Q. Mr. H made a claim for Carer's Benefit in July 2008. He was in insurable employment until the end of December 2007 at which time he became self employed. He set up a business with a partner. Mr. H has now given up the self employment in order to care for his mother. Does the period of self employment satisfy the condition of being an employed contributor for 16 hours a week for the period prior to the date of Carer's Benefit claim?

A. No. Periods of self employment do not satisfy the legislative requirement as laid down for Carer's Benefit. Mr. H was not engaged in remunerative full-time employment as an employed contributor. Persons engaged in self-employment are NOT included in the legislative definition of an employed contributor.

Section 100 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 provides that Carer's Benefit shall be payable to a carer if he or she -

  1. was engaged in remunerative fulltime employment as an employed contributor for at least eight weeks (consecutive or not) in the 26 week period immediately prior to the first day in respect of which a claim to Carer's Benefit is made;
  2. does not engage in employment or self employment;
  3. satisfies the contribution conditions.

The claimant must satisfy (a), (b) and (c). However regulations have been made under Section 100(3) which allows limited employment or self employment by carers subject to hours and earnings conditions specified on a yearly basis. Currently the limit is 15 hours or less with gross earnings of less than �332.50 a week.

The phrase 'remunerative fulltime employment' is defined in Section 100 (5) as "employment for an aggregate of not less than 16 hours a week (32 per fortnight) for eight weeks in the six months prior to the first day in respect of which a claim to Carer's Benefit is made".

The term 'employed contributor' is defined in Section 2 of the Act as having the meaning assigned in Section 12(1) which refers to "every person who, being over the age of 16 years and under pension age, is employed in any of the employments specified in Part 1 of the First Schedule shall be an employed contributor for the purposes of the Act".

This definition does not extend to or include self employed contributors. The term self employed contributor is defined in Section 2 of the Act. Paragraph (e) of Section 21 (1) of the Act details the Social Welfare benefit for which Class S contributions provide cover. Carer's Benefit is not included.

Case No. 129 (previously 149):
Carer's Allowance � means assessment for rented house

Q. I have received an application for Carer's Allowance. Claimant is residing with her mother and is providing full time care. The Claimant has a private pension from the UK and has her home in the UK rented out. How do I assess her means?

A. From the 5th of April 2007, for a single Carer, the first �320 of income each week is disregarded. This disregard is not applied to any social welfare payment received from another state. Income from property is assessed on its capital value. Article 141 of S.I. 142 of 2007 provides that where a person vacates a principal residence (which is not rented):

  • on a temporary basis, or
  • as a consequence of old age or incapacity, or
  • where the property is for sale.

Then, the property is not part of the means of the person. However, in this case the property is rented and accordingly, the provision does not apply. Therefore the property is assessed on its capital value (minus any outstanding mortgage) in the normal manner i.e.

First �20,000 Nil
Next �10,000 �1 per �1,000
Next �10,000 �2 per �1,000
Excess of �40,000 �4 per �1,000

PAYMENT AFTER DEATH

Case No. 130 (previously 110):
Payment after Death where both spouses die

Q. Mr. H was in receipt of State Pension (Transition) until he died recently. His wife, who was in receipt of State Pension (Non-contributory), died a week later. They were not in receipt of an increase for a qualified child. We paid Payment after Death to the next of kin for one week only on the basis that entitlement to Payment after Death ceased with the death of Mrs. H. However, the next of kin is seeking payment for the full six week period after the death of Mr. H. Who is right?

A. The legislation provides that "where the related person entitled to a continued payment dies and the continued payment does not include an increase in respect of a qualified child the right to the continued payment shall be extinguished" [Article 208 (3)(c) of S.I. 142 of 2007]. So, you were correct in holding that the payment after death ceased on the death of Mrs. H. [ Note, however, if Mr. H had been in receipt of an IQC in respect of a qualified child, the full 6 weeks would have been payable to that child].

Case No. 131 (previously 115):
Payment after Death (Carer's Allowance/Disability Allowance)

Q. Mrs. E is in receipt of a Carer's Allowance payment in respect of the care and attention she is providing for her spouse, who is in receipt of Disability Allowance. Mr. E dies. Can Mrs. E continue to receive the Carer's Allowance payment and also her late husband's Disability Allowance payment for 6 weeks after the date of his death?

A. Yes. The legislation provides that where a person who is in receipt of Disability Allowance dies, the surviving spouse has an entitlement to payment of the deceased spouses Disability Allowance payment for a period of 6 weeks after death if the surviving spouse/partner has a social welfare income support payment in their own right or is a qualified adult on the deceased person's Disability Allowance claim. The spouse would also receive six weeks of their own payment as well. From week 7 the surviving spouse will continue to receive their own payment if they satisfy the criteria for award of that payment or alternatively the surviving spouse but not a surviving partner should apply for Widow's or Widower's Contributory or Non Contributory pension.

In this case Mrs. E has entitlement to payment of Disability Allowance at the rate her late husband was receiving at the time of his death plus Carer's Allowance for a period of 6 weeks after her husband's death. From week 7 her Carer's Allowance would cease. However if she had been caring for two people she would continue to receive Carer's Allowance at single rate for the surviving caree.

If Mrs. E was a qualified adult on her husband's Disability Allowance claim and was getting half rate Carer's Allowance, she would be entitled to receive her husband's Disability Allowance payment including payment for qualified adult and half rate Carer's Allowance for six weeks after his death.

Section 248 (2) (a) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 provides for the payment of deceased spouse/partner's Disability Allowance to the surviving spouse/partner for a period of 6 weeks after the date of death where the spouse/partner is in receipt of a benefit defined in Section 248 (1). Section 248 (2) (e) provides for the payment of carer's allowance or carer's benefit for six weeks where the caree dies.

Case No. 132 (previously 116):
Payment after Death (Jobseeker's Benefit/Illness Benefit)

Q. Mr. F is in receipt of Jobseeker's Benefit and his partner Ms. F with whom he is cohabiting as husband and wife is in receipt of Illness Benefit. Ms. F dies. Has Mr. F an entitlement to payment of his partner's Illness Benefit for the 6 weeks period after her death?

A. Yes. Section 248 (2) (a) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 allows for the payment of the deceased person's benefit to continue for a period of 6 weeks after the date of death and also for payment to be made to such person and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed. The persons prescribed include a person who was living and cohabiting as husband or wife with the deceased at the time of death


HABITUAL RESIDENCE CONDITION (HRC)

Case No. 133 (previously 141):
Habitual Residency Condition � Asylum Seeker

Q. I have an application for Jobseeker's Allowance from a person who is an asylum seeker. Can an asylum seeker meet the Habitual Residency Condition? I realise that the person cannot be considered available for work when they cannot legally work.

A. An asylum seeker is a person who has submitted an application for asylum to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and whose application has not yet been determined. S/he is allowed to reside in Ireland subject to certain conditions being met while his/her application is being examined. Such persons, while awaiting decisions on their applications or who have appealed a refusal of refugee status, do not satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition.

Where refugee status is granted, the person will immediately be treated as being habitually resident from the date of the decision. In some circumstances a person can complete the asylum process without being granted refugee status, but with freedom to remain in Ireland. In these circumstances, if a claim is received from them, their habitual residency status must be determined.

A person seeking asylum cannot be considered to be resident in Ireland (or in another part of the Common Travel Area) during the period in which their asylum claim is being examined. This period cannot be taken into account when considering such factors as length, continuity and general nature of actual residence when arriving at a decision on habitual residence. However, relationships developed during this period and/or other relevant factors that occur during that period may be taken into consideration in the normal way when assessing their centre of interest and future intentions.

Case No. 134 (previously 142):
Habitual Residency Condition - Irish National

Q. A claim for State Pension (Non- Contributory) has been received from a person who immigrated to the USA in 1962. He has now returned to Ireland and has no pension from the US. Must he meet the HRC in order to receive a State Pension (Non-Contributory)?

A. In determining whether a person is habitually resident in Ireland, all relevant evidence is taken into account including the period before the person entered Ireland (and other parts of the Common Travel Area), the present period and the future intentions of the applicant as evidenced by his/her actions. In practice, it should be accepted prima facie that persons who have lived all of their lives in the Common Travel Area satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition. In every other case the question should be examined on the basis of evidence supplied, in accordance with the prescribed criteria which are set out below:

  • Length and continuity of residence in Ireland or any other country
  • Length and purpose of any absence from Ireland
  • Nature and pattern of the employment
  • Applicant's main centre of interest
  • Future intentions of applicant concerned as they appear from all of the circumstances.

The term "habitually resident" is not defined in Irish or EU law. Rather it is intended to convey a degree of permanence evidenced by a regular physical presence. This is usually beginning at a date in the past and intended to continue for a period into the foreseeable future. It implies a close association between the applicant and the country from which payment is claimed and relies heavily on fact.

The 2007 amendment to Section 246 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 incorporates into Irish law 5 factors that have been set down in judgments given by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as relevant to determining whether a person is habitually resident. The court emphasises that these factors are not exhaustive; the list should not be used as a means of scoring points for and against a person satisfying the condition.

No single aspect is consistently likely to be the most important factor though some may be more persuasive in certain circumstances than others. The evidential weight to be attributed to each factor will depend on the circumstances of each case. It is necessary to weigh up all of the information and balance the evidence for and against an applicant satisfying the HRC before reaching a decision.


ONE-PARENT FAMILY PAYMENT (OFP)

Case No. 135 (previously 106):
DWB Limit and Superannuation Contributions

Q. We are currently reviewing the claim of Mrs. W who has been on Deserted Wife's Benefit since 1995 and who works in the Health Service Executive. Her total earnings for the year ended 31st December 2007 were �21,350, which is in excess of the ceiling of �20,000 (S.I. 222 of 2007). However, her earnings included Superannuation Contributions amounting in total to �1,387.75 for the year and we wonder whether this amount should be disregarded when determining whether she is over the limit or not for DWB purposes.

A. The short answer is YES. The rule is that in the case of DWB claims made after 31 August 1992, a person may qualify for payment if she does not have an aggregate of reckonable income or earnings in excess of �20,000 in the last complete tax year or in a subsequent period as the Deciding Officer or Appeals Officer may consider appropriate.

Reckonable earnings are defined in S.I. 312 of 1996 as "(i) in the case of an employed contributor, not being a special contributor, emoluments derived from insurable employment or insurable (occupational injuries) employment, to which Chapter IV of part V of the Act of 1967 applies, but without regard to section 192 of that Act, (other than non-pecuniary emoluments), reduced by so much of the allowable contribution referred to in Regulations 59 and 60 (inserted by the Income Tax (Employments) Regulations, 1972 (S.I. No. 260 of 1972))of the Regulations of 1960 as is deducted on payment of those emoluments".

Regulations 59 & 60 of the Income Tax (Employment) Regulations above refer to Superannuation and Permanent Health Insurance contributions. Ordinary Superannuation contributions made by an employee up to the amount approved by the Revenue Commissioners and which are deducted from wages by the employer are therefore disregarded for the purposes of determining the �20,000 limit for Deserted Wife's Benefit.

In Mrs. M's case her reckonable earnings were her gross earnings (�21,350) less Superannuation Contributions (�1,387.75) which were approved by the Revenue Commissioners and were deducted by her employer, leaving her reckonable earnings as �19,996.25. As this is less than the prescribed amount of �20,000 she may continue to qualify for the Deserted Wife's Benefit provided she satisfies all of the other conditions.

Case No. 136 (previously 117):
Assessment of Maintenance Payments for One-Parent Family Payment

Q. Mrs. G has applied for a One-Parent Family Payment. She is in receipt of a maintenance payment of �250.00 per week from her estranged husband of which �75.00 is in respect of their child.

The child is in receipt of a Disability Allowance payment. Mrs. G has mortgage repayments of �125.00 per week. In determining Mrs. G's One-Parent Family Payment entitlement, is the maintenance paid in respect of the child assessed against her?

A. Yes. In this case Mrs. G is in receipt of the full amount of �250.00. It is assessed in full, less mortgage up to a maximum of �95.23 per week and half of the remaining maintenance is assessed as means. This leaves Mrs. G with a means assessment of �77.38 per week. Maintenance cannot be assessed against the child unless the child is actually in receipt of it.

Where a child qualifies for Disability Allowance, any cash income received is assessable as means. If maintenance payments take the form of direct cash payment to the child by either parent then it is treated as cash income for Disability Allowance purposes and is assessable as means against the Disability Allowance payment.

Case No. 137 (previously 132):
Efforts to seek maintenance - Divorced person

Q. I am currently reviewing a claim for OFP. The claimant is divorced and states that she is not receiving maintenance from her ex-spouse. A copy of the divorce settlement (dated 2003) is on file and shows that her ex-spouse was not in a position at that time to provide maintenance. On Infosys, it would appear that her ex-spouse has earnings in excess of �50,000 for 2007. This would seem to indicate that there has been a change in his circumstances since 2003. Should she be advised to make effort to seek maintenance or does the divorce agreement stand?

A. One of the conditions for receipt of One-Parent Family Payment for separated claimants is that they must have made and continue to make appropriate efforts to obtain maintenance from their ex-spouses (Article 125(b) of S.I. 142 of 2007 applies). Although the claimant has a divorce settlement, she continues to be obliged to make ongoing efforts to seek maintenance from her ex-spouse. Divorce law in Ireland allows for reconsideration of settlements reached if there is a change in circumstances of the parties involved.

It is very important that you advise Maintenance Recovery Unit (Social Welfare Services Office, Shannon Lodge, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim) of the change in the ex-spouse's earnings. MRU try to recover from liable relatives (in this case the ex-spouse) all or some of the OFP paid. MRU will calculate the ex-spouse's liability for maintenance and issue him with a Determination Order seeking payments.

Case No. 138 (previously 143):
OFP customer with occasional income over the statutory limit for disqualification

Q. Although the applicant has varying earnings, her work pattern is usually regular. She has unusually had to do cover for a person who was sick, and, as a result, has had several weeks over that period where earnings exceeded �425. How does this affect her payment?

A. Legislation provides for a disqualification from receiving OFP where a customer's weekly income exceeds a certain amount, currently �425. Where this happens, they have an entitlement to a Transitional Payment (TP) at half the rate they would have been entitled to the week immediately preceding their earnings going over �425. A customer can only receive a TP for a maximum of 26 weeks irrespective of the number of OFP claims made.

In the case above,

  1. A TP could be made for the weeks where the customer went over the �425, and OFP continue for the other weeks. The rate of OFP for the other weeks would be based on average earnings ( see note below) because the work pattern is regular, or,
  2. Alternatively, all earnings could be averaged including the weeks where the earnings were over �425 and OFP entitlement based on this figure over all the weeks,

(Whichever is most beneficial to the customer)

Where a customer's weekly earnings have exceeded �425 as a result of a wage increase, increase in the number of hours worked, etc. and continue to do so, then applying an average will not bring the weekly earnings below �425. In these cases, a TP should be made. The length of time the TP is paid for will depend on whether any TP was previously paid to the customer, as there is a maximum of 26 TPs that can be paid to a customer over their OFP claims.

Note:
When calculating a customer's weekly earnings from employment, Article 151 of S.I. 142 of 2007 (previously Article 3 of S.I. 486 of 2006) provides for this to be calculated "by dividing the gross amount of such earnings in the last complete income tax year by 52". Where a deciding officer considers that this period would not suffice, they may have regard to any other period which they consider appropriate.

Case No. 139 (previously 144):
OFP - Assessment of Means and Rent Supplement/Mortgage Supplement

Q. How do I assess (1) maintenance payments and (2) rent supplement (payable from the Health Service Executive) when calculating the means for a One-Parent Family Payment claim?

A. (1) Maintenance Payments: Any maintenance payment (including maintenance payments made to or in respect of a qualified child), whether a formal or an informal arrangement or whether procured by way of Court Order or otherwise is assessable as means. In assessing the means, housing costs actually incurred by the claimant, (e.g. rent or mortgage payments and/or home improvement loan) up to a maximum of �95.23 per week may be offset against the maintenance payment, with half the balance of the maintenance being assessed as means in the determination of the rate of payment.

Relevant legislation is Rule 1 (2) (b) (ii) of Part 2 of Schedule 3 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and in Article 130 of S.I. 142 of 2007.

(2) Rent Supplement Rent Allowance/Mortgage Supplement should not be taken into account when calculating means on a One-Parent Family claim. This is provided for in Rule 1 (2) (a) of Part 3 of Schedule 3 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005.

Rent Supplement is a social welfare payment which is administered by the HSE on behalf of the Minister for Social & Family Affairs. The rate of rent supplement payable is determined by the person's total income, including their JA or OFP payment.

Note:
Rent Supplement which is administered by the HSE is not the same as Rent Allowance. Rent Allowance is only payable to tenants of certain dwellings affected by the decontrol of rents on 26th July 1982.


STATE PENSION CONTRIBUTORY

Case No. 140 (previously 146):
State Pension (Contributory) recipient who alleges she was working for 5 years but no PRSI recorded

Q. A claim was received for State Pension (Contributory). Claimant's contribution record showed that she had entered insurable employment at age 55 and had paid 430 PRSI contributions during the 11 year period from (age 55 - 66). Accordingly she was awarded a reduced rate SP (Contributory) based on a yearly average of 43 (between 20 & 47). The claimant has queried her contribution record and alleges that she worked for an additional 5 year period (age 50 � 55) but no PRSI contributions are recorded for this period. She is seeking the retrospective payment of PRSI contributions for a 5 year period where she was employed. If these were awarded she would be entitled to a full rate SP (Contributory). How do I proceed?

A. It is a matter for a Deciding Officer to determine,

  • whether employment is or was insurable employment
  • whether a person is or was employed in an insurable employment or insurable (occupational injuries) employment or who was the employer of an employed contributor and
  • whether a person is or was in insurable self-employment.

Section 300 (2) (a) (iv), (v), (vii) and (xi) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 refer.

These decisions are made by a Deciding Officer based on all available evidence including the SWI report. (It may be necessary for the Deciding Officer to request a SWI report). If the Deciding Officer is unsure as to the insurability of the employment/class of contribution they should contact Scope section. This may involve sending the file (including all relevant reports) to Scope Section. If the claimant had social welfare claims subsequent to the employment or during the employment then the claim papers for these might also be useful for the Deciding Officer in Scope Section.

If a Deciding Officer (Scheme Section/Scope Section) decides she was in insurable employment the claimant may be entitled to not only arrears of her State Pension (Contributory) but also for treating assistance claims (if she had any subsequent to the disputed employment) as claims for a related benefit payment. This would require a revised decision to be made by the Deciding Officer in the scheme area.

Further Considerations
Section 259 of the SW Consolidation Act 2005 which covers loss of benefit due to employer's default enables an employed contributor (or other person) to seek recovery from the employer via civil proceedings of the amount of benefit lost as a result of the non-payment of contributions by an employer. If the person doesn't take proceedings then the Minister can take proceedings in the name of and on behalf of the contributor.

If the pensioner was self-employed during the alleged period then Section 110 of the SW Consolidation Act might apply which provides for the disregard in certain circumstances of self-employment contributions which though due have not been paid on time. This provision was introduced to deter people paying self employment contributions well after the time they were payable in order to gain entitlement to SP (Contributory).


CHILD BENEFIT

Case No. 141 (previously 147):
Payment of Child Benefit (CB) - Who is entitled to payment where the parents are separated

Q. I have received a claim for CB from the father of a child aged 17 years of age who is in full-time education. The parents are separated and the father has stated that the child stays with him every second week. He has sent in a copy of a joint equal custody order. The mother of the child is currently in receipt of the CB payment.

A. The issue here concerns the normal residence of the child and not the fact that a court order for joint equal custody exists. Section 220 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 provides that "a person with whom a qualified child normally resides shall be qualified for child benefit in respect of that child and is in this Part referred to as 'a qualified person'." However in this case the child resides with each parent on alternate weeks.

Article 159 (2) of S.I. 142 of 2007 provides for determining the normal residence of a child where the parents are separated i.e. "the qualified child shall be regarded as normally residing with the person with whom he or she resides for the majority of the time". Therefore CB is payable to the parent with whom the child resides the majority of the time. It would be unusual for the normal residence of a child to be divided exactly between both parents. However, if the child resides 50% of the time with each parent, then the mother is paid.

Note:
To qualify for Child Benefit the applicant must satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition.


DISABILITY ALLOWANCE

Case No. 142 (previously 148):
Earnings as a Home Help/Home Support Worker

Q. I have received correspondence from a claimant currently in receipt of a Disability Allowance (DA) payment which includes IQA payment (Spouse is employed as home help/home support worker) and full payment for two qualified children. Claimant states that he has recently started work as a home help/home support worker and has included a letter from the doctor to say that this work is of a rehabilitative nature. Claimant now earns the same as his spouse i.e. �200 per week. How do I proceed?

A. At present the DA claimant is in receipt of the maximum personal rate plus the maximum Increase Qualified Adult (IQA) rate and maximum Increase Qualified Child (IQC) rate for two children. Since earnings from home help are disregarded there is a nil means assessment. Therefore the personal rate of DA payable remains the same.

The weekly rate of home help income earned by the spouse/partner does not affect the DA claim.

Before the claimant started work the family had DA at personal maximum rate, maximum IQA plus maximum IQC for two children and E200 per week income. The claimant then started work as a home help earning �200 per week. Claimant's earnings are disregarded from the means assessment giving the family DA at personal maximum rate, maximum IQA, maximum IQC for two children plus �400 per week income.

Where a person is working as a Home Help it is not necessary for the DA claimant to supply a letter from a doctor stating that the work is rehabilitative. However, the claimant should notify the Department and provide proof that the Health Board has approved the Home Help work. In other cases of DA applicants taking up employment it is necessary for them to supply a letter from a doctor stating that the work is rehabilitative if they wish to avail of a rehabilitative disregard of the first �120 of earnings and a further disregard of half of the weekly earnings between �120 and �350.

(Rehabilitative employment can only be commenced with the prior agreement of DA section).


MEANS ASSESSMENTS

Case No. 143 (previously 102):
No assessment of Rent from house bought with Hepatitis C award

Q. Ms. O is in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment. She was awarded �200,000 compensation by the Hepatitis C Tribunal with which she bought a small house that she has let. I understand that compensation awarded in Hepatitis C cases is not assessable for means purposes. But if, as in this case, the money is used to buy property which is let, can the rental income be assessed?

A. No, any rental income received by Ms. O from the property in question should not be assessed against her. The relevant legislation provides that "the yearly value of all income derived from compensation awarded by the Compensation Tribunal ... to compensate certain persons who have contracted Hepatitis C" is not assessable. [Article 155 of S.I. 142 of 2007] The same provision applies to compensation for Thalidomide disabilities. This includes all such compensation, together with subsequent income from the investment of that money.

Case No. 144 (previously 37):
Money in Trust Fund

Q. Mrs. R is in receipt of a Widow's (Non-Contributory) Pension. When her means were reviewed recently it was discovered that her bank balance had increased as a result of the sale of some land. She told the investigator that the reason she had sold the land was to make provision in the event of her death for her two children who are in their 30s and who are both badly handicapped. She is 70 years of age and intends to place the money in a Trust fund to ensure it is used solely for this purpose. Will the money be assessable as her means after it is lodged to the Trust fund?

A. In the normal way if a person deprives himself or herself of capital for the sake of qualifying for a higher rate of payment, that capital is assessable as means [ Rule 2(1) of Part 3 of Schedule Three of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005.]. However, in this case, if the Deciding Officer is satisfied that Mrs. R has genuinely transferred the money to a trust fund for the sake of her children, and not deprived herself of it in order to qualify for a payment from the Department, then it is not assessable as means.

Case No. 145 (previously 129):
Means Assessment - Farm consisting of bogland

Q. I am carrying out a means assessment for State Pension Non-Contributory purposes. The claimant has a smallholding of 20 acres that the SWI has stated is lying idle and has only ever generated a very small annual income which is now very much reduced as it is no longer possible to cut turf. The land is of very poor quality and mostly bogland. The SWI has recommended that a yearly value based on the income from the land should be assessed as means. Is this the case or should I assess the capital value of the land?

A. Under Rule 1(1) of Part 3 of Schedule 3 of the 2005 Social Welfare Consolidation Act, the capital value of property is assessed as means where the property is invested or otherwise put to profitable use by the person or is capable of being put to profitable use. In the case outlined, the SWI is satisfied that the land held by the claimant is of very poor standard and incapable of being put to profitable use. Therefore, in this case, a capital value should not be assessed. The assessment to use is the yearly value of income from the land.

Case No. 146 (previously 130):
Means Assessment � SSIAs - (As the SSIAs were a once off payment it was decided to replace this question with a relevant example re: PRSA's and AVC's)

In Budget 2006, the Minister announced that a 'disregard would apply to PRSA's from assessment in all means tested social welfare schemes from April 2006'.

Section 33 (c) (iv) of the Social Welfare Law Reform and Pensions Act 2006 provided the legislative basis for the introduction of same. S.I. No. 246 of 2006 (Social Welfare Law Reform and Pensions Act 2006 (Sections 4(4), 4(5), 31 and 33) (Commencement) Order 2006 set out the date for commencement of same as 8 May 2006.

Essentially this means that where an OFP customer is making AVC's to their PRSA, which is deducted by the employer at source, the amount of the AVC is disregarded before establishing the gross earnings of the customer.

E.g. Ms. X a lone parent receives a gross salary of �410.00 per week. From this amount Ms. X makes an AVC of �50.00 per week. For the purposes of Section 173(3) of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005, Ms. X's gross weekly earnings are �360.00 per week (not �410.00). From the �370.00, she is entitled to receive the additional income disregard of �146.50.

Q: Ms. X has claimed OPFP. She receives a gross salary of �350 per week. Each week, she makes a contribution of �50 per week from her earnings to her PRSA. Is this amount disregarded when calculating her means from employment?

A: Yes. From May 2006, contributions to a PRSA are disregarded in full. Accordingly, her net earnings for means test purposes are �300 per week (�350 less �50). The first �146.50 of her net weekly earnings are then disregarded and the balance is assessed at 50%.

In the case of OPFP, the following items are disregarded when assessing means from earnings from employment:

  • social insurance contributions, the Health contribution, superannuation contributions including Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC's) and contributions to a PRSA and trade union contributions.

[Article 151A of S.I. 142 of 2007 and Reference 18A, Table 2 of Schedule 3 of the SW Consolidation Act 2005]

Deductions in respect of income tax and health insurance premium e.g. to VHI, BUPA etc. are not disregarded.

Note:
Legislation also provides that OPFP shall not be payable to a person whose gross weekly earnings exceed �425 per week. For this purpose, gross means earnings before account is taken of any deductions, including those outlined above.


WIDOW'S CONTRIBUTORY PENSION

Case No. 147 (previously 88):
Divorced Person's entitlement to Widow's Contributory Pension

Q. Mr. and Mrs. O'H were divorced in 2006. Mr. O'H died in March 2008. Mrs. O'H has now claimed Jobseeker's Benefit, having worked in Ireland for the last 8 years. She assumed she was not entitled to claim a Widow's Pension, having been divorced. What rate of JB should she receive?

A. The legislation defines a 'spouse' for the purpose of Widow's and Widower's Contributory Pension as the person's 'last spouse' and this is to be construed as; 'spouse', in relation to a widow or widower who has been married more than once, refers only to the widow's or widower's last spouse and for this purpose that last spouse shall be read as including a party to a marriage that has been dissolved, being a dissolution that is recognised as valid in the State; [Section 123 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005]

Note:
Mrs. O'H is accordingly entitled to WCP provided that: (a) the divorce is recognised as legally valid in the State and (b) she has not re-married and is not cohabiting and (c) she satisfies the contribution conditions. She should be advised to contact WCP Section in regard to her claim, and comment on her reason for not making the claim at the appropriate time. JB will be payable at half-rate when the WCP claim is awarded. If there is any delay in processing that claim, JB could be paid at full rate in the meantime, and the excess recouped from the arrears of WCP in due course.


TREATMENT BENEFIT

Case No. 148 (previously 122):
Treatment Benefit Retired Person

Q. Mr. N applied for Optical Benefit. He is 69 years of age. He retired from insurable employment at age 60. He was employed for 30 years. Does he qualify for payment of Optical Benefit?

A. Yes. This man has been in insurable employment up to age 60 and paying the necessary contributions. As Mr. N satisfied the qualifying conditions for Optical Benefit at the time he reached age 60, he will continue to be entitled to the benefit for the rest of his life. This applies in the case of all Treatment Benefits and is provided for in Article 98 of S.I. 142 of 2007


ISLAND ALLOWANCE

Case No. 149 (previously 135):
Increase for living on specified islands

Q. I have received a claim for an Island Allowance from a person who is in receipt of an Old Age Retirement Pension from the UK. From what date can the Island Allowance be awarded?

A. The provision to extend the Island Allowance to recipients of corresponding payments from other EEA States is effective from 14 March 2005 - it was introduced under Section 10(b) of the Social Welfare & Pensions Act 2005.


FAMILY INCOME SUPPLEMENT

Case No. 150 (previously 136):
FIS and County Councillors

Q. I have received a claim for FIS from a person who is a County Councillor. He is not in any other form of employment. The County Council has advised that it is not in a position to verify the number of hours he works but he states that, while he has no set hours, he works in excess of 19 hours per week on council business in the community. He has submitted documentation indicating that he has an annual income of �21,500. He also receives expenses on a quarterly basis. Does he qualify for FIS?

A. In order to qualify for FIS a person must be engaged in remunerative full-time employment as an employee. This requirement is set out in section 227 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005. As County Councillors are not engaged in remunerative employment as employees they do not qualify for payment of FIS.


Glossary of Terms
AO Appeals Officer
B&P Benefit and Privilege
DA Disability Allowance
DO Deciding Officer
DSFA Department of Social and Family Affairs
DWB Deserted Wife's Benefit
CB Child Benefit
CE Community Employment
EEA European Economic Area
EU European Union
FIS Family Income Supplement
GCY Governing Contribution Year
GSW Genuinely seeking work
HRC Habitual Residence Condition
HSE Health Service Executive
I.B. Illness Benefit
I.Q.A. Increase for a Qualified Adult
I.Q.C. Increase for a Qualified Child
J.A. Jobseeker's Allowance
J.B. Jobseeker's Benefit
LO Local Office
MRU Maintenance Recovery Unit
OFP One-parent Family Payment
O.I.B. Occupational Injury Benefit
PIE Period of Interruption of Employment
PLC Post Leaving Cert Course
PRECS Pre-Retirement Credits
PRETA Pre-Retirement Allowance
PRSI Pay Related Social Insurance
RDA Regional Decisions Advisor
RDO Regional Director's Office
S.I. Statutory Instrument
SPC State Pension contributory
SPNC State Pension non-contributory
SSIA Special Saving Incentive Account
SST Systematic Short-time
SW Social Welfare
SWA Supplementary Welfare Allowance
SWAO Social Welfare Appeals Office
SWI Social Welfare Inspector
TLA Third Level Allowance
TP Transition Payment
VC Voluntary Contributor
VEC Vocational Educational Committee
WCP Widow/Widowers Contributory Pension
Last modified:17/08/2010
 

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