Household Benefits Package


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INTERNAL GUIDELINES USED IN ADMINISTERING SCHEMES COMPRISING THE HOUSEHOLD BENEFITS PACKAGE:


  • ELECTRICITY ALLOWANCE
  • CASH ELECTRICITY ALLOWANCE
  • NATURAL GAS ALLOWANCE
  • CASH GAS ALLOWANCE
  • FREE TELEVISION LICENCE
  • TELEPHONE ALLOWANCE

INDEX

A. SCHEME INFORMATION

1 DESCRIPTION OF SCHEMES

Electricity Allowance.
Cash Electricity Allowance.
Natural Gas Allowance
Cash Gas Allowance.
Free Television Licence.
Telephone Allowance

2 LEGISLATION

3 ADMINISTRATION

4 QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

Applicants aged 70 or over
Applicants in receipt of a Carer's Allowance should note that if you were awarded Carer�s Allowance on or after 1 April 2012, you must be living with the person that you are getting Carer�s Allowance for.
Applicants aged between 66 and 70
Applicants under age 66
List of Qualifying payments and excepted household members for persons aged under 70
Concessions

5 ELECTRICITY/GAS ALLOWANCE DETAILS

a) Electricity Allowance
How it's paid
Change of address / What's not covered
b) CashElectricity Account
How it's paid
c) Natural Gas Allowance
How it's paid/What's covered
Changes of Address
d) Cash Gas Allowance
How it's paid/What's covered
What's not covered

6 FREE TELEVISION LICENCE DETAILS

How to claim
How it's renewed
Free Television Licence (only) entitlement

7 TELEPHONE ALLOWANCE DETAILS

How it's paid
What is not covered
What if the applicant is not Registered Account holder
Change of address

8 WHEN AND HOW TO APPLY FOR THE FREE SCHEMES

Completing the Application Form(s)
Where to send it to

B. APPLICATION GUIDELINES

 

READING THE INFORMATION BOOKLET AND COMPLETING THE APPLICATION FORM

Applicants in receipt of a Social Security Pension
Applicants 66 70 not in receipt of a qualifying Pension
Widowed/Surviving Civil Partner applicants aged 60 65
Household composition
Medical Certification
Copy of a recent utility bill

C. APPENDICES

APPENDIX (I)

Treatment of applications for backdating of the Household Benefits

APPENDIX (II)

List of countries covered by EC regulations and those countries which Ireland has a bilateral or social security agreement


A. SCHEME INFORMATION

1. DESCRIPTION OF HOUSEHOLD BENEFITS PACKAGE

ELECTRICITY/GAS ALLOWANCE

The Electricity/Gas Allowance has four different options, depending on the applicant's circumstances. An eligible person can only be in receipt of one of the four options at any given time.

a) Electricity Allowance

The Electricity Allowance provides cash credit of �35.00 monthly on the bill.

b) Cash Electricity Allowance

If the applicant has an electricity slot meter or if the registered consumer of electricity at their address is a landlord, they may alternatively qualify for a Cash Electricity Allowance of �35.00.

c) Natural Gas Allowance

The Natural Gas Allowance is an alternative to the Electricity Allowance for people whose homes are connected to a Natural Gas supply. This cash credit of �35.00 will be automatically applied to your bill.

d) Cash Gas Allowance

The Cash Gas Allowance is another alternative allowance, if the applicant's home is not connected to an electricity or natural gas supply but they otherwise satisfy the conditions of the scheme.

FREE TELEVISION LICENCE

Qualified persons are entitled to a Free Television Licence from the next renewal date of their licence following award of the allowance.

TELEPHONE ALLOWANCE

The Telephone Allowance provides a payment of �9.50 per month towards telephone and broadband service costs.

The Telephone Allowance may be paid in respect of either a landline or a mobile phone.

2. LEGISLATION

The Electricity/Gas range of schemes are non-statutory, having been introduced and extended by Ministerial Order.

3. ADMINISTRATION

The Schemes are administered by Household Benefits Section, in the Social Welfare Services Office, Sligo.

4. QUALIFYING CONDITIONS

SUMMARY OF QUALIFYING CRITERIA:

Applicants Aged 70 or over or applicants in receipt of a Carer's Allowance (Applicant�s in receipt of Carer�s allowance should note that if you were awarded Carer�s Allowance on or after 1 April 2012, you must be living with the person that you are getting Carer�s Allowance for) or who are the nominated carer of a person in receipt of a Constant Attendance Allowance or Prescribed Relatives Allowance:

  • Applicant must be permanently residing in the State.
    AND
  • No other person in their household can be in receipt of the allowance.
    AND
  • The applicant must be the registered consumer of electricity/gas if s/he is applying for an Electricity Allowance or Natural Gas Allowance. The applicant must be the registered telephone account holder if s/he is applying for a Telephone Allowance

Applicants aged BETWEEN 66 AND 70:

In addition to the conditions that apply to applicants aged 70 or over ( as listed above):

Applicants aged UNDER 66:

In addition to the conditions that apply to applicants aged 70 or over as listed above:

QUALIFYING PAYMENTS FOR PERSONS AGED BETWEEN 66 AND 70:

(from Department of Social Protection)

  • State Pension (Contributory)/(Transition)
  • State Pension (Non-Contributory)
  • Widow's/Widower's/Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory or Non-Contributory Pension
  • One-Parent Family Payment, Deserted Wife's Benefit / Allowance or Prisoner's Wife's Allowance, or

- an ORDINARY Garda Widow's Pension (from Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform)

- a Social Security Pension/Benefit from a country covered by EC Regulations, or from a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement. [See Appendix II for details]

QUALIFYING PAYMENTS FOR PERSONS AGED UNDER 66 YEARS:

(from Department of Social Protection)

  • Invalidity Pension , or
  • Disability Allowance, or
  • Blind Person's Pension, or
  • Incapacity Supplement or Workmen's Compensation, with Disablement Pension, for at least 12 months, or

(from a foreign Social Security Agency)

  • a Social Security Invalidity Pension/Benefit or equivalent payment for at least 12 months, from a country covered by EC Regulations, or from a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement. [See Appendix II for details]
  • Disability Living Allowance with Severe Disablement Allowance for at least 12 month [United Kingdom]

Note: Irish Army veterans on an army disablement pension do not qualify for Household Benefits from the Department of Social Protection. Similarly a foreign army disablement pension paid to veterans who are resident in Ireland is not a qualifying payment for the purposes of the Household Benefits Package.

EXCEPTED PEOPLE FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE ELECTRICITY/GAS ALLOWANCE:

An applicant, who is not aged 70 or over or who is not in receipt of a Carer's Allowance must reside alone or only with the following excepted people:

  • a Qualified Adult*.
    AND/OR
  • dependent child(ren) under age 18 or under age 22 if in full-time education (a certificate from the school / college must be supplied for those aged 18 or over),
    AND/OR
  • a person who is so incapacitated as to require constant care and attention for at least 12 months (medical certification may be required),
    AND/OR
  • a person(s) who would qualify for the allowance in his/her own right (for example, a person getting an Old Age Pension),
    AND/OR
  • a person who is providing constant care and attention**** to any member of the housegold who is so incapacitated as to require constant care and attention for at least 12 months (medical certification must be supplied as applicable).

* An applicant's spouse/civil partner/cohabitant is regarded as being a "Qualified Adult" if the applicant is receiving an increase for a qualified adult with his/her payment or would have received an increase but for the fact that s/he is in receipt of a Social Welfare payment in his/her own right.

** Child(ren) under age 18 cannot be considered dependent if they are in receipt of a social welfare payment in their own right.

***Incapacited members of the household may be in receipt of a non qualifying payment, provided that the medical conditions are satisfied.

****People in employment for more than 15 hours per week or receiving Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance cannot be accepted as providing constant full time care and attention.

A LIVING ALONE INCREASE is payable to people who are living alone and receiving one of a number of specified payments from this Department (Application forms are available from any Office of the Department of Social Protection, or Post Office).

CONCESSIONS

1. A widow/widower/surviving civil partner aged between 60 and 65 years, whose late spouse/civil partner received an Electricity/Gas allowance and or Telephone Allowance and/or Free T.V. licence from this Department, may qualify for the Household Benefits Package (i.e. all three schemes) if s/he otherwise satisfies the conditions as outlined above, and receives one of the payments below. Where a widow/widower/surviving civil partner is also in receipt of � rate Disability Benefit this will not prevent him/her from qualifying for the Household Benefits Package.

Note: where the surviving spouse/surviving civil partner was the person in receipt of the allowance(s) they can retain the Household Benefits package provided that the conditions for receipt of the allowance remains satisfied and they receive one of the payments below.

(from the Department of Social Protection)

  • State Pension (Transition) (payable at age 65),
  • Widow's/Widower's/Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory or Non-Contributory Pension,
  • One-Parent Family Payment (Widows/Widowers),
  • Widow's Pension or Dependent Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Pension under the Occupational Injuries Benefits Scheme.

(from a foreign Social Security Agency)

  • an equivalent Social Security Pension/Benefit from a country covered by EC Regulations, or from a country with which Ireland has a Bilateral Social Security Agreement.

(from the Department of Justice)

  • an ORDINARY Garda Widow's Pension.

NOTE: Documentary evidence that the applicant's late spouse received the allowance claimed may be requested.

2. A person who receives Disability Allowance (DA) or Blind Pension, may retain Electricity/Gas Allowance, if held, on transfer to a Back To Work Allowance (BTWA) for the duration of the BTWA payment. (BTWA schemes typically last for 2 years for most transferees, but may last for 4 years for people in designated Partnership Areas, who take up self-employment).

3. A person who receives Invalidity Pension, Disability Allowance or Blind Pension, may retain Electricity/Natural Gas Allowance, if held, on transfer to another long term Department of Social Protection payment (excluding Jobseeker's Benefit/Allowance, Illness Benefit, carer's Benefit and Pre-Retirement Allowance.

5. ELECTRICITY/GAS ALLOWANCE DETAILS

a) ELECTRICITY ALLOWANCE

How is the Allowance paid?

Electricity Allowance is paid as a �35.00 monthly credit on a customer's electricity bill where possible. If this is not possible, the allowance will be paid on the 1 st Tuesday of each month to the customer's nominated financial institution or Post Office.

What does the Allowance cover?

The Electricity Allowance is an energy allowance of �35.00 monthly.

What if a person receiving Electricity Allowance changes address?

When a person receiving a Electricity Allowance changes address, the allowance ceases to apply to the electricity account for his/her previous address.

To re-qualify for the scheme, a new application must be made (using the standard form HB1). This is because entitlement has to be re-assessed. If, at the new address, the conditions for receiving the allowance continue to be satisfied, the allowance will be re-awarded.

What does the Electricity Allowance not cover?

The allowance does not cover:

  • the cost of installing an electricity supply in the home, and
  • the extra standing charges applied in (e.g. storage heating).

The allowance cannot be awarded where the applicant is not the registered consumer of electricity for his/her home. If this is the case, s/he should arrange with the supplier to become the registered account holder before making application for the allowance.

The allowance cannot be paid at more than one address (This also applies to the other optional Electricity/Gas allowances).

b) CASH ELECTRICITY ALLOWANCE

The Cash Electricity Allowance may be awarded where the applicant is living in a flat or apartment where:

  • s/he has an electricity slot meter
    OR
  • there are a number of separate electricity meters operating from one ESB meter, and the registered consumer of electricity is a landlord
    OR
  • there are no separate meters, but the registered consumer of electricity for the dwelling is a landlord.

The allowance is paid on the 1st Tuesday of each month to an account in a nominated financial institution or at a nominated post office using a social welfare services card. The customer must provide details of their preferred payment method on Part 4 of the application form ( HB1).

Note: If a customer is paid through a post office, using a social welfare services card, the allowance must be collected before the next monthly payment is due.

c) NATURAL GAS ALLOWANCE

How is the Allowance paid?

Natural Gas Allowance is paid as a �35.00 monthly credit on a customer's gas bill where possible. If this is not possible, the allowance will be paid on the 1 st Tuesday of each month to the customer�s nominated financial institution or Post Office.

When an application for Natural Gas Allowance is approved, the effective date of award of the allowance is based on the date of receipt of the application form. The allowance will appear on the second gas bill the applicant receives after that date and will include any arrears due.

What if a recipient of Natural Gas Allowance changes address?

As with Electricity Allowance, following a change of address, the Natural Gas Allowance ceases to apply at the recipient's old address. To re-qualify, where s/he continues to satisfy conditions at the new address, s/he must re-apply using form HB1.

As with the Electricity Allowance, applications received within 6 months may be backdated to the date the allowance ceased at the old address, otherwise the allowance is applied from the application date.

d) CASH GAS ALLOWANCE

How is the Allowance paid?

If the applicant's home is NOT connected to an electricity/natural gas supply, but s/he would otherwise satisfy the conditions of the Electricity/Gas Allowance scheme, s/he may qualify for a Bottled Gas (Refill) Allowance.

The allowance of �35.00  is paid on the 1st Tuesday of each month to an account in a nominated financial institution or at a nominated post office using a social welfare services card. The customer must provide details of their preferred payment method on part 3 of the application form ( HB1).

Note: If a customer is paid through a post office, using a social welfare services card, the allowance must be collected before the next monthly payment is due.

6. FREE TELEVISION LICENCE DETAILS

A person who is awarded any one of the Electricity/Gas Allowances is entitled to a Free Television Licence from the next due renewal date of his/her current Television Licence.

The Electricity/Gas Allowance award letter has a detachable Free Television Licence, which remains valid as long as the applicant continues to receive the Household Benefits Package.

Free Television Licence (Only) Entitlement

An Electricity Allowance cannot be allowed where the applicant's electricity account is not billed under the Domestic Two-Part Tariff. A Natural Gas Allowance can not be allowed where the natural gas supply is also used for business purposes, without being separately metered.

However, if the applicant otherwise satisfies the conditions for getting either allowance, they will still qualify for a Free TV Licence (only). Application should be made using form HB1

7. TELEPHONE ALLOWANCE DETAILS

How is the Allowance paid?

A customer may qualify for a �9.50 monthly Telephone Allowance for a landline phone or a mobile phone.

If a customer chooses a landline phone, the allowance will be paid as a credit on the telephone billwhere possible. If this is not possible, the allowance will be paid on the 1 st Tuesday of each month to the customer�s nominated financial institution or Post Office.

The telephone account must be in the customers own name or a joint account (in their own name). If this is not the case, the customer should contact the service provider to have the name changed.

If the customer opts to receive the �9.50 allowance for a mobile phone, the allowance is paid on the 1st Tuesday of each month to an account in a nominated financial institution or at a post office using a social welfare services card. The customer must provide details of their preferred payment method on Part 4 of the application form ( HB1).

Note: If a customer is paid through a post office, using a social welfare services card, the allowance must be collected before the next monthly payment is due.

What does the Allowance cover?

The Telephone Allowance provides a payment �9.50 monthly towards telephone and broadband services.

What does the Allowance not cover?

The Telephone Allowance does not cover the installation charge for a telephone line or the cost of purchasing a mobile phone.

NOTE: The allowance cannot be paid at more than one address.

What if the applicant is not the registered account holder of a telephone at his/her address, at the time of application for the allowance?

The allowance cannot be applied where an applicant is not the registered telephone account holder for his/her home. If this is the case, s/he should contact their service provider and arrange to become the registered account holder before making application for the allowance.

What if a person receiving Telephone Allowance changes address?

When a person receiving a Telephone Allowance changes address, the allowance ceases to apply to the telephone account for his/her previous address.

If, at the new address, the conditions for receiving the allowance continue to be satisfied, the allowance may be awarded again on re-application by the person (on form HB1).

If a re-application for the allowance is received within 6 months from the date it ceased to apply at the original address, a backdated award may be allowed to the previous termination date, provided the applicant has resided at his/her new address for the full intervening period. If this is not the position, the allowance may only be awarded from the the date s/he took up residence at the new address, OR the date that s/he became the registered telephone account holder at that address, if application for a telephone was delayed.

Initially, a telephone bill may be received at the new address without the allowance shown on it. However, the account will be automatically adjusted before the next or subsequent telephone bill the applicant receives, to include any credit due.

Following a change of address, if a re-application for the allowance is received more than 6 months after the allowance termination date (at the previous address), it may only be awarded from the date of receipt of the application for the Telephone Allowance at the new address).

(See Appendix (I) for full details of when the allowance can be backdated).

8. WHEN AND HOW TO APPLY FOR THE FREE SCHEMES

Applications for the Household Benefits Package should be made on application form HB1 as soon as a person:

  • reaches age 70
    OR
  • is awarded a Carer's Allowance ( Applicant�s should note that if you were awarded Carer�s Allowance on or after 1 April 2012, you must be living with the person that you are getting Carer�s Allowance for)
    OR
  • is awarded a qualifying payment and satisfies that other conditions as outlined

The completed application form and copies of utility bills etc should be returned to:

Household Benefits Section,
Social Welfare Services Office,
College Road,
Sligo.

LoCall Telephone: 1890 50 00 00

B. APPLICATION GUIDELINES

1. Application form and information booklet

Before completing the application form applicants should read the information booklet SW107. The application form HB1 is included with SW107. This is a 4 page form and should be completed for all applications for Household Benefits Package.

If the applicant is receiving a Social Security Pension

Persons whose pension is not paid by the Department of Social Protection must submit documentary evidence in respect of their pension.

If the applicant, aged between 66 and 70 years, is not receiving a Social Security Pension

If application is being made on a Means Test basis, a separate means assessment form will be issued. This must be completed in full by the applicant and returned along with all required documentation.

If the applicant is married, or living with a partner as husband and wife, details of his/her Spouse/Partner's income and capital must also be given, with supporting documentation as required.

Questions relating to Household Composition

All other questions on the form relating to those who reside in the household, their source of income etc. must be answered. School Attendance Certificate(s) for any child(ren) aged between 18 and 22 years, in full time education, must be provided.

Medical Certification

Where the applicant is aged under 70 years (and not a Carer), Medical Certification in respect of incapacitated people (other than the spouse) in the household must be provided. The medical details must be completed by the patient's Doctor on a special medical form which can be obtained from the Free Schemes Section. The certificate should be fully completed, signed and stamped by the Doctor.

Include a copy of a recent bill

When returning the completed application form the applicant MUST include a copy of a recent electricity bill, if applying for an electricity allowance, OR a copy of a recent gas bill, if applying for a natural gas allowance AND a copy of page 1 of a recent telephone bill, if applying for the telephone allowance.


C. APPENDICES

APPENDIX (I) - PROCEDURES IN RELATION TO BACKDATING ON APPEAL

New Regulations were enacted on 25 May, 2000 on backdating payment of late claims for all schemes except OACP,RP, WCP, OCP, UA, UB and SWA. [The Social Welfare (Consolidated Payments Provision)(Amendment)(No. 8)(Late Claims) Regulations, 2000 (S.I. No. 159 of 2000)].

Provisions for backdating of Household Benefits (Electricity/Gas Allowance, Telephone Allowance and Free Television Licence) applications have been aligned with the new Regulations.

In the case of the Household Benefits, evidence of good cause for a late claim will not be required.

An application for Household Benefits may be backdated for a maximum of six months where there is an underlying entitlement. Where such entitlement is evident when a decision is being made on the initial application, the award date should should be adjusted to incorporate the backdate.

In certain circumstances a backdate may be made for a period in excess of six months. The period may be extended where the delay in making the claim is due to ?

  • Incorrect information given by the Department; or
  • the person being so incapacitated that s/he was unable to pursue the claim; or
  • a force majeure.

It is also permissible to provide for extended payment where the person is currently in financial difficulties.

More detailed information on how these are defined is provided at the end of this section.

NOTE: Extension of the late claims payment period under these Regulations applies only where the person has an underlying entitlement for the period for which the benefit is claimed.

A number of concessions which will apply to backdating claims received from Household Benefits recipients are detailed below.

1. REQUESTS FOR BACKDATES FROM PERSONS WHO WERE NOT IN RECEIPT OF FREES BEFORE TRANSFERRING BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT AWARE OF ENTITLEMENT

Backdate requests in such cases should be treated in accordance with the above provisions.

2. LIVING ALONE INCREASE IN PAYMENT FOR SOME TIME OR RETROSPECTIVELY AWARDED

A claim for Living Alone Increase if awarded will entitle a person who applies late for Household Benefits to have the schemes backdated to the date Living Alone Increase was awarded. In principle, the claim for Living Alone Increase is deemed to be a claim for Household Benefits provided that all other qualifying conditions are satisfied.

3. WHERE PENSION IS BACKDATED

In cases where a pension is backdated by the Department the Household Benefits may also be backdated to that date, provided that there was an underlying entitlement to them for that period.

4. PAYMENT REINSTATED ON APPEAL

Where a client wins an appeal against a decision to terminate/suspend their Department of Social Protection payment, which has also resulted in the termination of their Household Benefits, the Allowances can be backdated in full.

5. FREES TERMINATED ON ENTRY TO NURSING HOME/HOSPITAL

On entry to a Nursing Home/Hospital a client loses entitlement to Household Benefits from the end of the billing period in which they entered the Nursing Home/hospital. If they return home and re apply for the schemes within six months the schemes can be backdated to the date that the schemes were terminated.

If the client returns home and re applies for the schemes more than six months after they were terminated the schemes may be backdated to the date they returned home OR for up to six months, whichever is the shorter.

6. POSTHUMOUS CLAIMS

A posthumous claim for Household Benefits is not considered.

7. REQUEST FOR BACKDATE OF ONE SCHEME

A request for backdating of one of the Household Benefits will be taken as a request to examine possible entitlement to all schemes e.g. a request for backdating of Electricity/Gas Allowance will be taken as a request to examine possible entitlement to backdating of Telephone Allowance and Free Television Licence. Again, all conditions for each scheme must be satisfied and proof of purchase of TV licence must be furnished.

CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH AN EXTENDED BACKDATE MAY BE MADE

A. INCORRECT INFORMATION GIVEN BY THE DEPARTMENT

Where the failure to claim within the prescribed time arose as a result of false or misleading information supplied by staff of the Department to the person concerned (or his/her agent), the allowance(s) may be backdated to the date on which the misleading information was given or the date of entitlement, whichever is the shorter period.

If the information was supplied in writing, verification of the Department's responsibility may be obtained where a copy is produced by the claimant or traced in the Department's records.

Many of the claims arising under this heading however will not be easily substantiated (particularly if the person who is alleged to have given the information has died, retired or left the Department) and the evidence will need to be considered along the following lines:

  • How clear is the claimant as to what advice or information was given? Is the claimant's memory clear enough to establish that what was said (rather than what was heard) was incorrect?
  • Can the claimant identify the person who gave this advice?
  • Was the point at issue an unusual point that was not commonly addressed by Department staff and on which there may have been confusion?
  • Is it reasonable to believe that the person so identified might have given the information as reported?
  • Was the incorrect information the main reason for the failure to make the claim at the correct time?

B. PERSON SO INCAPACITATED THAT HE/SHE WAS UNABLE TO PURSUE THE CLAIM.

Where the delay arose because the person was incapacitated by illness or infirmity between the date of initial entitlement and the date of claim, a back-date may be considered. The nature of the illness or incapacity must be such that the claimant could not have been expected to make a claim or appoint an agent to act on his/her behalf. An illness, though disabling which, by its nature would not cause the claimant's mental faculties to diminish significantly will not be regarded as sufficient reason for the failure to make a timely claim. In addition, if an application was made for other schemes during the period in question the applicant could not be considered to qualify under this provision.

It should also be noted that a current illness which did not exist at the date of initial entitlement or a relevant subsequent period will not justify a back-date.

However, where a person recovers from a period of incapacity, a claim must be made within 12 months of such recovery, in order that a backdate may be considered under this provision. In these circumstances, the claim may be backdated to the date of initial entitlement or the date of the commencement of the incapacity, whichever is the shorter period.

Where medical evidence is submitted to establish justification for claiming late, this should be considered on its merits in the light of all the available evidence. For example, intermittent employment within the late claim period would probably indicate that the incapacity did not preclude the ability to claim throughout that period.

It may be necessary in some cases to seek the guidance of the Department's Medical Adviser with regard to the impact of the particular illness.

C. 'FORCE MAJEURE'

A 'force majeure' means events or actions which by their nature were so intense as to render it impossible for a claimant to satisfy the requirement of making a claim. In such circumstances the claim may be backdated to the date of entitlement or the date of commencement of the 'Force majeure', whichever is the later. Where the circumstances which constituted a 'Force Majeure' no longer continue, a claim must be made within 12 months of such cessation.

However, if an application was made for other schemes during the period in question the applicant could not be considered to qualify under this provision.

D. PERSON CURRENTLY IN FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES

A claim may also be backdated where payment is necessary to prevent or relieve financial hardship. A claimant must be in a position to satisfy the following conditions:

  • Claimant must have current debts.
  • Claimant must be able to show that his/her current income and assets are not sufficient to meet the ongoing repayments.
  • Current income and assets in this context includes any social welfare entitlements, and any payments made by way of arrears under other provisions (e.g. 6 months arrears paid under backdating).
  • Claimant must show that s/he is not in a position to pay off or reduce the debts to manageable levels by utilising other disposable assets, such as money on deposit in an institution or other assets which could be sold. A family home would not be regarded as disposable for this purpose.

Claimants should provide information with supporting documentation regarding his/her current financial status; i.e., a statement of current debts (liabilities) and assets. Evidence of current income from all sources should also be provided.

Where financial hardship is shown to exist, a backdate may be made to the date of entitlement, or whatever date after the date of entitlement is considered appropriate, to discharge or relieve the debt.

E. ASSESSMENT OF ELIGIBILITY FOR SCHEMES IN THE CASE OF AN EXTENDED BACKDATE

Where a customer has applied for an extended backdate and has satisfied one of the criteria for an extended backdate, their entitlement will be assessed using current scheme medical criteria, if applicable.

The customer will be asked to provide details of household composition and obtain medical reports in respect of non-excepted persons (or themselves) as applicable for the period the backdate is being requested.

For periods for which household composition and qualifying payment criteria were not applicable, a declaration stating that they were permanently resident and no member of the household was in receipt of the allowance should be obtained and the allowances backdated as appropriate. This applies to:

  • persons in receipt of a qualifying payment and aged 75 or over from June 1997,
  • persons aged 75 or over and not in receipt of a qualifying payment from October 2000,
  • persons in receipt of a Carer's Allowance from October 1999 (Telephone Allowance) / October 2000 (Electricity Allowance),
  • Persons aged 70 or over from May 2001.

APPENDIX (II)

LIST OF COUNTRIES WITH WHICH IRELAND HAS A BILATERAL OR SOCIAL SECURITY AGREEMENT

EU Regulations apply to the following countries:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Cyprus (Cyprus South), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom.

A Bilateral Social Security Agreement is an agreement between Ireland and another country to protect the pension rights of a person who has worked in Ireland and has worked and/or resided in the other country.

Countries with which Ireland has an Agreement are:

Australia, Austria, Canada, The Channel Islands, The Isle of Man, Korea, New Zealand, Quebec, Switzerland, The United States of America.

Last modified:10/12/2012
 

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