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Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Home Assistance Payments.

Tuesday, 28 June 1966

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 223 No. 9

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27.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan asked the Minister for Social Welfare what amount of applicants' income under the social assistance code is precluded from being taken into account by home assistance officers; and the authority for, and date of fixing of, that amount.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Boland): Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland In granting home assistance, non-contributory widow's pension or children's allowance may be taken into account only in so far as each exceeds 10/- per week. This figure was fixed in the Social Welfare Act, 1948, in respect of pensions and in the Children's Allowances (Amendment) Act, 1952, for children's allowances.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Having regard to the serious depreciation in the value of money since 1948-50, would the Minister increase this amount substantially at an early date?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland The position is that the public assistance authorities are required to give such public assistance as appears necessary to people who are unable to provide for themselves and their dependants.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish If a local authority do not fulfil their obligations under the Public Assistance Acts, can the Minister intervene?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland They are required by statute, but no case has been made to me that any public authority have not been doing that.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan Having regard to the fact that apparently it was considered desirable to fix this particular figure as the one to be taken into account, and as it is presumed to have some relevance to a person's means, would the Minister not consider that the circumstances [1335] have so changed as to justify a doubling of this figure?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland Since they are required to give such assistance as appears to be necessary, I cannot understand how this comes into it at all. It is a question of need. It is not a means test as in the case of the social assistance services; it is a question of need.

Mr. Ryan: Information on Richie Ryan Zoom on Richie Ryan If it is not relevant, it should be excluded.

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland I did not put it there.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Can the Minister entertain an appeal by someone who is dissatisfied with the amount of assistance granted by a local authority?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland If any case is brought to my notice, I will investigate it. I do not know exactly what I can do in the matter. They are bound by statute, and we will investigate any such case.

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Has the Minister any power to direct a local authority to give an adequate amount of assistance?

Mr. K. Boland: Information on Kevin Boland Zoom on Kevin Boland Not in any particular case?

Mr. Corish: Information on Brendan Corish Zoom on Brendan Corish Does the Minister think he should take that power?


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