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Written Answers. - Recovery of Overpayment.

Tuesday, 8 October 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 469 No. 5

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 201. Mr. Kenneally Information on Brendan Kenneally Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  asked the Minister for Social Welfare Information on Prionsias De Rossa Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa  the reason his Department is recovering a sum of money in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Waterford in view of the fact that there was no wilful concealment of an English pension; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17727/96]

Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): Information on Prionsias De Rossa Zoom on Prionsias De Rossa The couple concerned are both in receipt of an old age non-contributory pension which is a means tested payment. When assessing a person's means the Department must take account of any savings, investments, property or income — including any other pension — which the person may have. Old age non-contributory pension application forms include a request to notify the Department of all incomes.

In October 1995, the Department discovered that the couple concerned were both in receipt of British retirement pensions. They had been in receipt of these pensions prior to qualifying for Irish old age non-contributory pension, but they had not disclosed this relevant fact to the Department either at the [1572] initial means investigation stage or subsequently, as required under the legislation.

In the light of this new fact, their pension entitlements were reviewed. Following correspondence with the couple concerned, it was decided that they were entitled to a reduced rate of old age non-contributory pension, with retrospective effect. The couple were notified of their right of appeal against this decision. An overpayment of £17,000 has arisen as a result of this revised decision. In accordance with the Department's code of practice, the couple concerned have been notified of the amount of overpayment due and afforded the opportunity to provide any further relevant information before a determination is made on the recovery of the overpayment. This determination will be made shortly.

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