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Parliamentary Questions – 17th January 2018

Below are questions asked in the Oireachtas, relating to Caranua and other areas relevant to survivors

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will review the rules for calculating means for social welfare payments regarding compensation paid for damage carried out to the principal private residence of a person, by CPOs or a State agency when the person has to invest the money back into their residence to mitigate the damage; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Social welfare legislation provides for the disregard of certain compensation awards when assessing the means of a person for social assistance schemes. This includes all income derived from compensation awarded by the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal, by the Residential Institutions Redress Board and in relation to disability caused by thalidomide. Any payment made by the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board is similarly disregarded. In addition, ex gratia payments made through the Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme or to women who were admitted to and worked in the Magdalene Laundries are also disregarded. These compensation awards and payments were disregarded over the years as a result of Government decisions and the enactment of corresponding legislation. All other compensation or court awards which are not provided for in social welfare legislation are assessed in the normal manner.

It should be noted that a payment is only assessable as long as it is accessible. In the case outlined by the Deputy, if the person who received the compensation payment invests it back into their residence, then it would not be accessible or assessable for social welfare means testing purposes.