Dáil Éireann - Volume 414 - 17 December, 1991

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

179. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Social Welfare the reason unemployment assistance has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Daly): The case of the person in question was reviewed and he was interviewed in September 1991 regarding his efforts to obtain employment. During the course of the interview he said that he was unable to take up employment as he was looking after his sick brother. His claim was disallowed from 2 October 1991 on the grounds that he was not available for [1846] employment. He then signed off having been advised to apply for carer's allowance. He made a further claim for unemployment assistance on 22 October 1991 and stated that he was not providing full-time care for his brother who had recovered. Inquiries are now being completed to ascertain whether he satisfies the statutory condition for receipt of unemployment assistance. He is currently in receipt of supplementary welfare allowance.

180. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Social Welfare is his attention has been drawn to the fact that free travel is made available to persons with a disability in residential care in a very arbitrary manner, which excludes (1) those who were admitted to residential care before April 1991, and (2) those who were admitted to residential care before they reached the age of 16 years; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. Daly): The free travel scheme operated by my Department was extended in 1990 with the introduction of the companion pass which enabled a companion to travel free with a recipient of disabled person's maintenance allowance. That extension was of major benefit to people in that situation and some 12,000 handicapped persons have availed of the new pass.

In 1991 the arrangements were further extended to allow recipients of disabled person's maintenance allowance to retain their entitlement to free travel when they entered residential care. By virtue of retaining their free travel pass, they also can avail of the companion pass.

The question of providing similar arrangements for those who entered residential care prior to 1991 and for those under 16 years of age when admitted to residential care is a matter for consideration in a budgetary context.