Dáil Éireann - Volume 420 - 27 May, 1992

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefit.

160. Mr. J. Mitchell asked the Minister for Social Welfare if an old age pensioner who is living alone, and receiving a living alone allowance, a free telephone rental allowance, a free electricity allowance and a free TV licence, but is now incapable of caring for herself, would lose all those allowances if a daughter returned home to live with her and look after her; and whether that daughter who has no income of her own, would be entitled to a carer's allowance.

Minister for Social Welfare (Mr. McCreevy): Since the Deputy has not given details of the particular case he has in mind, I can only outline the situation that applies generally in such circumstances.

In order to receive a living alone allowance, a pensioner must reside alone. In the circumstances described, the old age pensioner would lose her living alone allowance if her daughter came to live with her.

[769] The qualifying conditions for receipt of the free telephone rental allowance require the pensioner to live alone or only with children under 15 years of age or with persons who are so permanently incapacitated to be unable to summon help in the event of an emergency. Assuming that her daughter is over 15 years of age and is capable of summoning help in the event of an emergency, her mother would lose her free telephone rental allowance. In relation to free electricity allowance, the old age pensioner will not lose the allowance provided she is an invalid or a semi-invalid and provided her daughter gives her constant (full-time) care and attention. A person in employment or getting unemployment benefit/assistance cannot be regarded as giving constant (full-time) care and attention). Recipients of free electricity allowance automatically qualify for a free black and white television licence.

The carer's allowance is a means tested payment for carers on low incomes who live with and look after certain social welfare pensioners who need full-time care and attention. The maximum weekly rate of carer's allowance is £50.00 rising to £53.00 from next July. Means of up to £50 per week are allowable for the purposes of eligibility for this allowance. The main items which count as means are [770] cash income, investments, savings and property but not the applicant's home.

I would be pleased to investigate the circumstances of a particular case if the Deputy lets me have more details.