Social Welfare Law Reform and Pensions Act 2006

20

Blind pension — amendments.

20.— The Principal Act is amended by substituting the following for Chapter 5 of Part 3:

“CHAPTER 5

Blind Pension

Interpretation.

161.— In this Chapter—

‘ spouse ’ includes a party to a marriage that has been dissolved, being a dissolution that is recognised as valid in the State;

‘ weekly means ’ shall, subject to Rule 1(1) of Part 5 of Schedule 3, be the yearly means divided by 52.

Entitlement to pension.

161A.— Subject to this Act, a person shall be entitled to pension (in this Act referred to as ‘blind pension’) where—

( a) the person has attained the age of 18 years but has not attained pensionable age,

( b) the person is so blind that he or she either cannot perform any work for which eyesight is essential or cannot continue his or her ordinary occupation,

( c) the means of the person as calculated in accordance with the Rules contained in Part 5 of Schedule 3 do not exceed the appropriate highest amount of means at which pension may be paid to that person in accordance with section 161B, and

( d) the person is habitually resident in the State at the date of the making of the application for that pension.

Rate of pension.

161B.— (1) The rate (in this Chapter referred to as ‘the scheduled rate’) of blind pension shall be the weekly rate set out in column (2) at reference 5 in Part 1 of Schedule 4 increased by the appropriate amount set out in column (4) of that Part in respect of each qualified child who normally resides with the claimant or beneficiary.

(2) ( a) The pension shall be payable where the weekly means of the claimant or beneficiary—

(i) do not exceed €7.60, at the scheduled rate, and

(ii) subject to paragraph ( b), exceed €7.60 at the scheduled rate reduced by €2.50 for each amount (if any) of €2.50 by which those weekly means exceed €7.60, any fraction of €2.50 in those weekly means being treated for this purpose as €2.50.

( b) Where the rate calculated under paragraph ( a)(ii) at which, but for this paragraph, the pension would be payable is less than €2.50, the pension shall not be payable.

Increases including increases for one of a couple.

161C.— (1) Subject to subsection (2), the weekly rate of blind pension payable in accordance with section 161B shall be increased—

( a) by the amount calculated in accordance with Part 3 of Schedule 4 where the beneficiary is living with, or is wholly or mainly maintaining, his or her spouse, where that spouse has not attained pensionable age, subject to the restriction that the beneficiary shall not be entitled for the same period to an increase of pension under this paragraph in respect of more than one person,

( b) by the amount set out in column (6) of Part 1 of Schedule 4 where the beneficiary is living alone, and

( c) by the amount set out in column (8) of Part 1 of Schedule 4 where the beneficiary is ordinarily resident on an island.

(2) An increase under subsection (1)( a) shall not be payable where the spouse is—

( a) in receipt of any benefit, pension, assistance or allowance under Part 2 or this Part, or

( b) entitled to or in receipt of an allowance in respect of participation in a scheme administered by the Minister for Education and Science and known as the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, or

( c) entitled to or in receipt of an allowance in respect of participation in a scheme administered by the Minister and known as—

(i) Back to Education Allowance, or

(ii) Back to Work Allowance, or

(iii) Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, or

(iv) Part-Time Job Incentive.

Amount of increases payable in respect of a qualified child normally residing with beneficiary.

161D.— The increase payable under section 161B(1) in respect of a qualified child who normally resides with the beneficiary and the spouse of the beneficiary shall be payable at the rate of one-half of the appropriate amount in any case where the spouse of the beneficiary is entitled to any benefit, assistance, allowance (other than supplementary welfare allowance) or any other pension under this Act.

Disqualifications.

161E.— (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), a person in receipt of or entitled to widow’s (contributory) pension or widower’s (contributory) pension or a person in respect of whom an increase of old age (contributory) pension is payable by virtue of section 112(1) shall be disqualified for receipt of blind pension.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a person may be paid blind pension for any period during which the rate of pension payable would be greater than the rate of widow’s (contributory) pension, widower’s (contributory) pension or an increase of old age (contributory) pension in respect of a qualified adult, as the case may be, payable.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), in any case where blind pension is so paid, entitlement to widow’s (contributory) pension, widower’s (contributory) pension or an increase of old age (contributory) pension in respect of a qualified adult, as the case may be, shall continue but the amount of any such pension or increase payable during any such period shall not be paid to or in respect of the person.

(4) A blind person in respect of whom a pension is payable under this Chapter shall not be a qualified child for the purposes of this Act.”.