Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2008

12.

Blind welfare allowance.

12.— The Principal Act is amended—

( a) in Part 3 by inserting the following after Chapter 5:

“Chapter 5A

Blind Welfare Allowance

Interpretation.

161F.— In this Chapter—

‘ institution ’ has the same meaning as in section 59 of the Health Act 1970;

‘ weekly means ’, in relation to a person, means the weekly means of the person as calculated in accordance with Part 4 of Schedule 3 and the amount so calculated shall be rounded up to the nearest 10 cent where it is a multiple of 5 cent but not also a multiple of 10 cent and shall be rounded to the nearest 10 cent where it is not a multiple of 5 cent or 10 cent.

Entitlement to payment.

161G.— Subject to this Act and to regulations made under this Act, an allowance (in this Act referred to as ‘blind welfare allowance’) is payable to a person if—

( a) the person—

(i) has attained the age of 18 years, or

(ii) has attained the age of 16 years and is in receipt of or entitled to disability allowance under Chapter 10 of this Part,

( b) the weekly means of the person as calculated in accordance with Part 4 of Schedule 3 do not exceed the appropriate highest amount of weekly means at which blind welfare allowance may be paid to that person in accordance with section 161H,

( c) the person—

(i) is in receipt of blind pension under Chapter 5 of this Part,

(ii) is on the National Blind Register compiled by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, or

(iii) submits a certificate of visual impairment, containing such information as is prescribed, from a registered ophthalmic surgeon or a registered optometrist,

and

( d) the person is habitually resident in the State at the date of the making of the application for blind welfare allowance.

Rate of blind welfare allowance.

161H.— (1) The rate (in this Chapter referred to as ‘ the scheduled rate ’) of blind welfare allowance is the weekly rate set out in column (2) in Part 1 of Schedule 4.

(2) Blind welfare allowance is payable to a person who has not attained pensionable age—

( a) at the scheduled rate, where the weekly means of the person do not exceed the allowable amount, being the sum of—

(i) the rate of blind pension set out in column (2) in Part 1 of Schedule 4 (including any increase in respect of a qualified child),

(ii) the highest rate of increase set out in Part 3 of Schedule 4 (where the person is one of a couple), and

(iii) the scheduled rate,

or

( b) at the scheduled rate reduced by 10 cent for each amount, if any, of 10 cent by which the weekly means of the person exceed the allowable amount referred to in paragraph ( a).

(3) Blind welfare allowance is payable to a person who has attained pensionable age—

( a) at the scheduled rate, where the weekly means of the person do not exceed the allowable amount, being the sum of—

(i) the rate of the State pension (non-contributory) set out in column (2) in Part 1 of Schedule 4 (including any increase in respect of a qualified child),

(ii) the highest rate of increase set out in Part 2 of Schedule 4 (where the person is one of a couple), and

(iii) the scheduled rate,

or

( b) at the scheduled rate reduced by 10 cent for each amount, if any, of 10 cent by which the weekly means of the person exceed the allowable amount referred to in paragraph ( a).

Increases for a qualified child.

161I.— (1) Subject to subsection (2), the weekly rate of blind welfare allowance payable in accordance with section 161H is increased by the amount set out in column (4) of Part 1 of Schedule 4 in respect of each qualified child.

(2) Where each of a couple are in receipt of blind welfare allowance, any increase of blind welfare allowance payable under subsection (1) in respect of a qualified child who normally resides with the couple is payable to each of them at the rate of one-half of the amount otherwise payable.

Calculation of means— couples.

161J.— (1) The following rules apply for the purpose of calculating the amount of blind welfare allowance payable to a person (‘the claimant’):

( a) subject to paragraph ( b), where the claimant and the claimant’s spouse are members of the same household, their means shall be aggregated and shall be regarded as the means of the claimant,

( b) where the claimant and the claimant’s spouse are both in receipt of blind pension under Chapter 5 of this Part or both satisfy the requirements of section 161G(1)( c), the means of the claimant shall be taken to be one-half of the aggregated means of both of them.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), a person is the spouse of the claimant if the claimant and that person are—

( a) husband and wife, or

( b) a man and woman who are not married to each other but are cohabiting as husband and wife.

Payment while in an institution.

161K.— A person who is in receipt of blind welfare allowance at the time of admittance to an institution is entitled to continue to receive the allowance for such period, and in such circumstances, as are prescribed.

Disqualification.

161L.— (1) Regulations under this Act may provide for the disqualification from receiving blind welfare allowance of a person who fails without good cause to comply with such requirements as are specified by the regulations.

(2) The requirements referred to in subsection (1) may include, but are not limited to, requirements—

( a) to attend for, or submit to, any medical or other examination or treatment, and

( b) to be available to meet with an officer of the Minister regarding the person’s claim for blind welfare allowance.”,

( b) by substituting the following for Part 4 of Schedule 3:

“PART 4

Sections 161G and 196.

Blind Welfare Allowance and Supplementary Welfare Allowance

1. In calculating the weekly means of a person for blind welfare allowance or supplementary welfare allowance account shall be taken of the following:

(1) other than in such circumstances, and subject to such conditions and for such periods, as are prescribed, the weekly value of property belonging to the person (not being property personally used or enjoyed by the person or a farm of land leased by the person) which is invested or is otherwise put to profitable use by the person or which, though capable of investment or profitable use, is not invested or put to profitable use, and the weekly value calculated—

( a) for the purposes of blind welfare allowance, in accordance with reference 2 of Table 1 to this Schedule, or

( b) for the purposes of supplementary welfare allowance, in accordance with reference 3 of that Table,

constitutes the weekly means of a person from that property;

(2) all income in cash, including the net cash value of any non-cash earnings derived from personal exertions and such non-cash benefits as are prescribed and the actual or estimated amount of any household income, whether as contributions to the expenses of the household or otherwise, but excluding—

( a) the amounts at references 2 to 11, 18A and 19 in Table 2 to this Schedule,

( b) in such cases as are prescribed, any moneys received by way of a maintenance grant,

( c) any income arising from a blind welfare allowance under section 161G of this Act,

( d) any sums arising from the investment or profitable use of property (not being property personally used or enjoyed by the person or a farm of land leased by the person),

( e) such amount as is prescribed of earnings from employment of a rehabilitative nature,

( f) any moneys received by way of guardian’s payment (contributory), guardian’s payment (non-contributory) or respite care grant, and

( g) in the case of a person in receipt of a supplement under section 198 towards the amount of mortgage interest or rent payable by the person in respect of his or her residence—

(i) an amount equal to the sum of the first €75 of any additional income (within the meaning of Rule 2) and 25 per cent of so much of that additional income as exceeds €75, when that additional income has been reduced by the aggregate of—

(I) any allowable contribution referred to in Regulations 41 and 42 of the Income Tax (Employments) (Consolidated) Regulations 2001 ( S.I. No. 559 of 2001),

(II) any amount deducted from reckonable earnings under section 13 and regulations made under section 14,

(III) any amount deducted from reckonable earnings under section 5 of the Health Contributions Act 1979,

and

(ii) the amount by which carer’s allowance as set out in column (2) at reference 8( a) or 8( b), as appropriate, of Part 1 of Schedule 4 exceeds—

(I) the amount of supplementary welfare allowance set out in column (3) at reference 10 of Part 1 of Schedule 4, where the person, or the person’s spouse, is in receipt of carer’s allowance under Part 3,

(II) the amount of supplementary welfare allowance set out in column (2) at reference 10 of Part 1 of Schedule 4, where the person, not being one of a couple, is in receipt of carer’s allowance under Part 3,

(iii) the amount by which carer’s benefit as set out in column (2) at reference 7( a) or 7( b), as appropriate, of Part 1 of Schedule 2 exceeds—

(I) the amount of supplementary welfare allowance set out in column (3) at reference 10 of Part 1 of Schedule 4, where the person, or the person’s spouse, is in receipt of carer’s benefit under Part 2,

(II) the amount by which carer’s benefit as set out in column (2) at reference 7( a) or 7( b), as appropriate, of Part 1 of Schedule 2 exceeds the amount of supplementary welfare allowance set out in column (2) at reference 10 of Part 1 of Schedule 4, where the person, not being one of a couple, is in receipt of carer’s benefit under Part 2,

(iv) the amount payable under section 186A,

( h) in the case of blind welfare allowance—

(i) where the person, or the person’s spouse, is in receipt of carer’s allowance under Chapter 8 of Part 3, the amount by which carer’s allowance as set out in column (2) at reference 8( a) or 8( b), as appropriate, of Part 1 of Schedule 4 exceeds—

(I) the highest rate of increase of blind pension set out in Part 3 of Schedule 4 (where the person has not attained pensionable age), or

(II) the highest rate of increase of State pension (non-contributory) set out in Part 2 of Schedule 4 (where the person has attained pensionable age),

(ii) where the person, not being one of a couple, is in receipt of carer’s allowance under Chapter 8 of Part 3, the amount by which carer’s allowance as set out in column (2) at reference 8( a) or 8( b), as appropriate, of Part 1 of Schedule 4 exceeds—

(I) the amount of blind pension set out in column (2) at reference 5 of Part 1 of Schedule 4 (where the person has not attained pensionable age), or

(II) the highest rate of increase of State pension (non-contributory) set out in column (2) at reference 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 4 (where the person has attained pensionable age),

(iii) the amount payable under section 186A;

(3) the value of any advantage accruing to the person from—

( a) the use or enjoyment of property (other than a domestic dwelling or a farm building owned and occupied, or furniture and personal effects) which is personally used or enjoyed by the person, and

( b) the leasing by the person of a farm of land;

(4) all income and the value of all property of which the person has directly or indirectly deprived himself or herself in order to qualify himself or herself for the receipt of blind welfare allowance or supplementary welfare allowance;

(5) in the case of supplementary welfare allowance—

( a) the weekly value, calculated in such manner as is prescribed, of any benefit or privilege enjoyed by the person by reason of—

(i) residing with a parent or step-parent, and

(ii) not having attained such age as is prescribed,

and

( b) the weekly value of any benefit or privilege, other than benefit or privilege referred to in paragraph ( a), enjoyed by the person.

2. In Rule 1(2)( g)(i), ‘additional income’ means the amount by which the aggregate of—

( a) income arising from such employment or training as is prescribed,

( b) income arising from the receipt by the person of family income supplement under Part 6, and

( c) the aggregate of—

(i) any maintenance payments made by a liable relative, and

(ii) the net cash value of the non-cash benefits referred to in Rule 1(2),

in so far as it exceeds €4,952,

which, when aggregated with the assessable weekly means of the person from all other sources under this Part, is in excess of—

(i) the rate of supplementary welfare allowance set out in column (2) of Part 1 of Schedule 4, increased by

(ii) the amount set out in column (3) of that Part, where the person has a spouse, and

(iii) the amount set out in column (4) of that Part multiplied by the number of qualified children.

3. In determining entitlement to rent or mortgage interest supplement payable under section 198, the non-cash benefits referred to in Rule 1(2) shall include the weekly net cash value to the person of the annual housing costs of the person actually incurred and paid by a liable relative.

4. In assessing the means of a person for the purpose of a rent or mortgage interest supplement payable under section 198 where the person has attained the age of 65 years, and the person’s combined household income is greater than the rate of supplementary welfare allowance appropriate to the person’s circumstances, an amount equal to the difference between the maximum rate of State pension (contributory) appropriate to the person’s circumstances and that rate of supplementary welfare allowance shall be disregarded.

5. In the case of supplementary welfare allowance, where a person or the person’s spouse has any additional income to which Rule 1(2)( e) or Rule 1(2)( g)(i) may apply, only one such Rule shall apply, being whichever is the more favourable.

6. (1) Subject to paragraph (2), Rules 1(1), 1(2)( f) and 1(2)( g) shall not have the effect of reducing the rate of supplementary welfare allowance below the rate payable immediately before 6 June 2007.

(2) This rule shall cease to apply to any person whose means have increased.”,

( c) in Table 1 of Schedule 3—

(i) at reference 2 by substituting “in Rule 1(1) of Part 2 (for the purposes of disability allowance) and Rule 1(1) of Part 4 (for the purposes of blind welfare allowance)” for “in Rule 1(1) of Part 2, for the purposes of disability allowance,”, and

(ii) at reference 3 by inserting “(for the purposes of supplementary welfare allowance)” after “Part 4”,

and

( d) F2 [ ]

Annotations:

Amendments:

F2

Repealed (17.12.2008) by Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2008 (22/2008), s. 23(2), commenced on enactment.

F3

Repealed by Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2014 (16/2014), s. 12(1)(a) and (2), not commenced as of date of revision.

Modifications (not altering text):

C1

Prospective affecting provision: subs. (a) amended by Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2014 (16/2014), s. 12(1)(a), not commenced as of date of revision.

( a) in Part 3 by inserting the following after Chapter 5:

“Chapter 5A

Blind Welfare Allowance

Interpretation.

161F.— In this Chapter—

‘ institution ’ has the same meaning as in section 59 of the Health Act 1970;

‘ weekly means ’, in relation to a person, means the weekly means of the person as calculated in accordance with Part 4 of Schedule 3 and the amount so calculated shall be rounded up to the nearest 10 cent where it is a multiple of 5 cent but not also a multiple of 10 cent and shall be rounded to the nearest 10 cent where it is not a multiple of 5 cent or 10 cent.

Entitlement to payment.

161G.— Subject to this Act and to regulations made under this Act, an allowance (in this Act referred to as ‘blind welfare allowance’) is payable to a person if—

( a) the person—

(i) has attained the age of 18 years, or

(ii) has attained the age of 16 years and is in receipt of or entitled to disability allowance under Chapter 10 of this Part,

( b) the weekly means of the person as calculated in accordance with Part 4 of Schedule 3 do not exceed the appropriate highest amount of weekly means at which blind welfare allowance may be paid to that person in accordance with section 161H,

( c) the person—

(i) is in receipt of blind pension under Chapter 5 of this Part,

(ii) is on the National Blind Register compiled by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, or

(iii) submits a certificate of visual impairment, containing such information as is prescribed, from a registered ophthalmic surgeon or a registered optometrist,

and

( d) the person is habitually resident in the State F3 [ ].

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