Case Studies » Sickness » Disability Allowance - Case from 2016 Annual Report (ref: 2016/15)
2016/15 Disability Allowance
Question at issue: Eligibility (means)
Background: The appellant’s claim was rejected on grounds that her means exceeded the statutory qualifying limit. Her weekly means were assessed at €274.00, derived from capital. In addition, she was assessed with the market value of a property which had been disposed of in 2011, when she and her husband transferred it to their son, as well as a sum of money which they had given him as a wedding present. In connection with a claim for Carer’s Allowance in 2013, account had been taken of the capital value of the house and the money given to her son. At that time, it was held that she had deprived herself of capital in order to qualify for a higher rate of Carer’s Allowance. When she made a claim for Disability Allowance in 2016, the same assessment was applied in determining her means.
Oral hearing: The appellant was accompanied by her husband and the Social Welfare Inspector attended at the request of the Appeals Officer. Her husband confirmed that he was in receipt of an Invalidity Pension and advised that he had successfully appealed a decision not to grant him an increase for a qualified adult in 2015. The Inspector was not aware of this and advised that he had only been asked to report on the appellant’s means for purposes of her Disability Allowance claim. He said that he had relied on a previous report which had been completed in 2013 in connection with a claim for Carer’s Allowance, and he referred to the means assessed. He advised that he could not comment further as he had been unable to locate the relevant file.
In relation to the means assessed, the appellant and her husband insisted that the money withdrawn from their account in 2009 had been for the benefit of their son and had been a wedding present. They referred to the property bought in 2011 and said that it should have been put into their son’s name at the time but that they had not made clear their instructions to the solicitor and that this had been an expensive mistake.
The Appeals Officer noted that no evidence was presented to support the contention that the capital and the property were disposed of for social welfare purposes. He advised the appellant that he would consider the question after he had sight of the previous appeal dealing with her husband’s Invalidity Pension claim.
Consideration: The Appeals Officer examined the continued assessment of capital and property which the appellant and her husband no longer owned but were held to have disposed of in connection with a Carer’s Allowance claim made in 2013. He noted that the provisions of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, Schedule 3, Part 2(4) had been cited as a basis for the decision although the relevant provisions were outlined in Schedule 3, Part 3. He noted that the Social Welfare Inspector had advised that he had been asked to report on means for Disability Allowance purposes only and that he had acknowledged having relied on a previous report completed in connection with a Carer’s Allowance claim and that the considerations of the Deciding Officer had not been available to him. He noted that the capital at issue had been disposed of in 2009, while the property was transferred in 2011, and he considered that the facts of the case were such as to have required a full re-investigation. He considered that an earlier decision, made in relation to another claim, could not be the sole evidence relied upon. He noted also that, at this remove, there was no evidence presented to support the contention that the capital and the property had been disposed of for social welfare purposes rather than for reasons of genuine family settlement. In addition, he referred to the investigation of a claim for payment of a qualified adult increase with her husband’s Invalidity Pension claim and noted that another Inspector had not accepted that the capital was disposed of and the property transferred for social welfare purposes. He concurred with that assessment and concluded that the appellant had no assessable
Outcome: Appeal allowed. means.