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Case Studies » Unemployment » Jobseeker's Allowance - from 2016 Annual Report (ref: 2016/23)

2016/23 – Jobseeker’s Allowance

Summary decision

Question at issue: Eligibility (retrospective assessment of means)

Background: In connection with a claim for Jobseeker’s Allowance made in 2009, the appellant provided details of bank and credit union accounts which he held at the time. His means were assessed and his claim was awarded. It appears that his file was examined in connection with a claim which his partner made for Carer’s Allowance in 2013. Additional information had been provided, indicating that the appellant had opened a further account in the meantime. When his claim came under review in 2015, however, it emerged that no adjustment had been made to take account of that new information. A revised decision was made and the appellant was held to have been entitled to a lower rate of payment with effect from a date in 2013. Initially, this was applied with reference to the provisions of Section 302(a) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, which deals with fraudulent intent. When it came to light that all of the information had been disclosed at the appropriate time but that there had been a failure to revise the means assessment accordingly, the decision was applied with reference to Section 302(c). These are the provisions usually applied where a Deciding Officer has made an error or where information was provided but not acted upon. An overpayment of some €15,000 was assessed. In his appeal submission, the Deciding Officer acknowledged that the overpayment had arisen solely as a consequence of a Departmental error as the appellant had provided the relevant information but it had not been taken into account.

Consideration: The Appeals Officer noted that the appellant had provided details of his means in full and that the Department had been made aware of the additional bank account when his partner was interviewed in 2013 in connection with her claim for Carer’s Allowance. In the circumstances, he determined that the means from savings were assessable from a specified date in 2015, that is the date from which the retrospective decision had been applied, with the effect that the overpayment was eliminated.

Outcome: Appeal allowed.