Case Studies » Pensions » State Pension (Non-Contributory) - Case 2
The appellant applied for an Old Age Non-Contributory Pension. His means were examined and he was assessed with the capital value of a public house. In assessing his means, the Deciding Officer relied on an estimated value for the premises of €1 million. Subsequently, the Valuation Office estimated its value at €100,000.
The appellant did not attend the hearing in person but was represented by his daughter. The Social Welfare Inspector attended at the request of the Appeals Officer.
The Social Welfare Inspector stated that the appellant had given him very little information when he sought to establish whether he had an entitlement to pension. He indicated that while he considered that the public house had potential beyond that reflected in the valuers’s report, he would have no difficulty in accepting €100,000 as its official value. The appellant’s daughter stated that the premises had been valued some ten years earlier, in a different context, and that the value was stated to be €100,000 at that stage. She contended that her father would genuinely have had no idea as to the value of the premises.
His daughter contended that, in the context of separation from his wife, the appellant had incurred a debt in excess of the amount at which the capital value of the premises had been assessed. Documentary evidence was submitted in relation to the loan, indicating that full repayment was being sought as a consequence of the appellant’s failure to meet the repayments agreed with the bank. The appellant’s daughter contended that she had been advised that it would be preferable for the appellant to sell the premises himself, rather than to have the bank sell it on his behalf. The Appeals Officer sought confirmation as to these contentions and undertook to defer consideration of the appeal pending receipt of relevant documentation. This evidence was submitted subsequently which confirmed that the bank held the deeds of the premises and would release them only in the context of specified undertakings from a solicitor.
Consideration of the Appeals Officer:
The Appeals Officer examined the documentary evidence submitted in support of the contentions advanced at the oral hearing. She was satisfied that the outstanding mortgage on the premises fell to be repaid from the proceeds of any sale. She noted that the circumstances which were before her differed significantly from those presented originally to the Deciding Officer, in that the official value of the property had since been reduced by some 90%. She accepted that the debt outstanding against the property exceeded this amount and considered, therefore, that there was no residual capital to be valued and assessed against the appellant. She assessed his means accordingly, and determined that pension entitlement should be calculated in line with this assessment.