Social Welfare Appeal G0077

Year: 2015

Type of Social Welfare: Family Income Supplement

Deciding Body: Chief Appeals Officer

This case concerns a father of one child who applied for Family Income Supplement (FIS) in April 2015. The Appellant does not live with the other parent, nor does he reside with his child. He maintains his child by way of two monthly maintenance payments of €150 (€69.23 weekly).

A Deciding Officer refused the Appellant’s claim on 27th April 2015 for the reason that he did not have a child normally residing with him, nor was he “wholly or mainly” maintaining the other parent.

In May 2015, Charleville & District MABS appealed this decision on behalf of the Appellant. On 25th August 2015 an Appeals Officer disallowed the appeal by way of a summary decision; that is, without an oral hearing.  The Appeals Officer rejected the Appeal on the grounds that the Appellant could not be regarded as “wholly or mainly” maintaining his family as required by the statutory provisions governing the award of FIS.

On receipt of this decision, MABS made a Freedom of Information request seeking all records relating to the reasoning and decision of the Appeals Officer. On receipt of these records, MABS made a submission to the Chief Appeals Officer requesting a review of the Appeals Officer’s decision pursuant to s. 318 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended) – “the Act”, on the grounds that the Appeals Officer had erred in law.  MABS asserted that as the Appellant did not have a “spouse” within the meaning of Social Welfare Law, his claim fell to be decided in accordance with s. 3 and s. 227 of the Act, and Article 13(6) of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations 2007 (as amended) – “the Regulations”, S.I. 142 of 2007.  MABS asserted the Appeals Officer had erred in her interpretation of the primary legislation, and that she had failed to apply the relevant regulatory provisions; namely, the Appellant is required to demonstrate that he is substantially maintaining his child.  MABS asserted that the Appellant had met this condition and was therefore eligible for FIS.

On 20th November 2015, the Chief Appeals Officer revised the decision of the Appeals Officer and allowed the appeal.

Reference should be made to Case No: G0064 and G0073 on casebase.  These cases concern the same question of statutory interpretation. Both appeals were allowed.