Social Welfare Appeal G0101

Year: 2014

Type of Social Welfare: Child Benefit

Deciding Body: Appeals Officer

This case concerns a challenge to a decision made by a Deciding Officer (DO) whereby it was asserted that the Appellant was not entitled to Child Benefit (CB) prior to the 1st May 2012. It was determined that the Appellant could not satisfy the habitual residence condition (HRC) prior to this date as she had no legal right of residence in the State. Reference is made in the case summary to the Appellant’s legal status only as applies to the question of her entitlement to Child Benefit.
The Appellant and her husband arrived in Ireland in January 2006 and claimed asylum. The application was refused and in March 2007 the Refugee Appeals Tribunal confirmed this decision. On 22nd of May 2007 the Appellant sought to challenge the decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal by way of Judicial Review proceedings. These proceedings were subsequently struck out by consent in February 2009. The Appellant applied for readmission to the asylum process and this was refused on 11th December 2009.
In 2007 a separate application was made for leave to remain on humanitarian grounds and subsidiary protection. Subsidiary protection was granted by way of letter from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) on the 1st of May 2012.
Throughout the period the Appellant, her husband, and her child (born in 2007) lived in direct provision accommodation.
The Appellant’s son was born on the 31st of December 2007. The Appellant applied for Child Benefit in February 2008. The claim was refused by a DO on the 17th of May 2008 on the grounds that the Appellant’s legal right of residence had not been determined and therefore she could not be found to be habitually resident in the State. A second application for Child Benefit was made in October 2008. This was also refused by letter in February 2009. The Appellant appealed this decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. By way of decision dated 7th September 2009 the AO disallowed the appeal on the grounds that the Appellant’s application to be declared a refugee had been refused, and therefore “the appellant may not be deemed to be habitually resident for the purpose of her Child Benefit claim at [that] time.
In 2012 the Appellant made representations to the Social Welfare Appeals Office requesting that the AO decision be reviewed by the Chief Appeal Officer pursuant to s 318 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended) – (“the Principal Act”). It was the Appellant’s position that the Appeals Officer has erred in law. This request was refused on the grounds of delay, some two and a half years had lapsed since the date of the Appeals Officer’s decision. The Appellant was invited to make a new application for Child Benefit.
In February 2013 the Appellant made her third application for Child Benefit. This application was granted with effect from 1st of May 2012, the date the Appellant was granted leave to remain.