Jane – Access to Social Welfare

Jane came to us after her appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office had been refused.

She had originally applied to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) in 2018 for Supplementary Welfare Allowance and Child Benefit. She was refused the allowances by the DEASP because they felt that she did not meet the applicable residency requirements as she had not shown an intention to stay in Ireland.

Jane had only been living in Ireland for a period of three months, however she had taken numerous steps that showed her intention to remain in Ireland. She had sold possessions in her home country, separated from her husband, set up her children in schools in Ireland and applied for work to support her family. Her eldest child had been born in Ireland and was a citizen. She therefore felt she had grounds to appeal the decision. However, this appeal was also refused.

Having examined Jane’s case, we were of the strong opinion that she met the residency requirements for the allowances, i.e. the Habitual Residence Condition. We wrote to the Chief Appeals Officer on Jane’s behalf and requested a final review of the previous refusals.

Jane had clearly demonstrated an intention to remain in Ireland and we were able to show how these actions had been unduly minimised in the original DEASP decision. In doing so, the DEASP had misapplied the relevant legal test for habitual residence.

The Chief Appeals Officer ultimately agreed with CLM and the client was found to have been entitled to the allowances, which were backdated to the time of her initial application.

At the time Jane was applying for the allowances, she was in very distressing circumstances, having to live in homeless accommodation with her children. She was not working, and the allowances would have provided her with a vital source of income and support. CLM was able to advocate on her behalf and ensure she had access to the supports to which she was entitled.