Social Welfare Appeal G0027

The Appellant was in receipt of Rent Supplement (RS) which was discontinued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) following the Appellant’s rejection of three offers of accommodation by a local authority. The Appellant appealed this decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office whereby it was found, in the circumstances, that the three offers of accommodation from the local authority were not valid offers for the purposes of the legislation, as they were unsuited to the Appellants situation. In addition, the rejection of the offers did not happen within an 18 month period. Thus the decision by the HSE to discontinue RS was invalid. The appeal was allowed and RS was awarded.

Social Welfare Appeal G0015

The Appellant applied for Jobseekers Allowance in 2008 and was refused on the basis that his means from self-employment as a taxi driver exceeded the means threshold for Jobseekers Allowance. The Appellant appealed the decision on the grounds that the Deciding Officer had used a subjective method of assessment of his means and had failed to fully consider the Appellant’s submissions and the evidence available.

In making her determination, the Appeals Officer calculated the Appellant’s income based on his tax returns for the two years before his claim. The Appeals Officer partially allowed the appeal.

Social Welfare Appeal G0019

The Appellant applied for Carer’s Allowance in 2008. The Appellant applied for Carer’s Allowance as he was the carer of his elderly mother, with whom he lived. The Deciding Officer refused the claim on the basis that the Appellant worked outside the home for more than 15 hours per week. The Appellant appealed the decision. He submitted that he worked outside the home for only 13 to 14 hours per week. The Appeals Officer partially allowed the appeal.

Social Welfare Appeal G0014

Family Income Supplement (FIS) claim. The Appellant shares custody of his children  with the children’s mother. The children reside with their mother in another EU State. The Appellant applied for Family Income Supplement. His application was refused by  the Deciding Officer on the grounds that the children did not reside with the Appellant in  the State and because he shared joint custody of them with ex-partner. The Appellant appealed this decision. The High Court had ruled in granting guardianship, access and custody of the children to the Appellant (initially sole custody and in a later decision, joint custody) that the children did reside in the State. On this basis, the Appeals Officer allowed the appeal.

Social Welfare Appeal G0016

The Appellant applied for Mortgage Interest Supplement (MIS) in late 2008 to assist her in making her mortgage repayments. The Health Service Executive (HSE) refused the claim on the following grounds; the house was the subject of a court action by the lending institution, the arrears were so substantial that it seemed the mortgage loan was not viable, the house was in joint ownership and any supplement would only be in respect of half of the loan and if the Appellant was to be awarded full ownership of the house through her court action, the HSE could not award a supplement for that increased mortgage interest liability. The Appellant appealed this decision. The Appeals Officer disallowed the appeal. The Appeals Officer refused the appeal on the grounds that at the time of entering into the mortgage agreement, the Appellant was unable to meet the repayments and in addition, due to the amount of the arrears, it was not reasonable to award the supplement.

Social Welfare Appeal G0018

The Appellant applied for Mortgage Interest Supplement (MIS) in 2008. The Appellant had re-mortgaged her home for €90,000 in 2006. Her claim for MIS was rejected on two grounds. Firstly, lack of evidence to support claim that the re-mortgage was in part for the purpose of home improvements and secondly the Appellant was self employed. Her application was refused as MIS could only be considered in relation to interest payable on Appellant’s home loan or loan in respect of bone fide repairs and improvements to her home. The Superintendent Community Welfare Officer (SCWO), having noted that the Appellant had previously made an application for MIS in 2003, when her mortgage was €20,400, made enquiries about her reasons for re-mortgaging. The Appellant stated that she had carried out some essential repairs/improvements to the house and had also utilised the money for business purposes. When she was asked to produce receipts or any documentary evidence of works carried out, the Appellant was unable to do so. In addition, the SCWO noted that the Appellant operated a small business for which part of the loan was utilised and this raised the question of assessment of means. At the oral hearing, the Appeals Officer was satisfied with the evidence provided supporting the client’s assertion that she was engaged in part time work. It followed that the Appellant was therefore not precluded from receiving MIS. The application for MIS was partially granted and the Appellant received an award of MIS on the interest attaching to the sum of €18,296 only.