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Saturday 21 April 2018

Welfare recipients to get 'P60' statement of income

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

EVERY social welfare recipient will soon be able to get a list of all the amounts paid to them in benefits, making it easier to apply for other payments.

Similar to a P60 tax certificate, the Department of Social Protection is working on a new slip detailing an individuals income from various schemes for the previous year.

Known as a customer statement, it will cut down on paperwork when applying for services and benefits from other departments and agencies.

But it will also show social welfare recipients how much money they are getting in benefits.

The plan to generate a statement listing social insurance, all types of welfare assistance and universal welfare schemes has been in the pipeline for many years.

The statement will help when applying for other welfare benefits.

But it will be of even greater use when applying to other bodies that need a statement as part of their income assessment.

The development of new computer systems in the Department of Social Protection allows for a combined list of payments over a particular period.

The plan is to start rolling it out by the end of the year.

The old complaint about 'computers not talking to each other' has been solved with a number of new systems.

The social welfare office has also created a central database for storing every recipient's details for the first time.

The development of the means assessment object (MAO) system will eventually open the door to large-scale means-testing of benefits, such as child benefit.

The database stores all benefits received by every recipient in the country and all means-testing information.

Previously, each individual social welfare scheme operated independently but the new system shows all the means testing data and list payments received in a single file.

Using another new system, the means information sharing service (MISS), government departments and agencies will finally be able to swap information on applications for means-tested payments.

Agencies will be able to check if applicants are telling the truth when applying for schemes.

BENEFITS

But it will also mean members of the public won't be repeatedly asked to provide the same information.

The benefits of the system include the re-use of information, the removal of duplication and faster processing of claims.

The service will be up and running by the end of this year or the start of 2014, initially with a small number of relevant departments.

At the moment, there is no formal link of the various means testing information between various state bodies.

A member of the public may be asked to provide the same information on a number of occasions.

Numerous departments use means testing, including the Department of Social Protection, the HSE, the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture and local authorities.

Although the various agencies use different criteria for determining eligibility, the type of information on income is often the same.

Irish Independent

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