Social Welfare Act, 1973

Social assistance allowance for unmarried mothers.

8.—(1) An allowance (in this section referred to as a social assistance allowance) shall, subject to regulations, be paid out of moneys provided by the Oireachtas to a woman—

(a) who is unmarried,

(b) who has not attained pensionable age,

(c) who has at least one qualified child residing with her, and

(d) who satisfies the conditions as to means specified for the purposes of this subsection by regulations.

(2) The rate of a social assistance allowance shall be the same as the rate of the widow's (non-contributory) pension which would be payable to the woman under the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Acts, 1935 to 1973, if she were a widow.

(3) A child shall be a qualified child for the purposes of this section in relation to a woman if she is the mother of the child and if, on the assumption that she was a widow, the child would be a qualified child in relation to her for the purposes of the Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Acts, 1935 to 1973.

(4) Any question relating to the normal residence of a qualified child shall, for the purposes of this section and the regulations thereunder, be decided in accordance with section 5 (2) of the Act of 1946 and the rules under that subsection.

(5) The Minister may make regulations with respect to a social assistance allowance and such regulations may, in particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing,—

(a) specify the circumstances in which a woman is to be regarded for the purposes of this section as being an unmarried mother,

(b) apply (with or without modification), or make provisions corresponding (with or without modification) to, any provisions of or made under the Act of 1952 and the Acts amending and extending that Act, and

(c) in applying the provisions of section 46 of the Act of 1952, provide, notwithstanding anything contained in that section, that in any case in which a social assistance allowance is, by virtue of a revised decision given by a deciding officer or an appeals officer, disallowed or reduced, such amount as the Minister may direct of the allowance that has been paid in excess of the rate determined by that decision to have been payable shall be recoverable as a debt due to the State.

(6) This section shall come into operation on the 5th day of July, 1973.