Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005

Interpretation.

[1993 s2(1); 2005 (SW&P) s23 & Sch 1]

2.—(1) In this Act, save where the context otherwise requires—

“Act of 1997” means the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 ;

“appeals officer” means a person holding office as an appeals officer under section 304 ;

“assistance” means assistance under Part 3;

“beneficiary” means a person entitled to any benefit, assistance, child benefit or family income supplement, as the case may be;

“benefit” means, subject to section 248 and Part 9, benefit under Part 2;

“benefit year” means the period beginning on the first Monday in a particular year and ending on the Sunday before the first Monday in the following year;

[1999 s30 & Sch F]

“bureau officer” means an officer of the Minister appointed as a bureau officer under section 8 (1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Assets Bureau Act 1996 ;

“claimant” means a person who has made a claim for any benefit, assistance, child benefit or family income supplement, as the case may be;

“Collector-General” means the Collector-General appointed under section 851 of the Act of 1997;

“contribution week” means one of the successive periods of 7 consecutive days in a contribution year beginning on the first day of that contribution year, or on any 7th day after that day, the last day of a contribution year (or the last 2 days of a contribution year ending in a leap year) being taken as included in the last contribution week of that contribution year;

“contribution year” means a year of assessment within the meaning of the Income Tax Acts;

“credited contribution” means, in relation to any insured person, a contribution credited to that person by virtue of section 33 ;

“day of incapacity for work” has the meaning given to it by section 40 (1);

“day of unemployment”, in relation to Part 2 , has the meaning given to it by section 62 , and in relation to Chapter 2 of Part 3 , has the meaning given to it by section 141 (4) or (7);

“deciding officer” means a person holding office as a deciding officer under section 299 ;

[1993 (No. 2) s11(a)]

“developing country” means any country which the Minister, having regard to the countries so designated by the United Nations, the World Bank or the International Labour Organisation as developing countries and after consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, may determine, for the purposes of this Act, to be a developing country;

“employed contributor” has the meaning given to it by section 12 (1);

“employer’s contribution” has the meaning given to it by section 6 (1)(a);

“employment contribution” has the meaning given to it by section 6 (1)(a);

“entry into insurance” means, subject to sections 35 (3) and 125 (7) and Chapters 15 and 16 of Part 2 , in relation to a person, the date on which the person became an insured person;

[2005 (SW&P) s23 & Sch 1]

“Executive” means the Health Service Executive;

“health board” means—

(a) a health board established under the Health Act 1970 ,

(b) the Eastern Regional Health Authority established under the Health (Eastern Regional Health Authority) Act 1999 , or

(c) an Area Health Board established under the Health (Eastern Regional Health Authority) Act 1999 ;

“incapable of work” means incapable of work by reason of some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement or deemed, in accordance with regulations, to be so incapable;

“infectious diseases maintenance allowance” means a payment under section 44 of the Health Act 1947 to a person suffering from an infectious disease;

“insurable employment” means employment such that a person, over the age of 16 years and under pensionable age, employed in that employment would be an employed contributor;

“insurable (occupational injuries) employment” has the meaning given to it by section 71 ;

“insurable self-employment” means self-employment of such a nature that a person engaged in that employment would be a self-employed contributor;

“insured person” means a person insured under Part 2;

[2001 s15(1)(a)]

“island” means any island lying off the coast of the State, that is prescribed;

“local authority” has the meaning given to it by the Local Government Act 2001 ;

“Member State” means a Member State of the European Communities;

“Minister” means the Minister for Social and Family Affairs;

“non-governmental agency” means any organisation which has as one of its functions the promotion of relief and development in developing countries through the sponsoring or aiding of projects involving the employment of volunteer development workers in those countries;

[1993 (No. 2) s11(b)]

“occupational injuries insurance” has the meaning given to it by section 70 (2);

[1993 (No. 2) s3(a)]

“optional contribution” means a contribution paid under Chapter 5 of Part 2;

[1993 (No. 2) s3(a)]

“optional contributor” means a person engaged in share fishing paying optional contributions;

[1995 s20(1); 2005 (SW&P) s18]

“orphan” means a qualified child—

(a) both of whose parents are dead, or

(b) one of whose parents is dead or unknown or has abandoned and failed to provide for the child, as the case may be, and whose other parent—

(i) is unknown, or

(ii) has abandoned and failed to provide for the child,

where that child is not residing with a parent, adoptive parent or step-parent;

“outworker” means a person to whom articles or materials are given out to be made up, cleaned, washed, altered, ornamented, finished or repaired or adapted for sale in the person’s own home or on other premises not under the control or management of the person who gave out the articles or materials for the purposes of the trade or business of the last-mentioned person;

“pensionable age” means the age of 66 years;

[1993 (No. 2) s3(b)]

“person engaged in share fishing” means a self-employed contributor who is a member of the crew of a fishing vessel and whose principal means of livelihood is derived from a share in the profits or the gross earnings of the working of the vessel;

“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations;

[2001 s8(1)]

“qualifying contribution” means the appropriate employment contribution or self-employment contribution which was paid or would have been paid but for section 13 (2)(c) in respect of any insured person or the appropriate optional contribution which was paid or would have been paid but for section 29 (1)(b);

[1999 s26(2)]

“record” means any book, document or any other written or printed material in any form including any information stored, maintained or preserved by means of any mechanical or electronic device, whether or not stored, maintained or preserved in a legible form;

[2004 (MP) s13(1)(b)]

“reckonable earnings” means, subject to regulations, earnings derived from insurable employment or insurable (occupational injuries) employment;

[2005 (SW&P) s26 & Sch 4]

“reckonable emoluments”, in relation to a self-employed contributor, means emoluments (other than reckonable earnings and any other emoluments that may be prescribed) to which Chapter 4 of Part 42 of the Act of 1997 applies, reduced by so much of the allowable contribution referred to in Regulations 41 and 42 of the Income Tax (Employments) (Consolidated) Regulations 2001 ( S.I. No. 559 of 2001 ) as is deducted on payment of those emoluments;

“reckonable income”, in relation to a self-employed contributor or an optional contributor, means the aggregate income (excluding reckonable earnings, reckonable emoluments and any other income that may be prescribed) from all sources for the contribution year as estimated in accordance with the Income Tax Acts, but without regard to—

(a) sections 195, 231 and 232 of the Act of 1997, or

(b) save in the case of a person to whom paragraph 1 of Part 3 of Schedule 1 applies, Chapter 1 of Part 44 of the Act of 1997, after deducting from the income so much of any deduction allowed by virtue of the provisions of the definition of “capital allowance” in section 2(1) of the Act of 1997;

“regulations” means regulations made by the Minister under this Act;

“Regulations of 1996” means the Social Welfare (Consolidated Contributions and Insurability) Regulations 1996 ( S.I. No. 312 of 1996 );

“self-employed contributor” has the meaning given to it by section 20 ;

“self-employment contribution” has the meaning given to it by section 6 ;

“short-time employment” means employment in which, for the time being, a number of days is systematically worked in a working week which is less than the number of days which is normal in a working week in the employment concerned;

“Social Insurance Fund” means the Fund to which section 9 relates;

[2005 (SW&P) s26 & Sch 4]

“social welfare inspector” means a person appointed by the Minister under section 250 to be a social welfare inspector for the purposes of Parts 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 and 12 ;

“statutory declaration” means a statutory declaration within the meaning of the Statutory Declarations Act 1938 ;

“trade dispute” means any dispute between employers and employees, or between employees and employees, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or the terms of employment or the conditions of employment of any persons, whether employees in the employment of the employer with whom the dispute arises or not;

“voluntary contribution” has the meaning given to it by section 25 ;

“voluntary contributor” has the meaning given to it by section 24 ;

[1993 (No.2) s11(c)]

“volunteer development worker” means a person who is employed temporarily outside the State in a developing country and has secured that employment—

(a) by or through the Department of Foreign Affairs or by or through a non-governmental agency in the State, or

(b) by or through a governmental or non-governmental agency in any Member State other than the State, or

(c) directly with the government of a developing country, and who is employed by any of those agencies or by the government of the developing country or by both under conditions of remuneration similar to local conditions applying in that country and who was resident in the State immediately before taking up that employment;

“Workmen’s Compensation Acts” means the Workmen’s Compensation Acts 1934 to 1955 and the enactments repealed by the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1934.

[1993 s2(2); 2001 s24(1)]

(2) In this Act “qualified adult”, subject to sections 134 , 187 and 297 , means in relation to a person—

(a) a spouse who is wholly or mainly maintained by that person but does not include—

(i) a spouse in employment (other than employment specified in paragraph 4 or 5 of Part 2 of Schedule 1 ), or

(ii) a spouse who is self-employed, or

(iii) a spouse who is entitled to or is in receipt of any benefit, pension, assistance or allowance (other than supplementary welfare allowance) under Part 2 or 3, or

(iv) a spouse who, by virtue of section 68 (1) or 147 (2), is or would be disqualified for receiving unemployment benefit payable under Chapter 12 of Part 2 or unemployment assistance payable under Chapter 2 of Part 3 in his or her own right with the exception of a spouse who qualifies as a qualified adult by virtue of regulations made under paragraph (c), or

(v) a spouse who is entitled to or is in receipt of an allowance the rate of which is related to the rates of unemployment assistance payable under section 142 or unemployment benefit payable under section 65 or 66 , in respect of a non-craft full-time course approved by An Foras ?iseanna Saothair under the Industrial Training Act 1967 , or

(vi) a spouse who is entitled to or in receipt of an allowance the rate of which is related to the rates of unemployment assistance payable under section 142 or unemployment benefit payable under section 65 or 66 , in respect of participation in a scheme administered by the Minister for Education and Science and known as the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, or

(vii) a spouse who is entitled to or in receipt of an allowance the rate of which is related to the rates of unemployment assistance payable under section 142 or unemployment benefit payable under section 65 or 66 , in respect of participation in a scheme administered by the Minister and known as—

(I) Back to Education Allowance, or

(II) Back to Work Allowance, or

(III) Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, or

(IV) Part-Time Job Incentive,

or

(b) a person over the age of 16 years being wholly or mainly maintained by that person and having the care of one or more than one qualified child who normally resides with that person where that person is—

(i) a single person,

(ii) a widow,

(iii) a widower, or

(iv) a married person who is not living with and is neither wholly or mainly maintaining, nor being wholly or mainly maintained by, the married person’s spouse,

or

(c) any person whom the Minister may by regulations specify to be a qualified adult for the purposes of this Act.

[1993 s2(3); 2003 (MP) s5(1)(a)]

(3) Subject to section 134 (3), in this Act “qualified child” means a person who is ordinarily resident in the State, is not detained in a reformatory or an industrial school, and—

(a) for the purposes of—

(i) section 43 (2), in the case of an applicant for disability benefit other than as referred to in paragraph (b),

(ii) section 56 (2), in the case of an applicant for health and safety benefit other than as referred to in paragraph (b),

(iii) section 66 (2), in the case of an applicant for unemployment benefit other than as referred to in paragraph (b),

(iv) section 76 (2), in the case of an applicant for injury benefit other than as referred to in paragraph (b), and

(v) section 142 (1)(b)(ii), in the case of an applicant for unemployment assistance other than as referred to in paragraph (b),

is under the age of 18 years or is of or over the age of 18 years and is regarded as attending a course of study referred to in section 148 (3)(a), and

(b) for the purposes of—

(i) sections 81 (5), 83 (1), 102 (1), 112 (2), 117 (2), 122 (2), 127 (1), 130 , 137 , 150 (1)(b), 156 (1), 168 (1), 174 (1), 181 (1), 211 (1)(b), 215 (1)(b) and 228 ,

(ii) section 43 (2), in the case of an applicant who, in respect of any period of interruption of employment has been entitled to or is in receipt of disability benefit for not less than 156 days or, subject to the conditions and in the circumstances that may be prescribed, has been entitled to or has been in receipt of disability benefit and a relevant payment for not less than 156 days,

(iii) section 56 (2), in the case of an applicant who, in respect of a period of health and safety leave under the Maternity Protection Act 1994, has been entitled to or is in receipt of health and safety benefit for not less than 156 days or, subject to the conditions and in the circumstances that may be prescribed, has been entitled to or has been in receipt of health and safety benefit and a relevant payment for not less than 156 days,

(iv) section 66 (2) or 142 (1)(b)(ii), in the case of an applicant who, in any continuous period of unemployment as read in accordance with section 141 (3), has been entitled to or is in receipt of unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance for not less than 156 days, or, subject to the conditions and in the circumstances that may be prescribed, has been entitled to or has been in receipt of unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance and a relevant payment for not less than 156 days, and

(v) section 76 (2), as it applies to disablement pension or in the case of an applicant who, in respect of any period of interruption of employment, has been entitled to or is in receipt of injury benefit and a relevant payment for not less than 156 days, subject to the conditions and in the circumstances that may be prescribed,

and satisfies one of the following conditions—

(I) is under the age of 18 years, or

(II) is of or over the age of 18 years and under the age of 22 years and is receiving full-time education, the circumstances of which shall be specified in regulations, or

(III) is of or over the age of 18 years and is regarded as attending a course of study referred to in section 148 (3)(a).

[2003 s5(1)(a)]

(4) In subsection (3) “relevant payment” means any benefit specified in section 39 (1) (other than old age (contributory) pension) or any assistance specified in section 139 (1) (other than old age (non-contributory) pension).

[1993 s2(4); 2003 s5(1)(a)]

(5) (a) Notwithstanding subsection (3)(b)(v)(II), a person receiving full-time education, in accordance with that provision, who attains the age of 22 years during an academic year shall continue to be regarded as a qualified child for the purposes of that provision, while receiving full-time education for the duration of that academic year.

(b) In this subsection “academic year” has the meaning given to it by section 148 (2).

[2003 s5(1)(a)]

(6) (a) Subject to paragraph (b) and notwithstanding subsection (3)(a), a person who attains the age of 18 years while attending a full-time day course of study, instruction or training at an institution of education, shall continue to be regarded as a qualified child for the purposes of that subsection until the following 30 June or until the person completes the full-time day course, whichever is the earlier.

(b) For the purposes of paragraph (a), the Minister may prescribe the conditions subject to which a person shall be regarded as attending a full-time day course of study, instruction or training at an institution of education.

(c) In this subsection, “institution of education” has the meaning given to it by section 148 (2).

[1998 s24(1)]

(7) Subject to Part 12 , “liable relative” means in relation to any person—

(a) a man who is liable to maintain—

(i) his wife,

(ii) his former wife where the marriage has been dissolved, being a dissolution that is recognised as valid in the State,

while she is in receipt of an allowance or benefit, and

(iii) any qualified child of his in respect of whom an increase in allowance or benefit is payable to the mother,

or

(b) a woman who is liable to maintain—

(i) her husband,

(ii) her former husband where the marriage has been dissolved, being a dissolution that is recognised as valid in the State,

while he is in receipt of an allowance, and

(iii) any qualified child of hers in respect of whom an increase in allowance is payable to the father.