The Applicant, a British citizen, moved to Ireland from the UK in 2015 with his wife, a third country national, and their eight children.
He applied for Family Income Supplement in May 2017. In June 2017, his application was refused on the basis that his employment was not genuine. He appealed this decision, but it was returned to the Department for review. A social welfare investigation concluded that his employment was fraudulent. On 1 January 2018, Family Income Supplement was reclassified as Working Family Payment.
In April 2018, the Applicant was made redundant. The Department’s negative decision was affirmed on review and then, following an oral hearing, affirmed on appeal. The Appeals Officer found that the Applicant had not produced sufficient documentary evidence of his full-time remunerative employment.
In July 2018, the Applicant sought a review of the decision of the Appeals Officer under section 318 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 by the Chief Appeals Officer (CAO). On the Applicant’s behalf, CLM submitted that the manner in which the Applicant’s claim for WFP had been investigated by the Department was unfair, arguing that the inspector had placed undue weight on the visits that he had made to the Applicant’s place of work where he had not directly observed the Applicant working. CLM noted that, on one of these visits, the Applicant was present. On occasions when the inspector had concluded that the Applicant was not present, he had only walked past the Applicant’s place of employment. CLM further submitted that at the meeting held between the inspector and the Applicant, the inspector had never raised his concerns with the Applicant. CLM also submitted that the inspector’s conclusion was inconsistent with documentary evidence provided by the Applicant he was in full-time remunerative employment, and that the Applicant could not be held responsible for a failure to produce evidence of his employment after he had ceased to be employed by the business in question in April 2018.
The CAO found that the scope of the appeal under section 318 was confined to the decision of the Appeals Officer and could not look into the investigation concluded by the social welfare inspector. She therefore upheld the decision of the Appeals Officer on the basis that there had been no error in law.
In January 2019, the Applicant issued judicial review proceedings seeking to quash the decisions of the Appeals Officer and the CAO. These proceedings were adjourned to facilitate consideration of an appeal to the CAO under section 317.
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