CLM held a Roundtable discussion on the 21st November 2013 in the area of Social Welfare Law focusing upon Section 13 of the Social Welfare Act 2012 which allows the Department to reduce a basic payment by 15% without the person’s consent in order to recover an overpayment owing to the Department.
The Roundtable was attended by Advocacy Officers, Information Officers from various CIS’s and members of the wider legal community. Alan Brady BL and Dr Bernadette McMahon from the Vincentian Partnership presented on different aspects of this topic. Alan Brady BL examined the legal basis of the provision and it’s compatibility with both domestic and international human rights instruments. Dr Bernadette McMahon of the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice provided a presentation on the work of the Vincentian Partnership in developing a minimum income threshold calculator for specific household types.
In this regard, the social policy implications of this provision and impact of Section 13 in respect of those most at risk of poverty were discussed and highlighted. Both presentations provided a platform for an engaging discussion regarding Section 13 and the attendees were of the view, given that the cut reduces a person’s payment below the basic rate of supplementary welfare allowance, a rate at which the Department itself has stated no one should be forced to live below and the minimum income threshold as developed by the Vincentian Partnership, that the section should reformed and it’s deletion sought.
Following on from the Roundtable discussion, CLM made a submission to the Department of Social Protection.
Download the submission here