Submission to the Department of Social Protection following on from the Community Law & Mediation Roundtable on Social Welfare Law which examined Section 13 of the Social Welfare Act 2012. Section 13 deals with the recovery of overpayments and gives the Department of Social Protection the power to unilaterally deduct 15% from a person’s basic social welfare payment, a significant increase on the deduction allowed under the previous regime. Participants at the roundtable were unanimous in their view that the reduction of 15% to recipients’ basic payments was unfair and disproportionate, given the difficulties experienced by any individuals living on the basic subsistence payment in the form of SWA. Participants agreed that recipients living on a reduced payment of as little as €130 per week for a single person cannot maintain the minimum essential standard of living required to live with dignity. Attendees also emphasised that recipients’ rights to fair procedures must be complied with in the recovery process.
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