Proof of Household Charge Payment not Required to Qualify for Social Welfare
By Nevan Riley
The Department of Social Protection was yesterday accused of misleading people into believing they must pay the household charge to qualify for certain welfare payments.
Gisela Schubert, from Arklow, says that she received a letter from her local social welfare office last week seeking an appointment with her as part of her application to obtain a Public Service Card.
Ms Schubert says the letter contained a checklist of what she would need to bring with her to the appointment, and proof of payment of the household charge was on that list. She says she hasn't paid the €100 charge and feels like she is being blackmailed into paying.
Ms Schubert's story gained national attention yesterday and the Campaign Against the Household and Water Taxes took up the cudgels on her behalf and organised a demonstration outside Social Protection Minister Joan Burton's constituency office on Store Street, Dublin.
Reacting today, the Department of Social Protection said that payment of the household charge was not a precondition to securing social welfare payments.
The Department confirmed that the payment receipt was just one of a number of suggestions to an applicant when providing proof of address with their application.
The list includes a property lease, tenancy agreement or receipt for payment of the household charge, with applicants only required to provide one.