Welfare inspectors can now mount checkpoints without gardai and interrogate car passengers. They may also provide information to other countries as part of welfare fraud investigations. Can welfare find out about bank accounts?
How is the funds test carried out?
When you apply for income-related social assistance, you must complete an application form. This form contains information about sources of income. You must provide detailed information on all funds by completing the Social Benefit Payment Form. The Department of Employment and Social Protection (DEASP) may ask you to provide details of your bank accounts, including account numbers. DEASP does not access your bank account unless you agree to it.
The welfare inspector can interview you about your income and ask for supporting documents, such as bank statements or bills. This may include a home visit.
All sources of income are added together and taken into account when deciding whether you qualify for an income-based payment. The decision on the measures is made by a separate decision maker and you will be informed how accurately your funds have been estimated. If you are not satisfied, you can appeal to the Appeals Bureau for social assistance.
How cash income is estimated?
The funds test assesses all monetary income that can be earned in the coming year. In practice, this is usually assessed by calculating the income actually obtained in the previous year. Monetary income that is assessed includes all income from employment or self-employment, including farm income, income from a social security pension from another country and maintenance payments.
All banks should review their existing basic bank accounts in accordance with the following principles:
- without using credit scores
- accounts should be opened on site, provided that the client has acceptable forms of identification
- banks should not exercise the right to deduct from basic bank accounts.
- fees for failed direct debits and standing orders should be set at the level set by the government’s financial inclusion task force
- providing a debit buffer zone of £ 10
- accounts should be available at post offices, ATMs and bank branch offices
- the time for settling payments by check on the accounts should be the same as for the bank’s current accounts.
The banking code should require banks to:
- display information on basic bank accounts in bank branches
- inform customers who have been rejected because of the account, the reasons for refusal and what they should do to remedy the situation
- open the basic bak account, under which you can enter an acceptable identifier, and configure it within a maximum of 10 business days
- cease exercising their right to set off other debts to the bank from basic accounts
- follow the instructions on how to upgrade your primary accounts and what safeguards to enter.