AN ORGANISATION REPRESENTING visually impaired people in Ireland has expressed concern about plans by the Revenue Commissioner to investigate those in receipt of the blind pension.
An article in the Sunday Business Post said that Revenue is to start sorting through the records of people who are receiving the blind pension to determine if any of them are in receipt of a second pension and assess their level of tax compliance.
Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Des Kenny, CEO of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI), said the organisation was “surprised” to hear that Revenue would extend to investigating people on the payment because it is “heavily means tested”.
There are 1,400 people in receipt of the payment and all of them are under the age of 65. After that, Kenny said they would move onto the regular contributory pension.
Kenny said there was a “sense of alarm” about Revenue being in charge of this review, rather than social protection officers, who he said “already have the experience to communicate with people who perceive themselves to be vulnerable”. He said his would be particularly worrying in cases where a person may be suspected of a breach as Revenue may not be equipped to properly communicate this to people.
“But in no way would we tolerate anyone who doesn’t declare an income – we see that as an absolute necessitaty as part of the legitimacy of this assistance payment,” Kenny added.