We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton Photocall Ireland
pension checks

Burton defends welfare checks on widows and widowers

The issue has been in the spotlight after an elderly woman had her pension stopped when she refused to engage with inspectors.

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Joan Burton has been defending inspections carried out by her department at the homes of widows receiving payments from the state.

It’s after it emerged that over 1,000 such visits were paid to homes in the past year to check on the status of people in receipt of a widow’s or widower’s contributory pension. The law states that a person ceases to be entitled to the pension should they remarry or begin to cohabit.

The issue has been in the spotlight after People Before Profit TD Joan Collins raised the case of a 76-year-old woman who had her pension stopped after she refused to engage in a survey being carried out by Social Protection officials, as she felt they were prying into her affairs.

The payment was restored after the issue was raised by Collins in the Dáíl.

Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics, Minister Burton said she regretted any upset caused to the woman in question, but that it was something her department was required to do.

“These are randomised surveys and they’re carried out to check if a person is still in the country and that they are who they say they are.”

Burton said that the Department had “made huge savings” through a crackdown on welfare fraud and that such practices were “important for a good social welfare system” which ensured that “people who are entitled to payments get them”.

Speaking on the same programme, Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley said that such inspections should be carried out more sensibly, without impacting on vulnerable groups.

Read: ‘Political carpets have been infested with maggots’: 5 winners and 5 losers from the political week

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.