Recoverable Benefits and Assistance Scheme

by John Reid

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has claimed that some compensators (i.e. Insurers or Self-Insured Defendants) are deliberately attempting to avoid making payments to the Department under the above scheme.

Under the scheme the State can reclaim certain Social Welfare benefits if the Recipient of the Social Welfare benefits receives a compensation payment arising from an accident or industrial disease.

The Department says that certain compensators are attempting to avoid or minimise their liability to repay these benefits by, for example, settling the claim out of Court and then advising the Court or obtaining a Court Order designed to modify their liability to repay the benefits. This view of the Department is contained in a bond prospectus issued by an Irish Insurance Company which made provision for its own potential liability for underpayment or non-repayment of these benefits. That Insurer stated that it's information is that the Department believes that it may be owed up to €20,000,000 on a result of non-payment or under-payment of the benefit to which it says it is entitled.

There has been a long running difference of opinion between compensators and the Department with regard to the interpretation of the relevant legislation. It is suggested that the wording of the legislation is not helpful to the Department hence its reluctance to embark on a full scale challenge of the manner in which same has been interpreted by certain compensators. The essence of the difference of opinion appears to be that the Department is of the view that the repayment can only be reduced or eliminated if a Court makes an Order having heard the evidence and not only as a result of a settlement when the Court is advised of the terms of that settlement.

It is stated that the Department is on record as having said that it is taking legal advice in relation to this issue.

If you require any further detail or advice, please contact John Reid in O’Rourke Reid
Dial: +353 1 240 1200

This document is for information purposes only and does not purport to represent legal advice.  
© O’Rourke Reid 2018