Welfare Benefits Act

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

2. Appointment of officers.

3. Establishment of Welfare Benefits Board.

4. Composition of the Board.

5. Term of office of the Board.

6. Powers of the Board.

7. Selection of persons eligible to receive Welfare Benefit payments.

8. Delegation of powers of the Board.

9. Welfare Benefit payment Scheme.

10. Selection Committees.

11. Objections.

12. Appeals Committees.

13. Additional information.

14. Tendering false information an offence.

15. Duties of Divisional Secretaries.

16. Procedure on default.

17. Board to maintain and operate bank accounts.

18. Accounts of the Board.

19. Expenses of the Board.

20. Offences.

21. Offences by public officers.

22. Recovery in case of incorrect payments.

23. Omission and addition of names to the list of persons eligible to receive Welfare Benefit payments.

24. Emergency Relief.

25. Minister to issue directions.

26. Finality of decisions of the Board.

27. Regulations.

28. Interpretation.

29. In case of inconsistency this Act to prevail.

30. Sinhala text to prevail in case of inconsistency.

24 of 2002.

AN ACT to provide the necessary legal framework for the payment of all Welfare Relief Benefits; to set out a transparent selection process by which the recipients of such benefits can be identified; to provide for the termination of such benefits; and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 15th February 2016*]

[*Extraordinary Gazette No. 1952/22 dt February 02, 2016.]

1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the Welfare Benefits Act.

2. Appointment of officers.

The Minister shall appoint for the purposes of this Act—

(a) a person, by name or by office, to be the Commissioner of Welfare Benefits (hereinafter referred to as “the Commissioner”) and

(b) four members of the Board who shall be appointed in the manner hereinafter provided; and

(c) such number of persons by name or by office, as may be necessary, to be, Additional Commissioners of Welfare Benefits, Deputy Commissioners of Welfare Benefits and Assistant Commissioners of Welfare Benefits.

3. Establishment of Welfare Benefits Board.

(1) There shall be established for the purposes of this Act, a body to be called the Welfare Benefits Board, (hereinafter referred to as “the Board”) charged with the administration of the Act and the exercise, performance and discharge of the powers, duties and functions assigned to or conferred on the Board, by this Act.

(2) The Board shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue and be sued in such name.

4. Composition of the Board.

(1) The Board shall consist of—

(a) the Commissioner of Welfare Benefits, appointed under paragraph (a) of section 2, who shall be the Chairman; and

(b) the four members appointed by the Minister in terms of paragraph (b) of section 2.

(2) The Minister shall, in consultation with the Constitutional Council appoint the Chairman and the members of the Board. In appointing the Chairman and the four members under subsection (1), the Minister and the Constitutional Council shall agree on the criteria to be used in the selection of such persons.

(3) The Commissioner shall be the Chief Administrative Officer of the Board and he shall be responsible for the implementation of all decisions of the Board and for the exercise and discharge of any power or function delegated to him by the Board or which is conferred on or assigned to him by or under this law.

5. Term of office of the Board.

(1) The term of office of the Chairman and each of the members appointed under paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section 4 shall be three years calculated from the date of their appointment.

(2) The Minister may prior to the expiration of the terms of office specified above, remove office in consultation with the Constitutional Council, the Chairman or any member of the Board.

(3) The Chairman or a member as the case may be shall be eligible for re-appointment as Chairman or member, unless he has been removed from office in terms of subsection (2).

(4) The Chairman and the members shall be paid such remuneration and allowances as may be determined by the Minister.

(5) The Board may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its composition and accordingly no act or decision of the Board shall be invalidated by reason only of the existence of a vacancy among its members or any defect in the appointment of any member thereof.

6. Powers of the Board.

The Board shall have the power—

(a) in giving effect to the provisions of the Act to exercise perform and discharge the powers duties and functions conferred on or assigned to it by this Act;

(b) to do all such as may be necessary or incidental to the exercise, performance and discharge of its power’s, duties and functions under this Act;

(c) to appoint, remove, remunerate and exercise disciplinary control over such officers and servants as the Board considers necessary for the proper administration of this Act.

7. Selection of persons eligible to receive Welfare Benefit payments.

(1) The Board shall on the material submitted to it in such manner as is hereinafter provided; select the persons who shall be eligible to receive Welfare Benefit payments in terms of this Act. Such selection shall be made in a non-discriminatory manner and in accordance with the prescribed selection criteria. No person shall be denied selection as a person eligible to receive Welfare Benefit payments in terms of this Act, only on the grounds of race, language, religion, sex or political opinion;

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