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Doherty, Regina

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Exceptional Needs Payment Applications

Was asked: the basis on which a decision to refuse a request for clothing allowance was made in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned applied for an Exceptional Needs Payment, ENP, on 4 September 2017. The application was refused as it was considered reasonable that they could provide clothing from their tot...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: if a mortgage repayment to a lending institution paid by a person living apart from the person's spouse on a property in both their names and in which the spouse lives would impact on the calculati...More Button

Social welfare legislation provides that, in the assessment of means for jobseeker’s allowance, account shall be taken of any property owned other than the family home, other capital such as saving...More Button

Non-cash benefits are defined in legislation as, “the net cash value to the person of his or her annual housing costs actually incurred and paid by a liable relative insofar as the cash value exc...More Button

A spouse or civil partner is a liable relative. Accordingly, in the case where a mortgage is being paid by a spouse who is living apart from a claimant, this will be assessed as means. More Button

It should be noted that mortgage payments are considered as maintenance payments for means-testing purposes. Maintenance payments are assessed at 50% when in excess of €95.23 per week (€4,952 pe...More Button

Public Services Card

Was asked: the value of the contract with a company (details supplied) to produce the public services card; the funding it has received to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The contract with Biometric Card Services, BCS, was signed in December 2009. The value of this contact was just under €18.3 million (excluding VAT) for the production, personalisation and distribu...More Button

The increase in costs arises from changes to processes, enhancements/improvements to the security of the card, and from delays impacting the timetable for production of the cards. Following the ...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

Was asked: if a provision has been made in the application process for the public services card for a parent or guardian to sign on behalf of a person with severe disabilities who cannot physically sign or ma...More Button

The Public Services Card, PSC, has been introduced to enable individuals to gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort, while at the same time prese...More Button

Where a person with a disability attends for a SAFE registration, and it is not possible to capture a signature for that person, the officer processing the registration makes a diagonal line on t...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the public services card in the context of persons that have undergone or are undergoing gender transitioning; the way in which the card complies with the Gender Recognition ...More Button

The Public Services Card, PSC, has been introduced to enable individuals to gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort, while at the same time prese...More Button

The PSC is designed to replace other cards within the public sector, such as the free travel pass and the social services card of my Department, and to make it easier for providers of public serv...More Button

The following information is inscribed on the card: Forename, Surname, PPS Number, Photograph, Signature, Card issue number, and Expiry date. The following information is encoded on the chip: Fore...More Button

Applications for Gender Recognition Certificates are processed in a single area of the Department. Only a small number of specifically trained officers process these applications. Only these of...More Button

The PSC contains the data held by the Department for an individual at the specific point in time at which the SAFE registration takes place. Where a person has obtained a Gender Recognition Certif...More Button

As part of the process of issuing a Gender Recognition Certificate, persons are advised that they may require a new PSC and are asked to contact the officer dealing with their application so that...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

Was asked: the position in respect of public services cards for those claiming a social welfare payment; the number of persons that have been refused payment as a result of not having a card; the payments con...More Button

In 2005, the Government approved a rules-based standard for establishing and authenticating an individual’s identity for the purposes of access to public services. This standard is known as the St...More Button

Public Services Card Data

Was asked: the information that the public services card holds; and the information that the public services card has the capacity to hold.More Button

The data that may be displayed and/or electronically stored on the Public Services Card, PSC, is set out at sections 263 (1A) and 263 (1B), respectively, of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 200...More Button

One-Parent Family Payment Eligibility

Was asked: if she has considered the independent review of the changes to the one-parent family payment which was agreed to during the passage of the Social Welfare Act 2016; her plans regarding same; and if ...More Button

The Social Welfare Act 2016, enacted on 19 December 2016, included a commitment that a review of the changes to the One-Parent Family Payment, OFP, scheme since January 2012 would be laid before th...More Button

The review was to assess the financial and social effects of the OFP changes taking into account the effects on welfare dependency and the poverty rates of those affected. The scope of the revie...More Button

In order to complete the review, Indecon carried out a detailed quantitative and econometric analysis of a number of relevant datasets to assess the impact of the changes on lone parents. The re...More Button

I have received the review, and I laid it before the Houses of the Oireachtas on Monday, 9 October 2017, as provided for in the Social Welfare Act, 2016. I welcome a number of positive findings in...More Button

- The policy changes introduced have been successful in increasing employment and in reducing welfare dependency – the reforms increased the probability of both employment and of higher employment ...More Button

- Responses to the survey showed that the percentage of lone parents in full-time employment increased from 15% to 22%; More Button

- Welfare dependency rates fell in the year after One-parent Family Payment was lost, and continued to fall in subsequent years. More Button

I believe that these findings indicate that the broad policy intentions of the changes are having positive results and making real changes to the lives of lone parents, where they have been able ...More Button

I acknowledge, however, that the review has also raised a number of matters of concern: More Button

- Many of those who lost the One-parent Family Payment remain unemployed, or are in low paid or part-time employment; More Button

- The balance of evidence indicates that there is an increased probability of being at risk of poverty as a result of the changes; More Button

- Further supports, aimed at assisting lone parents to obtain full-time employment or increased hours of work, need to be put in place. More Button

The impacts on lone parents arose from the combination of the policy changes to the scheme, and from the imposition, simultaneously, of the financial cuts imposed to welfare schemes across the bo...More Button

For example, lone parents who wish to participate in education can continue to receive support from the Department either through the retention of their primary payment or Family Income Supplemen...More Button

Where lone parents are on Jobseekers Allowance, they can, should they wish to participate in education, transfer to the Back to Education programme. The additional childcare supports coming on-s...More Button

I consider that these measures are a step in the right direction, and I am working to ensure that there is no loss in the momentum to enhance the support for lone parents. The review points to t...More Button

The Department’s employment services provide a case-managed approach to assist lone parents to avail of various opportunities within an ever-improving labour market. This case-managed approach w...More Button

The move to more tailored progressions plans for lone parents will incorporate supports to access the childcare, education and training and other appropriate supports that they require to, in tur...More Button

I intend to continue to prioritise supports for lone parents, particularly those which incentivise work over welfare. I intend also to provide for the further review of the scheme. As there is ...More Button

Homemakers Scheme

Was asked: the estimated cost of backdating the homemaker's scheme to 1970 in incremental steps of five years from 1994; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

To ensure that individuals can maximise their entitlement to a State pension (contributory), all contributions, paid or credited, over their working life from when they first enter insurable employ...More Button

The homemaker's scheme makes qualification for a higher rate of State pension contributory easier for those who take time out of the workforce for caring duties. The scheme, which was introduced...More Button

While the Deputy has requested the estimated cost of backdating the homemaker scheme to 1970 in incremental steps of five years from 1994, there are a number of factors that make it difficult to ...More Button

There are further data-related issues which make it even more challenging. For example, much of the data (e.g., child benefit records) used in the operation of the scheme at present for periods ...More Button

Costing multiple partial backdatings over a range of years would require very detailed analysis of the distribution of gaps in individual records during particular periods, an estimation of which...More Button

While no analysis of the particular proposal contained in the Deputy’s question has been conducted, it is clear that any backdating would entail a significant and ongoing cost to the Social Insur...More Button

Where someone does not qualify for a full-rate contributory pension, he or she may qualify for an alternative payment. If a person's spouse has a contributory pension, he or she may qualify for ...More Button

Work is under way to replace the yearly average system with a Total Contributions Approach. Under this approach, the rate of pension paid will more closely reflect the total number of contributi...More Button

It is hoped that this approach to pension qualification will replace the current one from 2020. Following publication of the current actuarial review of the Social Insurance Fund, a refined prop...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

State Pension (Contributory)

Was asked: the estimated cost of reversing changes made to the eligibility criteria for the contributory State Pension in 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As a result of more people living to pension age and living longer in retirement, the number of State pension recipients is increasing year on year. This has significant implications for the futur...More Button

The current rate bands applying to the SPC were introduced from September 2012, replacing previous rates introduced in 2000. These rate bands more closely reflect the social insurance contributi...More Button

It is estimated that to revert to the previous bands from January 2018 would result in an annual cost of over €60 million in 2018, and this annual cost would increase by an estimated €10 million ...More Button

The main beneficiaries from such a decision would be younger (post-September 2012) pensioners who both:More Button

a. haven’t sufficient paid contributions into the Social Insurance Fund to qualify for a contributory pension at the maximum rate, or for the 98% rate applying to those with a yearly average of €...More Button

b. do not qualify for means-tested pension payments at the maximum rate because, in addition to their state pension, they also have means above a certain level (e.g. they are in receipt of an occ...More Button

The savings created by the new rate bands were an alternative to cutting the core rate of pensions, at a time when Exchequer savings were required, and other social protection payments were being...More Button

The alternative approach, taken by the Government at that time, made savings in respect of the contibutory State pension by making rates of payment for new pensioners more reflective of contribut...More Button

Where people do not qualify for a maximum-rate contributory pension in their own right, the social protection system provides alternative methods of supporting such pensioners in old age. Where ...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

State Pensions

Was asked: the cost of reintroducing the State transition pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 provided that State Pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years. This began in January 2014 with the abolition of the transition State pension, ava...More Button

In most cases, it is hoped that workers will continue to work up to the new State pension age. Where this is not possible, and where a person is available for work, there are specific measures w...More Button

In 2013, the cost of the transition State pension was €137 million. Its abolition was not expected to save that amount of expenditure in full, as some people who were affected would alternativel...More Button

However, it is estimated that well over half of that cost has been saved each year as a result of this measure, and this would be expected to increase as (a) the number of 65-year-olds increases,...More Button

The Deputy should note that there is no statutory retirement age in the State, and the age at which employees retire is a matter for the contract of employment between them and their employers. ...More Button

In January 2016, an Interdepartmental Group on Fuller Working Lives, chaired by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, was established specifically to examine the implications arising f...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

State Pensions Reform

Was asked: the steps which have been taken by her Department to date in establishing an auto-enrolment pension system; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

 Pensions reform is a priority for my term as Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, and I can confirm the Government’s intention to publish and commence the implementat...More Button

Departmental Reviews

Was asked: the number and subject matter of reports and reviews that has been commissioned by her Department and are currently under way, in tabular form; if an outside body has been commissioned to conduct t...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is currently being compiled by my officials and will be provided to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Administration

Was asked: the number of households in receipt of rent supplement by county, in tabular form; the number of households in each county that have had a rent supplement increased above the prescribed limits; and...More Button

Was asked: the annualised cost of the average monthly rent currently paid to rent supplement recipients under the scheme; the number of families availing of the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the...More Button

Was asked: if a mechanism whereby persons who are awaiting the outcome of their housing assistance payment, HAP, application with their local authority can be permitted to apply for and be paid rent allowance...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 659, 678 and 691 together.

  The rent supplement scheme, administered by my Department, plays a vital role in housing families and individuals, w...More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Was asked: her plans to revise the level of income disregarded for the purposes of means testing for those persons in receipt of Army pensions which are currently €2 per week; and if she will make a statement...More Button

Social welfare legislation provides that for the purpose of means testing for weekly social assistance schemes, account is taken of property other than the family home owned by the claimant and his...More Button

The means test for weekly social assistance schemes provides for a disregard of €104 per annum for army pensions payments paid under the Army Pensions Acts 1923 to 1980. It should be noted that ...More Button

The means testing of social welfare payments reflects the fact that there is an expectation that people with income are in a position to use that income to support themselves without having to re...More Button

Any changes to the current arrangements would have to be considered in an overall policy and Budgetary context..More Button

Was asked: the most appropriate payment in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned is currently in receipt of a Jobseeker's payment, the eligibility criteria for which state that the person must be available for and genuinely seeking full-time employment. Ad...More Button

From the information available to the Department, it has been confirmed that the person concerned has not been referred to Tús. However, she was randomly selected to engage with the Jobpath init...More Button

If the person concerned is not in a position to engage with Jobpath or meet the other eligibility criteria of the Jobseeker's payment, she should contact her nearest Intreo Office or Social Welfa...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Applications

Was asked: the proof of address which will be accepted in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned on 6 October 2017 provided a credit union statement and a letter from the householder as evidence of his current address, and advised that he has no other documentary evidence ...More Button

  Question No. 663 withdrawn.More Button

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Eligibility

Was asked: her plans to increase the allowance for savings as a means for non-contributory pension applicants. More Button

 In assessing means for social assistance payments, account is taken of the income and the value of capital and property of the claimant.

  Social welfare legislation provid...More Button

Labour Activation Programmes

Was asked: her plans to give control back to the local scheme co-ordinators in the sourcing and placing of individual scheme workers on Tús and community employment schemes in view of the fact the local knowl...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department provides a range of activation supports catering for long-term unemployed jobseekers and those most distant from the labour market. These supports includ...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Was asked: if she will review the Tús and community employment schemes regarding scheme participants who are over 60 years of age and considered by the local scheme co-ordinator to be unlikely to transition b...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department provides a range of activation supports catering for long-term unemployed jobseekers and those most distant from the labour market. These supports includ...More Button

All participants and community groups are aware of the time limits for participation on these schemes. The participation limits aim to ensure the benefit of participation on a work scheme is ava...More Button

With the ongoing welcome reductions in the live register, issues such as the number of places, the criteria for participation on Tús, including age limits, will all be considered in the coming mo...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

Was asked: the terms and conditions regarding eligibility for community employment; if people can be removed from the scheme while on maternity leave as a result of their spouses commencing employment during ...More Button

Community Employment, CE, schemes are designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged people with an opportunity to engage in part-time work and training within their comm...More Button

CE scheme participants are obliged to notify their employer immediately of any change in their family circumstances. This change could relate directly to scheme participants or it could be that ...More Button

Most changes are straightforward and simply require the addition or cessation of the relevant dependant allowance. However, where the family income changes, the new rate of payment must be calcu...More Button

If the Deputy provides my office with the details of the particular case, I will have the matter examined.More Button

I trust that clarifies the matters for the Deputy..More Button

Carer's Allowance Applications

Was asked: the eligibility for carer's allowance in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I confirm that my Department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person concerned on 22 August 2017. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person ...More Button

School Meals Programme

Was asked: the amount of funding allocated in 2016 to a programme (details supplied); the amount of funding utilised in 2016; her plans for unused funds in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the...More Button

The school meals programme provides funding toward the provision of food to schools and organisations at a total cost of some €47.5 million in 2017. As part of Budget 2017, the funding for the sch...More Button

In addition to providing some increases to existing DEIS schools benefitting almost 6,000 children, Budget 2017 funding also provides for the inclusion in the scheme, from September 2017, of up t...More Button

Prior to the introduction of DEIS in 2005, all schools that were part of one of a number of Department of Education and Skills’ initiatives for disadvantaged schools were eligible to participate ...More Button

Applications for the scheme for the 2017-18 school year continue to be received and processed. It is expected that the full funding available under the scheme will be allocated over the coming w...More Button

Was asked: the number of rural schools availing of the school meals programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if all rural DEIS schools avail of the school meals programme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 700 and 701 together.

  The school meals programme provides funding toward the provision of food to schools and organisations at a total cost of ...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme

Was asked: if an investigation will be carried out into a case (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Under the legislative provisions governing the award of rent supplement, the Department’s relationship is with the tenant; the tenant makes the application for rent supplement and payment is made t...More Button

Separate to these arrangements is the contract between the tenant and landlord under a tenancy agreement. This is personal to them and is subject to the legislative framework provided under the ...More Button

The case in question has been examined on several occasions in response to enquiries from the landlord. He has been made aware of the Department’s position in relation to this case. A further f...More Button

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

Social Welfare Schemes

Was asked: if the waiting time is set in legislation or a statutory instrument to qualify for the community employment scheme, Tús or back-to-education allowance (details supplied); and if so, the legislation...More Button

As the schemes referred to by the Deputy are not statutory schemes, their terms and conditions are not set out in legislation. These administrative schemes are governed by the operating guidelines...More Button

Ministerial Responsibilities

Was asked: the powers she has delegated to the Ministers of State in her Department; the date on which such delegation was made; if there were changes in powers delegated relative to the situation in place pr...More Button

The Government’s authority to delegate powers and duties to Ministers of State is contained in section 2 of the Ministers and Secretaries (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1977. More Button

On 14 June 2017, Deputy Finian McGrath was reappointed Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Health with special r...More Button

On 20 June 2017, Deputy Pat Breen was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the Department of the...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Operation

Was asked: when a review of the participation of older persons on community employment schemes will be completed; and if the review will be published.More Button

Was asked: her plans to introduce changes to the criteria related to the community employment scheme, particularly related to the two-year limit on a person’s assignment to the scheme. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 673 and 674 together. More Button

Following the publication of my Department’s report, "An Analysis of the Community Employment Programme", earlier in the year, the Government approved a number of changes to the terms and conditi...More Button

The changes, which have been in effect since 3 July 2017, have seen the general qualifying age for CE, for those on the live register, reduced from 25 to 21 years of age. It will also now be eas...More Button

Further changes, which will be progressed over the coming months, include the roll-out of the, "two strand approach", of activation and social inclusion in terms of how CE places are categorised. More Button

In addition, a review of the participation of older people on schemes is being undertaken, and I expect that this will be completed in the coming weeks. The question of publication will be consi...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. .More Button

Was asked: her plans to allow persons with mental health problems who wish to stay indefinitely on community employment schemes with the support of their health care providers to do so; and if she will make a...More Button

Community Employment, CE, is an active labour market programme whose aim is to enhance the employability and mobility of disadvantaged and unemployed persons by providing work experience and traini...More Button

All CE participants are subject to a participation limit. This limit is based on CE participation since 2007 and is six years in total. Persons qualifying for CE via a disability-related paymen...More Button

Overall, the aim of CE is to progress unemployed and other disadvantaged persons into full-time sustainable employment and/or further education and training.More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. .More Button

Family Income Supplement Eligibility

Was asked: if hours of work carried out under partial capacity benefit underlying the payment of invalidity pension can be used in conjunction with a spouse's hours of work to jointly meet the hours required ...More Button

Partial Capacity Benefit, PCB, is a social welfare scheme which allows a person to return to work or self-employment (if he or she has reduced capacity to work) and continue to receive a payment fr...More Button

Disability Allowance Payments

Was asked: the reason disability allowance for a person (details supplied) was not backdated to the actual date of application; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Was asked: if she will re-examine the situation whereby a female employee paying PRSI contributions remained out of work to rear children and now finds herself in a position where she will receive a reduced r...More Button

There are a number of pension schemes operated by my Department, and the most advantageous of these to a person will depend upon a number of factors, including his or her PRSI contribution record, ...More Button

The contributory State Pension is one such payment and is based on contributions made into the Social Insurance Fund, which finance that pension scheme on a pay-as-you-go basis. People who have ...More Button

To ensure that individuals can maximise their entitlement to a contributory State Pension, all contributions, paid or credited, over their working life from when they first enter insurable employ...More Button

The homemaker's scheme makes qualification for a higher rate of contributory State Pension easier for those who take time out of the workforce for caring duties. The scheme, which was introduced...More Button

Where a person does not qualify for a full-rate contributory pension, he or she may qualify for an alternative payment. If the person's spouse has a contributory pension, her or she may qualify ...More Button

Work is under way to replace the yearly average system with a Total Contributions Approach, which it is hoped will replace the current one from 2020. Under this approach, the rate of pension pai...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. .More Button

Maternity Benefit

Was asked: her plans to extend the creditable period beyond 16 weeks for those on unpaid maternity leave; the reason this limit exists; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

PRSI credited contributions (“credits”) are an integral part of the social insurance system. For the most part, they are linked to having an underlying entitlement to a social welfare payment whil...More Button

In the case of those on maternity leave, credits may be awarded for 26 weeks, during which an individual is on maternity leave and, subject to satisfying the PRSI contribution conditions, is enti...More Button

Any additional leave beyond the 16 weeks unpaid leave is at the discretion of the employer and is not covered by statutory leave arrangements for which credits can be awarded. The social welfare c...More Button

Youth Guarantee

Was asked: if she will report on her Department's response to the report from the European Court of Auditors which described the youth guarantee scheme as falling short of expectations; her views on the fact ...More Button

The report by the Court of Auditors relates to the overall implementation at the European Union level of the EU Recommendation on a Youth Guarantee, rather than making findings about individual Mem...More Button

National Internship Scheme

Was asked: the position regarding the promised internship scheme to replace JobBridge; the expected commencement date of this scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

JobBridge was introduced in July 2011 in response to the sharp and dramatic increase in unemployment. A robust external evaluation of the scheme conducted by Indecon Economic Consultants in 2016 f...More Button

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Appeals

Was asked: if back payments due to a person (details supplied) will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

A request for a review of non-contributory State Pension was received from the person concerned on 27 February 2017. A Deciding Officer reviewed the case and awarded an increase in the person’s pe...More Button

Respite Care Grant Eligibility

Was asked: if she will reform the respite care grant to include those who are obliged by economic necessity to work outside the home in excess of 15 hours; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It is a condition for receipt of carer’s benefit and carer’s allowance and the carer’s support grant, that the carer must be providing full-time care and attention to a person who requires it becau...More Button

These provisions achieve a reasonable balance between meeting the primary legislative requirement for providing full-time care for the care recipient and addressing the needs of the carers to eng...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Was asked: when a decision will be made on an application by a person (details supplied) for domiciliary care; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when a decision will be made regarding a domiciliary care allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Rural Social Scheme Administration

Was asked: if, in cases in which rural developments have not taken up their full allocation of places, whether they can be transferred to companies that are looking for additional persons (details supplied); ...More Button

The purpose of the rural social scheme, RSS, is to provide income support to farmers and fishermen and women who have an entitlement to specified social welfare payments. As the Deputy is aware, i...More Button

The additional places were allocated taking into account a number of factors, including the number of places already allocated, the demand for new places in particular areas, work opportunities a...More Button

While the overall responsibility for the operation of the RSS rests with the Department, it is implemented at a local level by 35 Local Development Companies and Údarás na Gaeltachta in the Gaelt...More Button

At this point, all of the IBs have plans in place to fully utilise the places available to them and, therefore, there are no plans at present for the re-distribution of unfilled places. However,...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy..More Button

Maternity Leave

Was asked: the details of the recent Government announcement to extend maternity leave to mothers who have a premature baby; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Maternity Benefit is a payment made for 26 weeks to employed and self-employed pregnant women who satisfy certain pay-related social insurance, PRSI, contribution conditions in order to avoid the n...More Button

The rate of payment was increased to €235 per week from March 2017. In 2017, it is estimated that my Department will spend approximately €266 million on maternity benefit, in respect of an avera...More Button

New arrangements, which take effect for premature babies born on or after Sunday, 1 October, will increase the duration of maternity leave and the associated maternity benefit to be paid in cases...More Button

Under the new arrangements, a mother who qualifies for maternity benefit will be entitled to an additional period of paid maternity leave, in addition to her current entitlement of 26 weeks, wher...More Button

Question No. 691 answered with Question No. 659.More Button

Disability Allowance Applications

Was asked: the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); when it is expected the application will be concluded; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Fuel Allowance Applications

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) can make a late application for a fuel allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Farm Assist Scheme Data

Was asked: the waiting times for farm assist payments; the number of applications pending, by county, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

At the end of August, there were 7,346 recipients of a farm assist payment.

  Data on applications pending and the average time to award for Farm Assist is only available in my D...More Button

Departmental Reports

Was asked: if she has received a report (details supplied) on the impact of austerity measures on lone parent families; her views on the report; if she will publish the report in advance of Budget 2018; and i...More Button

The Social Welfare Act 2016, enacted on 19 December 2016, included a commitment that a review of the changes to the One-Parent Family Payment, OFP, scheme since January 2012 would be laid before th...More Button

The report was to assess the financial and social effects of the OFP changes taking into account the effects on welfare dependency and the poverty rates of those affected. The scope of the revie...More Button

On foot of this legislative commitment, a formal tendering process was initiated by my Department and, on the conclusion of that process, Indecon International Economic Consultants, Indecon, was ...More Button

In order to complete the review, Indecon carried out a detailed quantitative and econometric analysis of a number of relevant datasets to assess the impact of the changes on lone parents. The re...More Button

The timeframe for the review was very ambitious given the scale and complexity of the issues to be covered in the review. However, I have the report, it has been considered by my Department and ...More Button

Lobbying Data

Was asked: the number of occasions on which she has been lobbied in respect of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill since March 2016; the persons with whom she has met; the dates of these meetings; the details of...More Button

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection has had no meetings with lobbying groups or bodies in respect of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.More Button

Commencement of Legislation

Was asked: if all sections of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 are now in force; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Civil Registration (Amendment) Act 2014 provides for a wide range of matters relating to the registration of life events in the State.More Button

Certain provisions, such as those relating to marriages of convenience, were commenced in August of 2015. However, it has not been possible to commence all sections of the Act due to ongoing ind...More Button

At this point, I am not in a position to provide a date for commencement of the remaining sections, but I would like to reassure the Deputy that officials from my Department, the Department of He...More Button

Money Advice and Budgeting Service Reports

Was asked: if she has considered the submission by the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, MABS, regarding the proposals to replace local voluntary MABS companies with regional companies; the rationale for th...More Button

In February 2017, the Board of the Citizens Information Board, CIB, decided to restructure its governance arrangements to a regional model comprising 16 companies, eight CIS anMore Button

Farm Assist Scheme Payments

Was asked: her plans to restore farm assist payments to 2013 levels; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The farm assist scheme provides support for farmers on low incomes and is similar to Jobseeker’s Allowance. Farm assist recipients retain the advantages of the Jobseeker’s Allowance scheme, such a...More Button

Budget 2017 introduced measures in relation to the assessment of means for farm assist which reversed all changes introduced in Budgets 2012 and 2013. These measures included that farm income wo...More Button

In addition, Budget 2017 increased the rate of payment for farm assist by €5 per week to €193 per week..More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Payments

Was asked: if steps can be taken to restore payment in the case of a person (details supplied); if the person's case can be urgently investigated with a view to restoration of payment or alternative appropria...More Button

Payment of Jobseeker’s Allowance in the case of the person concerned has been suspended, as information requested relating to spousal means has not been provided by the person concerned. It is not...More Button

Was asked: the reason Jobseeker's Allowance has been terminated in the case of a person (details supplied); the reason a basic payment has not been made in lieu thereof; if the case can be urgently reviewed; ...More Button

A Jobseeker’s Alowance claim for the person concerned is currently under review as he failed to establish his residency at the stated address. The person concerned was interviewed by an Officer of...More Button