Houses of the Oireachtas

All parliamentary debates are now being published on our new website. The publication of debates on this website will cease in December 2018.

Go to oireachtas.ie

 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 802-821
 Header Item Free Travel Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Disability Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Pension Provisions
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Applications
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Redundancy Payments
 Header Item Social Insurance Payments
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Appeals
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Payments

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 774 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 802-821

Free Travel Scheme Eligibility

 802. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton her plans regarding the free travel scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38621/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The free travel scheme is currently available to all people living in the State aged 66 years or over, to carers and to people who are in receipt of certain disability type payments. There are currently in excess of 720,000 customers eligible for free travel and when spousal and companion passes are taken into account, there are over 1.1 million customers with some free travel eligibility.

The cost of the free travel scheme has risen substantially over the last 10 years from €45.8 million for almost 608,000 customers in 2001 to over €75 million for 726,000 customers in 2011. My Department also provides some funding for the rural transport programme.

There are considerable challenges ahead to protect, as far as possible, the key income supports provided by my Department which impact in some way on the lives of almost every person in the State. As part of the deliberative process for the budget, my Department will analyse all schemes, and in so far as possible, the distributive and poverty impact of possible welfare changes. These impacts will be taken into account in arriving at the final decisions on the Budget to ensure that the scarce resources are targeted at those most in need.

To help ensure the future sustainability of the free travel scheme, a review is being carried out by officials from my Department, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the National Transport Authority. The review is in the early stages.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 803. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton Information on Paul Connaughton Zoom on Paul Connaughton asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a decision will issue on an application for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38622/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I confirm that the department is in receipt of an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question. The medical assessment has been completed and the application is awaiting examination by a deciding officer for a means assessment and a full decision. The application will be processed as quickly as possible and when a decision is made the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Disability Allowance Appeals

 804. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if and when it is likely that disability allowance will be paid in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38634/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned applied for disability allowance on 20 March 2012.

The medical evidence supplied with his application was referred to one of the department’s medical assessors who was of the opinion, based on the information supplied, that the person was not medically suitable for disability allowance. The deciding officer accepted this opinion and disallowed the claim and the person was notified in writing of this decision on 9 June 2012.

The person subsequently forwarded further medical evidence in support of his application which was referred to a medical assessor. When the medical opinion is received a deciding officer will review the person’s application and he will be notified of the decision as soon as possible.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 805. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if carer's allowance will be granted in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38638/12]

 811. Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will examine the delay in processing a carer's allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38686/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 805 and 811 together.

  I confirm that the department is in receipt of an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question. The application is with a deciding officer and a decision is expected shortly. When a decision is made the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 806. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding an application for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38657/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton This application for carer’s allowance has been awarded. The payment commenced on 12th September 2012. A letter to this effect issued to the person in question on 12th September 2012.

Pension Provisions

 807. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if a register of all pension schemes approved by the Revenue Commissioners exists; and if so, the statutory agency with which such a register is held; if the relevant legislation covering this can be referred to; the Department that is currently responsible for same; and if the register is available to the public and the information headings under which data is published for each scheme. [38666/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Pensions Board maintains a register of occupational pension schemes, all of which are approved by the Revenue Commissioners. In accordance with Section 60 of the Pensions Act 1990, the trustees must register the scheme with the Pensions Board within one year of the commencement date.

The register is not available to the public. However, the Pensions Board will assist scheme members determine the status of their pension scheme should this be required. The Pensions Board, in its annual report, publish details of the total number of registrations within that year along with the accumulated number of schemes and active members since inception. The information includes both defined benefit (subject to the funding standard), defined benefit (not subject to the funding standard) and defined contribution schemes and indicates the range of active scheme membership.

Pension Provisions

 808. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the responsibilities on pension schemes to locate recipients of schemes with particular reference to beneficiaries who cannot be located; the legislation covering this area; the action that must be taken in such cases; if provision for payment must be made in-house, separately with the Pensions Board or if there is a dormant accounts type provision; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [38669/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Section 59 of the Pensions Act 1990 sets out the general duties of trustees of pension schemes one of which is where appropriate, to make arrangements for the payment of the benefits as provided under the rules of the scheme as they become due. My Department provides support to pension schemes that are having difficulty locating scheme members by providing a mail hosting service. This service operates by sending a letter to a person’s last known address asking them to make contact with their pension scheme.

A group chaired by my Department and comprising of representatives from the Pensions Board and the Revenue Commissioners has considered ways of facilitating a more enhanced pension tracing facility and as a result my Department is working closely with the Revenue Commissioners to put in place an automated solution to capture the required data which will facilitate a person to trace his or her accrued pension rights in former employment.

The establishment of a dormant accounts type fund into which the accrued benefits of untraceable scheme members would be lodged will also be considered.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

 809. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding a domiciliary care allowance review in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38670/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton An application for domiciliary care allowance was received on the 28th March 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who found that the child was not medically eligible for the allowance. A letter issued on the 10th May 2012 advising of the decision.

The person concerned requested a review of the decision and the case has been forwarded to another of the Department’s Medical Assessors for further consideration. The person concerned will be notified of the outcome of this review shortly.

Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility

 810. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding rent allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 1.  [38679/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned has already been in receipt of rent supplement since 2009. Should he apply for rent supplement for a new address, all of his circumstances will of course be taken into account, subject to the standard criteria.

  Question No. 811 answered with Question No. 805.

Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

 812. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton her future plans, if any, to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the rent supplement scheme, bearing in mind the struggles that both landlords and tenants face, particularly tenants who have mortgage commitments that they must honour; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38687/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are currently over 90,000 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has provided €436 million for 2012.

The housing policy framework published by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and the Minister for Housing & Planning in June 2011 contains the announcement for the transfer of responsibility in providing housing needs for long term rent supplement recipients to housing authorities. A multi-agency steering group has been established to develop proposals to give effect to this transfer. The group is chaired by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and consists of representatives from the Departments of Social Protection; Public Expenditure and Reform; Office of the Revenue Commissioners; the County and City Managers Association, and the Housing Agency. This will help achieve a key Government commitment of removing barriers to employment at the same time returning rent supplement to its original purpose, that of a short term income support payment for those temporarily unemployed.

The timescale for determining individual applications for rent supplement is dependent, among other things, on the availability of the required information, such as details of the applicant’s income, bank statements, etc. In addition, some aspects of the application are inevitably time consuming and delays can occur where investigations such as home visits or third party evidence are required. Delays can also arise if the applicant is slow to respond to requests for additional information.

The provision of a prompt service is a major objective for the Department’s staff dealing with rent supplement applications in ensuring that tenants can meet their rental commitments. However, this is tempered by the necessity to ensure that every case is fully investigated and that all cases are dealt with in a consistent and fair manner.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

 813. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding an appeal against the decision to refuse an application for domiciliary allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38690/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 25th February 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on the 25th July 2012 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Redundancy Payments

 814. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan Information on Patrick O'Donovan Zoom on Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding a redundancy claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; when payment maybe expected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38691/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton An application for a redundancy lump sum payment in respect of the person concerned was received in the Department in August. It is expected that the claim will be finalised within the coming weeks.

Social Insurance Payments

 815. Deputy Charles Flanagan Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the reasons for the failure to recognise the insurability of the employment of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38694/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The matter here, including seeking retrospection back to 2002, was the subject of a statutory decision by a Deciding Officer, who decided that the situation did/does not constitute a contract of service (i.e. that the requirements of an employer/employee relationship were not present) and therefore not insurable for PRSI purposes.

Following an oral hearing on 23 May 2012 in Portlaoise, involving full evidence and examination, an Appeals Officer disallowed an appeal in August 2012 and upheld that the reality of the situation was not that of an employer/employee relationship, insurable under social welfare legislation but rather that of a mother helping out her daughter, in receipt of a form of small appreciation and something not unusual in family arrangements - but not insurable.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 816. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if and when carer's allowance will be paid in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38695/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned applied for a carer’s allowance for two people and is currently in receipt of a carer’s allowance for one of those carers.

Payment of an increase in her carer’s allowance in respect of a second carer was refused on the grounds that the care recipient is not so disabled as to require full time care and attention as prescribed in regulations. She was notified of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of review or appeal.

The person concerned appealed this decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office and submitted further medical evidence in support of the appeal. This information has been forwarded to the medical assessor for further consideration. If the outcome remains unchanged a submission will be prepared and her file and papers will be forwarded to the Social Welfare Appeals Office for determination.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 817. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will expedite an application for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38697/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I confirm that the department is in receipt of an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question. The medical assessment has been completed and the application is awaiting examination by a deciding officer for a means assessment and a full decision. The application will be processed as quickly as possible and when a decision is made the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

 818. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if and when a decision will be made in respect of an appeal for invalidity pension in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38698/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that no appeal by the person concerned has been received by that office.

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility

 819. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 38, 46, 47, 49 and 60 of 17 July 2012 regarding the rent supplement scheme and in particular the following paragraph: "while rent supplement is not generally paid where the rent charged for the accommodation is above the relevant maximum limit, Departmental officials have flexibility around making payments above these limits where there are special housing needs related to exceptional circumstances which may include a person with a disability in specially adapted accommodation"; the number of person that have been exempted from the new rental caps as a result of this flexibility.  [38704/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are currently over 90,000 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has provided €436million for 2012.

Statistics are not available on the number of rent supplement claims in payment in respect of tenancies which are in excess of the prescribed limits on an exceptional basis.

  Question No. 820 withdrawn.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Payments

 821. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae Information on Michael Healy-Rae Zoom on Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding the back-dating of domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [38712/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 18th April 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 14th May 2012 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

  The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlement.


Last Updated: 06/05/2020 09:09:43 First Page Previous Page Page of 162 Next Page Last Page