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

Burton, Joan

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Shannon Airport: Motion (Continued)

No IndicatorVoted No More Button

Social Welfare Bill 2012: Order for Second Stage

I move: "That Second Stage be taken now."More Button

Social Welfare Bill 2012: Second Stage

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."More Button

The main purpose of the Bill is to give effect to some of the measures announced in the Budget Statement last week. Our twin objectives in the budget have been to ensure those in most need of th...More Button

Fianna Fáil's utter failure to introduce meaningful reforms to the social welfare system to encourage work was highlighted today in the ESRI research on jobless households. Fianna Fáil's toxic l...More Button

As Deputies are all too well aware, Fianna Fáil's largesse in everything means the State has been spending far in excess of its revenues for several years, but it cannot continue to do so indefin...More Button

Social Welfare Bill 2012: Second Stage (Continued)

In 2012 the deficit will be more than €13 billion, equivalent to more than 8% of GDP. With the single exception of Spain, which has a similar level of deficit but a lower stock of debt, no other...More Button

This is the background against which the Government has had to frame the 2013 budget. It has been necessary both to increase tax and other revenues and to reduce expenditure. Spending on social ...More Button

I fully realise that nobody in this House would want to cut social welfare and I certainly do not wish to cut child benefit, the respite care grant or the duration of jobseeker's benefit. We are...More Button

I have long been of the view that the burden of resolving the financial crisis should not fall disproportionately on those who are dependent on social welfare for their income, whether they be pe...More Button

The comprehensive expenditure review, published last year for the period 2012 to 2014, provided for a reduction of a further €540 million in expenditure by the Department of Social Protection in ...More Button

As I mentioned earlier, it is not possible to entirely avoid cuts in social protection this year. However, while social protection accounts for almost 37% of spending, it will account for less t...More Button

People can continue to rely on their basic weekly payment, which is essential in order that they can have a sense of security regarding their income. Pensioners and all those under the age of 66...More Button

Members can understand the high priority the Government continues to give to the area of social protection for people relying on a social welfare income in these very difficult times.More Button

The Government's determination to protect the most vulnerable welfare recipients by maintaining the level of core payment rates is strongly informed by the significant contribution of social tran...More Button

In that regard, I wish to acknowledge the support I received from the Opposition last week when I presented a request for a Supplementary Estimate to the Dáil. While we differ on many issues, it...More Button

I am also pleased to have secured €30 million in new spending on employment programmes and child care places. This investment is consistent with the Government's priority of getting people back ...More Button

Turning to the specific contents of the Bill, it provides for the following changes arising from budget 2013: changes in certain pay-related social insurance, PRSI, contributions; a reduction in ...More Button

I propose to introduce major reforms to pensions policy next year, following publication of the OECD review of the pensions landscape in Ireland, which is due in April. As Members will be aware,...More Button

Earlier this year I commissioned a technical report to explore the possible options, which I expect to receive presently. This is a complex area and there are no easy options. However, it is clea...More Button

Cuts have to be made and given the level of expenditure on child benefit, which is over €2 billion or 10% of all expenditure, it has not been possible to avoid some reductions in the benefit in t...More Button

In line with commitments contained in the programme for Government, I established the advisory group on tax and social welfare last year. The group has presented its report to me and I intend to...More Button

The Department will spend €775 million on carers in 2013, €5 million more it is spending on carers this year. There are no changes to the half-rate carer's allowance scheme, which is highly valu...More Button

Since I came to office, tackling fraud and improving control have been priorities for me. I am introducing measures to enable the Department to recover overpayments more quickly from those who h...More Button

I will be tabling three amendments to the Bill on Committee Stage: to provide that Sunday be counted as a day of employment for jobseeker's payments, to provide for the postponement of the implem...More Button

The change in the provisions with regard to the one-parent family payment will defer the dates on which the age reductions from 12 to seven years for entitlement purposes are to apply from the be...More Button

The household budgeting facility, in which a person can opt to have a specified amount of his or her social welfare payment deducted by An Post and paid to certain utilities and to local authorit...More Button

Some of the savings achieved by these measures will be redirected to provide additional spending in the key areas of job supports and child care supports. An additional €14 million will be alloc...More Button

An additional €2 million will be allocated to expand the school meals programme, which aims to provide food to children. It is exemplified by the hot breakfast clubs with which many Members are ...More Button

I am using €11 million of the savings from the jobseekers' measure to make a major expansion to our employment and internship programmes. An additional 2,500 places for JobBridge internships wil...More Button

Overall, expenditure on working age employment supports has been increased by €95 million to €1.05 billion in 2013. The Department is becoming active in helping people to get back to work and co...More Button

I will now outline the main provisions of the Bill, which is in three parts and 14 sections. Part 1 contains preliminary and general provisions. Part 2 contains amendments to the Social Welfare...More Button

Section 5 reduces the amount of the annual respite care grant by €325 from €1,700 to €1,375. The new rate will apply to all claimants who qualify for the annual respite care grant, which is paid...More Button

Section 8 reduces the monthly rate of child benefit by €10 per child in respect of the first, second and third child. From January 2013, the monthly rate for each of the first three children wil...More Button

Section 13 sets out the recovery of over-payments. It provides for a deduction of up to 15% of a liable person's relevant personal weekly rate of social welfare payment. A person will not be en...More Button

These are the main provisions. Since I became the Minister for Social Protection I have been mindful of how crucial our social welfare expenditure has been in protecting the most vulnerable and ...More Button

I am mindful of the impact on family living standards from high unemployment, falling incomes and over-indebtedness. I am focusing on people returning to work by providing an extra 10,000 child ...More Button

Farm Assist Scheme Applications

Was asked: if she will expedite an application for farm assist in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 1st November 2012, who will make a summary decision on ...More Button

National Internship Scheme Numbers

Was asked: the progress that has been made to put in place a national graduate and apprentice internship scheme as outlined in the Programme for Government 2011; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I understand that the Deputy’s question relates to JobBridge the National Internship Scheme and I will respond to it on that basis. The National Internship Scheme was launched on 1st&nbs...More Button

Was asked: if she will explain the way an organisation (details supplied) was able to employ a number of jobbridge workers while at the same time moving to dismiss nine full time workers; and the action she w...More Button

The National Internship Scheme was launched on 1st July 2011. It provides internship opportunities of either 6 or 9 months for unemployed individuals on the Live Register, in organi...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: the progress that has been made in relation to the setting up of a community involvement scheme that will allow for people in receipt of job seeker's allowance to participate in community work such...More Button

In general, work such as maintaining roadside vergers and general maintenance of community resorts is a function for local authorities and not for community organisations. Elements of work to enha...More Button

Was asked: if the amount due on the mortgage every month can be used to offset rental income for the purposes of claiming means tested social welfare payments, in particular jobseeker's allowance.More Button

Social welfare legislation provides that the yearly value of “property owned but not personally used or enjoyed” is assessable for means testing purposes. Property for this purpose includes: i. Mon...More Button

However, it does not include property such as the home or, for example, a premises used by the claimant in carrying out a business. More Button

For assessment purposes, the current market value of the property is established as well as the amount of any outstanding mortgages on that property. The balance (market value less outstanding mo...More Button

In establishing the current market value of a property, the Department may make enquiry of the State Valuation Office. Alternatively, the market value may be established through receipt of a reas...More Button

The current market value of a property is the best estimate of what would be achievable if the property was offered for sale. Such an estimate will have regard to reductions in prices over recent...More Button

Was asked: if she will review the jobseeker's allowance payment in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare, who is now working maximum one day per week; the amount the applicant is receiving...More Button

A review of the jobseeker’s allowance claim of the person concerned will be undertaken and the person concerned will be informed of the outcome once the review is completed.More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Was asked: if a domiciliary care allowance will be granted in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry. More Button

An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from the person concerned on the 24th October 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who ...More Button

In the case of an application which is refused on medical grounds, the applicant may submit additional information and/or ask for the case to be reviewed by another medical assessor. Alternativel...More Button

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Was asked: the position regarding an invalidity pension appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 18th September 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the a...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding 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.More Button

Invalidity pension is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the contribution conditions. More Button

This department received a claim for invalidity pension for the person concerned on 24 May 2011. The medical evidence provided by the claimant in support of her claim was examined by a medical a...More Button

The person concerned appealed the decision. Following further review her invalidity claim has been awarded from 26 May 2011. Arrangements have been made to have her first payment sent to her nom...More Button

Was asked: if and when an appeal in respect of an application for invalidity pension will be determined in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the ma...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 17th September 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the a...More Button

  Question No. 249 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an invalidity pension appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application for invalidity pension, by the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer of the Department on 9th June 2012. I am informed by the Social Wel...More Button

Social Welfare Code Issues

Was asked: if she will provide details of assistance that is available to self employed and returning emigrants, if they find themselves unable to find alternative employment or if their businesses are not su...More Button

Self-employed workers are liable for PRSI at the Class S rate of 4% - the same personal rate as is paid by ordinary employees. However, employers also make a PRSI contribution of 10.75% in respect...More Button

In terms of current supports available to self-employed persons, in certain cases, a self-employed person who had insurable employment in the relevant year and had paid sufficient Class A contrib...More Button

A self-employed person who has paid insufficient Class A contributions may instead qualify for jobseeker’s allowance. Jobseeker’s allowance is a means-tested payment and in assessing a person’s ...More Button

It should also be noted that EU/EEA regulations provide that periods of social insurance in one Member State may be credited to a worker's social insurance record in another Member State to facil...More Button

Was asked: where a young person aged 23/24 loses a job, then are entitled to jobseekers benefit for a certain number of months; if she will confirm the criteria on which they are assessed in relation to the i...More Button

Jobseeker’s benefit is paid at the full standard rate to qualified claimants regardless of age and without a means test, subject to the normal rules of the Jobseeker’s Benefit scheme. If a claimant...More Button

Current legislation provides that where a person aged 25 years or under claims Jobseeker’s Allowance and is living with a parent or step-parent in the family home, an assessment is made of the ye...More Button

There are two exceptions to this rule. No assessment is made where a son or daughter and his or her spouse / civil partner / partner is living with his / her parents or where a person returns t...More Button

All income must be declared. However, deductions are allowed for income tax, universal social charge, PRSI, superannuation/ PRSA contributions, private health insurance contribution, pension levy...More Button

Once the person concerned reaches 25 years of age, the value of any benefit and privilege will no longer be regarded as means.More Button

Family Income Supplement Applications

Was asked: the position regarding an application for family income supplement in respect of a person (details suppplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned applied to have his FIS payment renewed from 30th August 2012. His average earnings were calculated having regard to his earnings in the year ended 31 December...More Button

Was asked: when a review of family income supplement will be completed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; if she will expedite the review; and if she will make a statement on the matt...More Button

The Family Income Supplement (FIS) is designed to provide support for people with families who are on low earnings.

  The person concerned applied to have their FIS renewed fro...More Button

Disability Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the progress made to date in respect of determination of an appeal in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare and their application for disability allowance; and if she will make ...More Button

As part of the appeals process, the department referred all the medical evidence received to a second medical assessor for review. The medical assessor was of the opinion, based on all the informa...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: when a decision will issue in respect of an appeal for jobseeker's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 6; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer having fully considered all the available evidence disallowed the appeal of the person concerned by way of summary decision...More Button

Social Welfare Code Review

Was asked: her plans to change the three day rule in relation to jobseeker's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The jobseeker's benefit and jobseeker’s allowance schemes provide income support for people who have lost work and are unable to find alternative employment. It is a fundamental qualifying conditi...More Button

Social Welfare Payments Waiting Times

Was asked: the average waiting time for processing of applications for family income supplement at Longford social welfare; the number of persons waiting more than six months; and if she will make a statement...More Button

The Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as pos...More Button

FIS claims, both new and renewal, received on or after the 5th November 2012 are currently being processed on receipt. There are currently 293 new applications and 94 renewal applications waitin...More Button

An in-depth business process improvement (BPI) project has recently been completed for the FIS scheme. This project focused on optimising output, improving customer service and the elimination o...More Button

The outcome of this review is a detailed plan outlining the process required to manage both the continuous weekly intake and backlog claims clearance. This plan sees the current weekly new claim...More Button

This team including additional temporary resources has been identified and is already assigned and working on the backlog claims. In order to reduce the time it will take to eliminate the backlo...More Button

It is expected that the backlog will be fully eliminated by the end of March 2013. Claims which are approved by the backlog team will be backdated to the date of claim or the date of expiry of t...More Button

One-Parent Family Payment Appeals

Was asked: if and when an appeal for one parent family allowance will be determined in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 28th November 2012, who will make a summary decision on...More Button

Carer's Allowance Applications

Was asked: if and when an application for carer's allowance will be determined in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 11th of October 2012. On completion of all the necessary investigation...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will issue in relation to 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.More Button

I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 22nd of June 2012. The application is with a deciding officer for a de...More Button

Was asked: when a carer's allowance application made in October 2011 in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath will be processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on 30th November 2011. The medical assessment has been completed. The appli...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the reason for the delay in issuing a decision on a domiciliary care allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 4th December 2012, who will make a summary decision on ...More Button

Illness Benefit Appeals

Was asked: when a decision will be made on an illness benefit appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Payment of illness benefit, to the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer following an examination by a Medical Assessor of the Department who expressed the opinion that she was cap...More Button

Child Benefit Payments

Was asked: if she will outline in tabular form the number of recipients of child benefit who are in receipt of payments for third and subsequent child broken down by country and number of children.More Button

Child Benefit is paid to around 608,000 families in respect of some 1.16 million children. It is a universal payment that assists parents with the cost of raising children and contributes towards a...More Button

Public Services Provision

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 237 of 4 December 2012, if she will provide a list of all new services across her Department that have been tested for external service delivery since March 20...More Button

For many years the Department has contracted extensively with the private sector for the delivery of a variety of services where this provides better value for State money than the internal provisi...More Button

The Department is currently examining the feasibility of contracting private providers of employment services on a payment by results basis in order to meet the increasing demand for such service...More Button

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Was asked: the entitlement to contributory pension in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Section 110 (1) (b) of The Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 provides that a self-employed contributor shall not be regarded as satisfying the qualifying conditions for State pension (contrib...More Button

The person concerned applied for State pension (contributory) on 22 March 2012. His application was disallowed because according to the records of the Department, he has outstanding PRSI liabilit...More Button

  Question No. 259 withdrawn.More Button

Respite Care Grant Data

Was asked: if she will provide in tabular breakdown by county the total number of persons in receipt of respite care grant, regardless of other payments in 2010, 2011 and 2012. More Button

The respite care grant (RCG) is an annual payment made automatically to people in receipt of carer’s allowance, carer’s benefit, or domiciliary care allowance from my Department. Other people who ...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Was asked: the correct level of rent allowance payable in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; if any arrears are due in this instance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned had been asked to provide information in relation to a change of circumstances that had not previously been communicated to the Department. The Department has since carried ou...More Button

Was asked: the correct level of rent support payable in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Payment of rent allowance to the person concerned is under review. In order to establish the correct level of rent allowance payable, she was issued with an explanatory letter and the relevant for...More Button

Was asked: if a decision to refuse a rent supplement payment to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that due to an error in the calculation of an income disregard, the rent supplement of the person concerned was reduced for the period 1stMore Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Administration

Was asked: the number of staff working at the Dublin central rent supplement applications processing unit; the number of applications received by the unit since it opened and the processing time of applicatio...More Button

Currently 10 staff are assigned to the rent supplement processing hub in Dublin Central division. This staffing figure is based on incremental assignments to the area being realisable on foot of b...More Button

Back to Education Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: the specific criteria with regard to the progression rule in respect of assessing an application for back to education allowance; her views on the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; i...More Button

A person wishing to pursue BTEA will have to satisfy a number of conditions such as being a certain age, in receipt of a prescribed social welfare payment for a specified time period, pursuing a fu...More Button

Progression has always been a fundamental condition of BTEA. State support for education purposes is grounded on a student progressing from one qualification level to a higher one. This is neces...More Button

However, if the person wishes to pursue a part-time education course they may be able to do so while still obtaining their jobseeker's payment. They must apply at their local social welfare offi...More Button

Work Placement Programme

Was asked: if there are any conditions under which a person availing of a Tús scheme may extend their term on the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Tús, the community work placement initiative introduced during 2011, was initially set up to provide up to 5,000 short-term, quality work opportunities for those who are unemployed for more than a ...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Was asked: when an appeal for mortgage interest relief will be decided in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 3; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all the evidence has allowed the appeal of the person concerned. The person concerned has been no...More Button

Redundancy Rebates

Was asked: if, in view of the recent budget announcement to abolish the redundancy rebate for employers, she will now consider an exemption for this rebate for small businesses who are already struggling with...More Button

The purpose of the redundancy payments scheme is to compensate workers, under the Redundancy Payments Acts, for the loss of their jobs by reason of redundancy. Compensation is based on the worker’...More Button

It is the responsibility of the employer to pay statutory redundancy to all their eligible employees. An employer who pays statutory redundancy payments to their employees is currently entitled ...More Button

Significant and increasing amounts have been paid out in redundancy rebates to employers from the SIF in recent years. While the SIF is constituted primarily from employer contributions, the tax...More Button

As a result of the changes announced in Budget 2013 no rebate will be payable to employers in cases where the date of dismissal by reason of redundancy occurs on or after 1 January 2013. The 15%...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Applications

Was asked: when the file on jobseeker's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be moved from the Inspector to the Deciding Officer; if a decision will be expedited taking i...More Button

The jobseeker’s allowance claim of the person concerned has been awarded and is in payment.More Button