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Doherty, Regina

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


National Minimum Wage

Was asked: her plans to put a trainee wage rate in place (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Legislation governing the national minimum wage is set down in the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 and the National Minimum Wage (Low Pay Commission) Act 2015. These Acts provide for the setting of...More Button

EU Directives

Was asked: her views on the need for mediation between the Department of Finance and her Department over differences in the proposed transposition of the IORP II directive regarding a derogation for small sin...More Button

I want to assure the Deputy that the IORP II Directive will be transposed into Irish law in accordance with the Government Decision of 9 January 2019. Government approved the approach of applying ...More Button

The over-arching objective of IORP II Directive is to facilitate the development of occupational retirement savings in the EU. The transposition of the Directive will result in significant impro...More Button

It had been suggested that single person pension schemes should be exempt from the application of IORP II rules on the basis that the scheme members are competent in the management of their own a...More Button

Pension policy comes within my remit and in carrying out this role I consult with the Minister for Finance on various matters. Given that the State incentivises and supports pension savings thro...More Button

The application of the Directive is prospective, not retrospective. This means that existing investments and borrowings can remain in place. After transposition all single member schemes, inclu...More Button

Transposition of the Directive is also a key part of the Government’s Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023. The Roadmap was launched by the Government in February 2018 and details specific meas...More Button

Officials in my Department, supported by the Pensions Authority, are managing the transposition process for this Directive. This is a substantial Directive and preparation of regulations to tran...More Button

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

Was asked: the way in which the EU working time directive is interpreted here; the statutory basis of the directive here; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the way in which the EU working time directive (details supplied) is interpreted here; the statutory basis of the directive here; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 628 and 630 together.

  The EU Working Time Directive 2003/88 of the European Parliament and Council concerning certain aspects of the organisati...More Button

Social Insurance

Was asked: the estimated cost of increasing the level at which the higher rate of employer PRSI commences at to €452.20 a week; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The National Training Fund Levy (NTFL), collected alongside Employer PRSI for Classes A and H, increased by 0.1% from 0.8% to 0.9% from 1 January 2019. This means that Employer rates (combined PRS...More Button

Question No. 630 answered with Question No. 628.More Button

Was asked: the amount that would be generated if the 2.6% PRSI rate of classes B, C or D increased to 3% or a minimum of €300.More Button

Low rate voluntary contributors (those formerly insured at Classes B, C and D) currently pay a 2.6% PRSI contribution rate (subject to a minimum annual payment of €250) to maintain their entitlemen...More Button

Departmental Records

Was asked: if all issues related to identity have been resolved in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department has advised that it has been difficult to locate the individual's records on the basis of the information provided. If the Deputy can provide more details in relation to this person ...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Data

Was asked: the waiting times for appeal for all social welfare payments in tabular form.More Button

The average appeal processing times for 2018 and to date in 2019 are outlined in the following tables.

   All claim decisions taken by the Department’s Deciding Officers and...More Button

Local Employment Service

Was asked: the work undertaken on the future of the local employment service; and the initial work being carried out in respect of the service in its current form.More Button

My Department oversees the procurement process for the Local Employment Services (LES).More Button

In looking to the future of the contracted public employment service, my Department commissioned Indecon to conduct a review of the Local Employment Services and Job Clubs. LES and Job Club prov...More Button

The process of procuring contracted public employment services for 2020 and beyond is still in its early stages and my officials are working to design a procurement model that will balance the ne...More Button

Community Services Programme

Was asked: her plans to make changes to or end a community employment scheme (details supplied) in view of plans for development at the scheme location; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The scheme that the Deputy is referring to is a Community Services Programme. This is therefore not a matter for this Department and is proper to the Department of Rural and Community Development....More Button

Brexit Issues

Was asked: if all those in receipt of the winter fuel payment from the UK will continue to receive the payment in circumstances in which they are not in receipt of the fuel allowance post Brexit as per the co...More Button

The Fuel Allowance Scheme represents a contribution towards a person's normal heating expenses. It is means tested and is paid only to customers who are getting a qualifying payment, either a Stat...More Button

School Meals Programme

Was asked: the number of schools in receipt of the school meals programme; the number that do not have DEIS status; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the cost of extending the school meals programme to cover the cost of kitchen equipment, facilities or staff costs for those current recipients; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the cost of developing a pilot for the school meals programme to youth services, early years settings and after-school programmes to address the issue of food poverty for children and young persons...More Button

Was asked: the consideration that has been given to extending the school meals programme to youth services, early years settings and after-school programmes; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the cost of extending the school meals programme to cover schools that do not have DEIS status but that would otherwise have disadvantaged status under the Pobal HP deprivation index; and if she wi...More Button

Was asked: the qualifying criteria for the school meals programme; if these have been reviewed or will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 636 to 641, inclusive, together.

  The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisati...More Button

Blind Person's Pension Eligibility

Was asked: the reason the blind pension is not paid after a recipient reaches 66 years of age even though the recipient can receive it up to that date in addition to another social welfare payment; her plans ...More Button

Blind Pension (BP) is a means-tested payment for blind and visually impaired people between the ages of 18 and 66 who are habitually resident in Ireland. According to section 161A(a) of the Social...More Button

The payment is administered by my Department, which contacts all BP recipients three months in advance of their 66th birthday in order to inform them that their BP payment will cease and invite t...More Button

BP claimants would be expected to be financially better off on SPC or SPNC when 66 years or over as the weekly rate of pension is higher than for BP. As SPC is not a means-tested payment, a pers...More Button

On SPNC the first €30 of calculated means is disregarded whereas the first €7.60 is disregarded on BP. More Button

Persons in receipt of the SPC or SPNC may also qualify for half rate Carer's Allowance.More Button

Therefore in no case would it be expected that a claimant over 66 years of age would be financially better off on BP than on SPNC or on SPC. Any changes to the eligibility criteria for BP would ...More Button

Jobseeker's Payments

Was asked: her plans to extend the length of time jobseeker's payments will be paid to two years for those obliged to retire by contract at 65 years of age early in 2020 and who will not qualify for a pension...More Button

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 provided that State pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years from its current age of 66. The first increase to 67 years of age will be in 2021 a...More Button

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. While such a contract may ha...More Button

Jobseeker’s payments are paid to eligible jobseekers aged 18 to 66 years. Any person who retires before reaching State pension age may apply for either jobseeker’s benefit (JB), a social insuran...More Button

JB is normally paid for 9 months (234 days) for people with 260 or more PRSI contributions paid and for 6 months (156 days) for people with fewer than 260 PRSI contributions paid. Arrangements a...More Button

The jobseekers schemes are kept under review and any further changes, including entitlement beyond the 66th year, will be considered by Government having regard to the scope of the overall resour...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance

Was asked: if the claim of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

As part of a Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) Self-Employed review project, the Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) requested the person concerned's income and expenditure details for the previous two years a...More Button

The person concerned met with a Community Welfare Officer (CWO) on 1 February 2019 but no application for assistance under Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) has been recorded. He can submit an...More Button

I trust this clarifies matters for the deputy.More Button

Departmental Staff

Was asked: her plans for the appointment of a new community welfare officer for Ardee, County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department of Employment Affairs seeks to provide comprehensive income and employment support services to residents in County Louth, though our Intreo Centres in Dundalk and Drogheda, and the B...More Button

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

Departmental Offices

Was asked: the steps that have been taken to source alternative accommodation for the community welfare service in Dunleer, County Louth, which was closed due to health and safety concerns in March 2018; and ...More Button

The Department operated an outreach Community Welfare Services (CWS) clinic from HSE premises in Dunleer County Louth each Wednesday from 10am to 12 noon. An average of 7 customers attended, but m...More Button

Other claims for Dunleer, such as Jobseeker and One Parent Family Payment, were dealt with by Drogheda Intreo Centre, with some outlying areas dealt with by Ardee Branch Office. More Button

On 21 March 2018, the HSE building manager informed my Department that the condition of the building had rapidly deteriorated and now posed a serious Health & Safety risk to customers and staff. ...More Button

In light of the Health and Safety risks, my Department had no option but to close the clinic in Dunleer with immediate effect. Customers were directed to the Drogheda Intreo Centre which is 15 k...More Button

The current service is operating well. Customers from Dunleer have access to a service in Drogheda throughout the week and are not confined to a half-day clinic once a week. Most enquires can be...More Button

Enquiries were made of my Department’s Facilities Management Unit and the OPW to ascertain whether it was possible to secure alternative accommodation. Potential locations were examined, but al...More Button

Under these circumstances, the use of alternative premises in Dunleer to provide a half-day clinic once a week would not improve service to customers. More Button

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

Social Welfare Offices

Was asked: the plans in train to provide new social welfare services for the mid County Louth area; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department of Employment Affairs seeks to provide comprehensive income and employment support services to residents in County Louth, though our Intreo Centres in Dundalk and Drogheda, and the B...More Button

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

Disability Allowance Applications Waiting Times

Was asked: the processing times for disability allowance applications; and the work being done to reduce this processing time.More Button

Community Employment Schemes Operation

Was asked: if a project (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Community Employment (CE) is an active labour market programme with the emphasis on progression into employment and/or further education and training. It is designed to break the cycle of unemploy...More Button

In cases where a sponsor organisation is not able to fill their agreed contract places, they may consider a merger with another scheme in order to ensure viability. My Department will facilitate...More Button

As the current contract is not being honoured and the project is no longer viable, my Department are not is a position to renew the contract at the end of March. I am very cognisant of the valua...More Button

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

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Was asked: if she will address concerns that those engaged with the services provided by Turas Nua and who are employed in part-time work are being pressured to leave their part-time employment and pursue uns...More Button

Was asked: the number of part-time or casual workers required to attend Turas Nua in each of the past three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the number of those who have transitioned to full-time work from part-time or casual work through engaging with the services provided by Turas Nua; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 650 to 652, inclusive, together.

  All jobseekers including those who are working part time and in receipt of Jobseeker payments from my Departme...More Button

Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: if carer's allowance or benefit will continue to issue to a person (details supplied); the other financial supports available to the person; if the history of the benefit paid will be provided; and...More Button

Carer's Allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment while Carer's benefit (CARB) is a social insurance payment made to full-time employees who leave the workforce.

 &nb...More Button

Illness Benefit Payments

Was asked: if she will arrange for details in the case of a person (details supplied) to be sent to the illness benefit section from a local branch of her Department; if her attention has been drawn to the fa...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Was asked: the status of community employment supervisors (details supplied); if further discussions have taken place with unions on this matter; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am acutely aware of the valuable and dedicated service that Community Employment, CE, sponsor organisations provide in running CE Schemes all over the country. CE supervisors, as employees of th...More Button

Social Welfare Rates

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost if the island allowance of €12.70 per week was increased to €15.50 per week; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The increase for living on a specified island (Island Increase) is an increase to certain weekly payments from this Department to people who are ordinarily resident on an island off the coast of Ir...More Button

The full year cost of raising the Island Increase by €2.80, from €12.70 per week to €15.50 per week, would be approximately €81,000. More Button

Public Services Card Authentication

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to a recent opinion of the European Data Protection Supervisor (details supplied) in the context of the ongoing controversy in relation to the roll-out of the public...More Button

Was asked: if she will address matters relating to the General Data Protection Regulation (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if she will address matters (details supplied) in relation to SAFE II; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 657, 658 and 663 together.More Button

Completion of registration to SAFE Level 2 - which is the process used by my Department to establish and verify a person’s identity to a substantial level of assurance - is the minimum requireme...More Button

The Department uses facial image matching software to strengthen the SAFE registration process. A standard photograph is captured during this process and is inputted into and stored in the facia...More Button

While the PSC does store a person’s photograph, it does not store the biometric or arithmetic template of that photograph. The collection and printing of a simple JPEG image on the PSC does not, ...More Button

To be clear, the photograph in addition to being printed on the PSC, is processed, in a separate process, via facial imaging software to create an arithmetic template which is used to detect pote...More Button

My Department’s position is, therefore, that the SAFE2/PSC photo is not itself biometric in nature – it is simply a photograph. My Department is also clear that it does not collect or share biom...More Button

Article 9(1) of the GDPR prohibits the processing of special categories of personal data, including biometric data. However, recital (51) of the GDPR provides that the ‘processing of photographs s...More Button

Article 9 (2) of the GDPR sets out exceptions to the prohibition on processing in Article 9(1). These exceptions are further transposed into Irish law by way of the Data Protection Act 2018 and ...More Button

Where the Department makes considerable efforts to authenticate identity, in part through facial matching, this should be regarded as a positive measure which protects an individual’s identity. More Button

It is the Department’s firm view that these measures are necessary, prudential and of benefit to individuals by protecting against identity fraud and theft and that this processing is proportiona...More Button

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Opinion 7/2018 - referred to by the Deputy - relates to the Proposal for a Regulation strengthening the security of identity cards of Union citizens...More Button

In summary, this opinion paper supports the objective of the European Commission to enhance the security standards applicable to identity cards and residence documents. At the same time, the EDPS...More Button

The opinion paper refers on numerous occasions to dactyloscopic/dactyloscopy which is identification by comparison of fingerprints. The Deputy should note that my Department does not collect or ...More Button

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

Invalidity Pension Applications

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

Was asked: the reason it has taken over three months to review an invalidity pension application by a person (details supplied); when a decision will be made on the review; and if she will make a statement on...More Button

Disability Allowance Applications

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

Carer's Support Grant

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost if the carer's support grant was increased from €1,700 to €2,000.More Button

The Carer’s Support Grant is an annual payment made by my Department to carers. It is paid automatically to carers who are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, Carer’s Benefit or Domiciliary Care Allo...More Button

Public Services Card Provision

Was asked: the way in which a person (details supplied) in County Cork can obtain a public services card while the person's original passport is being held by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service;...More Button

The Public Services Card (PSC) enables individuals to gain access to public services more efficiently and with a minimum of duplication of effort, while at the same time preserving their privacy to...More Button

Departmental Programmes

Was asked: the stage at which the national action plan for social inclusion 2019 to 2025 is at; the reason it is not yet published; the date it will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My department is currently finalising the new Social Inclusion Strategy for the period 2019 – 2025. It will have a ‘whole of government’ approach which recognises the shared responsibility across ...More Button

The most up to date poverty data from the 2017 Survey on Income and Living Conditions was released by CSO in mid-December 2018. This data was examined and is being incorporated into the draft do...More Button

My department is currently in discussions with other Government departments to agree the final text of the new strategy. It is my intention that it will be published at the earliest opportunity,...More Button

One-Parent Family Payment Eligibility

Was asked: her plans to increase the cut-off age of seven years for lone parents in receipt of the one-parent family payment in order to revert back to making it payable for a child up to 18 or up to 22 years...More Button

My Department spent over €500 million on the one-parent family payment (OFP) scheme in 2018. The scheme currently supports over 39,000 recipients and almost 73,000 children.More Button

The OFP scheme has played an important role in providing income support to lone parents since its introduction in 1997. More Button

Research shows that being at work reduces the at-risk-of-poverty rate for lone parents by three-quarters, compared to those who do not work. This highlights that the best way to tackle poverty a...More Button

The lack of conditionality on the OFP payment, which was unique in Europe, coupled with its very long duration, has, over time, contributed to long-term social welfare dependency and associated p...More Button

Budget 2019 contained a number of measures to support lone parents, including working lone parents. There was an increase in the weekly rates of payment for OFP. The income disregard for one-pare...More Button

Any change to the OFP as mentioned by the Deputy would have to be considered in the overall budgetary context. More Button

Jobseeker's Transitional Payment

Was asked: the estimated full-year cost of extending the cut-off age for the jobseeker's transition payment until the youngest child reaches 18 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The cost of increasing the age limit for a qualified child for the jobseeker's transitional payment (JST) to when the youngest child turns 18 years of age is not easily estimated. More Button

There are significant barriers to undertaking such an exercise. For example, customers may no longer be within the welfare system, while others could seek to move from alternative payments such ...More Button

As these unknown factors are critical to providing a reliable costing my Department is not in a position to provide the costing requested. More Button

Working Family Payment Eligibility

Was asked: if consideration has been given to reducing the number of hours necessary to qualify for the working family payment from 19 to 15 hours per week in order to support more workers engaged in low hour...More Button

The Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work support which provides an income top-up for employees on low earnings with children. WFP is designed to prevent in-work poverty for low paid workers w...More Button

To qualify for WFP, a person must be engaged in full-time insurable employment which is expected to last for at least 3 months and be working for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight or 19 hours ...More Button

The “hours worked” eligibility criterion has been reduced significantly since the introduction of the scheme in 1984, from 30 hours per week to 19 hours per week in 1996. Indeed, a recent review...More Button

For low income workers with less than the minimum hours of employment for WFP and working on a casual basis up to and including 3 days per week, jobseeker’s schemes provide in-work income suppor...More Button

Further reducing the “hours worked” requirement would have potentially significant expenditure implications which are difficult to quantify. The number of families working between 15-18 hours an...More Button

- reducing the incentive to increase part-time hours, resulting in recipients on the minimum 19 hours threshold reducing their hours of work; More Button

- attracting new recipients currently on higher wages above the WFP threshold, who might decide to reduce their hours in order to qualify.More Button

It is crucially important that WFP does not inadvertently subsidise unsustainably low earnings or encourage employers to offer minimal hours of employment. The longer term goal of WFP, as an inc...More Button

Any plans to reduce the WFP hours-worked threshold below 19 hours would have to be considered in the overall budgetary context.More Button

One-Parent Family Payment

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to a report by an organisation (details supplied) into the employment and living conditions of one-parent families here; if so, her views on same; and if she will ma...More Button

I note the report referred to by the Deputy. More Button

The policy goal of the changes to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) scheme were to tackle long-term social welfare dependency - and its associated poverty risks - through a tapering of income s...More Button

Budget 2019 raised the weekly rates of payment for working age schemes and also increased the income disregard for one-parent family payment and jobseeker’s transition payment recipients to €150 ...More Button

With regard to increases introduced in Budget 2019 alone, for example, a lone parent working 15 hours per week at the National Minimum Wage is now better off by almost €1,000 per year.More Button

The Department’s social impact assessments of Budgets 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are an indicator of the improvements over that time for lone parents. These show a cumulative increase of €43...More Button

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is in the final stages of drafting the new Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategy which will assemble in one place the range of policy me...More Button

Was asked: her plans to introduce a comprehensive strategy of the long-term vision for lone parent families; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

While social transfers play a crucial role in alleviating poverty, and Ireland is among the best performing EU States for reducing poverty through social transfers, tackling poverty in one parent f...More Button

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is in the final stages of drafting the new Poverty and Social Inclusion Strategy which will support and build on the Whole of Government...More Button

It will include a programme of work to identify the actions and services that have the most significant impact on reducing poverty and deprivation for different groups, including lone parent fami...More Button

It is intended that it will include targeted actions to improve supports that allow lone parents to take up education, training and employment opportunities.More Button

Working Family Payment Data

Was asked: the number of persons in receipt of the working family payment, formerly the family income supplement, in each of the years 2008 to 2018, in tabular form.More Button

Working Family Payment (WFP) is a weekly in-work payment which provides additional financial support to employees on low earnings with children. WFP is designed to prevent in-work poverty for low p...More Button

Proposed Legislation

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the Social Welfare Commission Bill 2018; her views on the objective of the Bill; if consideration has been given to the provisions and measures contained therein;...More Button

I am aware of the Social Welfare Commission Bill 2018, sponsored by the Deputy, which seeks to, among other things, establish a Commission to monitor and make recommendations on social welfare rate...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the issue of benchmarking and indexation of social welfare rates is not new. For example, previous studies were conducted by the Commission on Social Welfare in 198...More Button

The Roadmap for Pension Reform, published last year, commits the Government to examine and develop proposals to set a formal benchmark target of 34% of average earnings for the State Pension (Con...More Button

I welcome the Deputy's engagement with the issue which we discussed during the passage of the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2018. In that context, Section 19 of the Act pr...More Button

As the Deputy is aware, any change to the current process of setting social welfare rates of payment would require Government approval and would have to be considered in the overall policy and bu...More Button

Illness Benefit Applications

Was asked: if all correspondence from her Department will be provided to a person (details supplied) who has had an ongoing case regarding an application for an illness benefit.More Button

Public Sector Staff Grades

Was asked: if a person who has worked in a section 39 funded position for the past 12 years but who was not directly paid by the HSE will qualify for an analogous grade if that person commences work within he...More Button

I understand that the question of the recruitment, grading and status of people appointed to the Civil Service is a matter for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Commission for...More Button

Small and Medium Enterprises Supports

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the impact the abolition of training rates is having upon small businesses that are under pressure due to significant rates of VAT, PRSI, rates and other costs in...More Button

Legislation governing the national minimum wage is set down in the National Minimum Wage Act 2000 and the National Minimum Wage (Low Pay Commission) Act 2015. These Acts provide for the setting of ...More Button

Citizens Information Board

Was asked: the estimated cost in a full year if the budget for Citizens Information Services increased by 8%.More Button

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is the statutory body responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice (including money and budgeting advice) and advocacy on a wide range of pub...More Button

CIB is allocated an annual budget from which it funds all of its services. In 2019, CIB’s overall budget allocation is €59.26 million. From this, CIB has allocated €16.9 million for citizens’ inf...More Button

If the allocation of €16.9m for the citizens’ information services were to increase by 8%, CIB would require an increased allocation from central Government funds of €1.35 million.More Button

Tús Programme

Was asked: her plans under development to extend the Tús scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

It is recognised by Government that Tús is a positive initiative that enables the long-term unemployed to make a contribution to their communities whilst up-skilling themselves for prospective futu...More Button

Tús provides work placements for a twelve month period for those who are on the Live Register for a year or more. This initiative helps break the cycle of long-term unemployment by providing a w...More Button

If a person is interested in pursuing a work placement with training and development opportunities, it is open to them to apply for a placement on a Community Employment (CE) scheme. More Button

The Department keeps all aspects of its activation programmes under review to ensure the best outcomes for participants and communities whilst also having regard to the, thankfully, much reduced ...More Button

Poverty Data

Was asked: her views on the recent report from an organisation (details supplied), which found that the rate of in-work poverty among lone parents more than doubled between 2012 and 2017; and if she will make...More Button

I note the report referred to by the Deputy.

  The policy goal of the changes to the OFP scheme were to tackle long-term social welfare dependency - and its associated poverty ...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Data

Was asked: the number of persons in receipt of rent supplement at a location (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Rent supplement continues to play a vital role in housing families and individuals, with the scheme supporting approximately 23,300 recipients for which the Government has provided €132.4 million f...More Button

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: when a decision will be made regarding an appeal for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied) that was appealed in August 2018.; 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 registered in that office on 10th August 2018. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against dec...More Button

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

Jobseeker's Benefit Eligibility

Was asked: when jobseeker's benefit will be extended to self-employed persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In Budget 2019, I announced a new scheme which will provide a PRSI insurance based benefit to self-employed people who pay class S contributions and lose employment. This measure builds on other r...More Button

Applicants will have to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the new scheme including satisfying a PRSI contribution requirement. The statutory conditions and requirements for the scheme are bei...More Button

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

Child Benefit Applications

Was asked: if a person who fails on an appeal in respect of a payment (details supplied) can further appeal or opt for a mediation process; if there is a sunset clause regarding when a person can make an appl...More Button

The person concerned submitted an application for child benefit to my Department in April 2018 in respect of her son who was born in April 2015. I understand from the Appeals Office that child ben...More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all the available evidence, decided that the person concerned had not shown good cause for not s...More Button

Under the legislation the decision of an Appeals Officer is final and conclusive and may only be reviewed under Section 317 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 by an Appeals Officer in t...More Button

The Chief Appeals Officer has power under Section 318 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 to revise any decision where it appears to her that the Appeals Officer’s decision was erroneous...More Button

If it is decided to take this course of action, it will be necessary that the person concerned sets down specifically the reasons which she believes renders the Appeals Officer’s decision incorre...More Button

The Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (Section 327) also provides that any person who is dissatisfied with either the decision of an Appeals Officer or of a revised decision made by the Chief...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against dec...More Button

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

Free Travel Scheme Applications

Was asked: if the case of a person (details supplied) in County Leitrim will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The current free travel scheme provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme. These include road, rail and ferry services provided by co...More Button

Persons resident in Ireland who are over 66 and persons in receipt of certain social welfare payments are eligible for the scheme. The social welfare payments that allow persons aged under 66 to...More Button

A person in receipt of an Invalidity Pension receives the pass on the basis of the primary benefit they are paid, and not on the basis of their underlying medical condition. If the free travel s...More Button

Any suggestion to change or review the eligibility criteria of the free travel scheme to include all people who had a disability and/or significant health issues, regardless of whether they recei...More Button

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

Domiciliary Care Allowance

Was asked: if discriminatory elements (details supplied) of the domiciliary care allowance scheme will be addressed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's Allowance Applications

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

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult ...More Button