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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 113-120
 Header Item Disability Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Statutory Instruments
 Header Item Free Travel Scheme Review
 Header Item Unemployment Statistics
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Payments
 Header Item Child Benefit Appeals
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 816 No. 3

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Written Answers Nos. 113-120

Disability Allowance Appeals

 113. 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 the position regarding a disability appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42870/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision.   

  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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Statutory Instruments

 114. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will confirm that Statutory Instrument 616/2011 is applicable to claimants in receipt of a benefit at the time the regulation was signed as well as future claimants; when and in what manner pre-existing claimants were informed of changes in the rules; and how new claimants are informed of these rules. [42871/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Statutory Instrument No. 616 of 2011 applies only to transfers of assets (income or property) occurring on or after the commencement date of the Regulation, 29 November 2011.

  Where it is noted that such a transfer of assets has been undertaken, on or after that date, by a person in respect of whom a means-tested increase for qualified adult is being claimed by a contributory pension recipient, a deciding officer will carefully consider the facts and circumstances of the case. This will determine if the transfer constitutes a deprivation within the meaning of the Regulation, in order to qualify for, or to enhance the weekly rate of increase for qualified adult payable.

  The Department ensures that all information in relation to its schemes are available on the website www.welfare.ie. This includes reference to the underlying principle of deprivation of assets in the context of means testing for schemes operated by the Department. The website has recently been updated to ensure that the information in relation to contributory pensions reflects the legislative provisions.

Free Travel Scheme Review

 115. 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 an interdepartmental working group was established to carry out a review of the operation of the current free travel scheme; if the group has completed its work; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [42919/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton There are currently in excess of 770,000 people in receipt of free travel from my Department. This increases to in excess of one million if companies are included. Expenditure on this scheme was frozen at €77 million, the provision in 2010, by the previous Government.

Given the increasing number of recipients and the funding pressures, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and I established a working group with representatives from the two Departments, as well as the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the National Transport Authority to review the free travel scheme. The purpose of this review is to examine and report on the current operation and future development of the free travel scheme including how the scheme is funded. The work of this group is expected to conclude this year.

Unemployment Statistics

 116. Deputy Pearse Doherty Information on Pearse Doherty Zoom on Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of persons unemployed or signing on the live register with computer science qualifications at a diploma, graduate and postgraduate level; the total number of graduates unemployed; and the unemployment rates for graduates and the unemployment rate of computer science graduates.  [42935/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The number of persons unemployed or signing on the live register with computer science qualifications at a diploma, graduate and post graduate level, the total number of graduates unemployed, and the unemployment rates for graduates and the unemployment rate of computer science graduates are not available from my Department. The occupation details previously held by each live register customer are collected and are the closest available proxy for educational attainment.

  As of the end of September 2013 there were 408,670 people on the live register. I have set out below a breakdown by occupation grouping of this number for the Deputy's information. There are 3,092 registrants in the ‘Information Technology’ occupation group in these statistics.

Occupation Grouping Total PercentageOccupation
Construction, Woodwork and Metal and Related Industries 96,417 23.59%
General Operatives 56,477 13.82%
Retail, Sales 49,921 12.22%
Other 41,257 10.10%
Office Admin, Clerical and Secretarial 37,700 9.23%
Domestic and Catering 33,954 8.31%
Health and Related Industries 17,885 4.38%
Management 16,715 4.09%
Education 13,756 3.37%
Vehicle Trade 10,540 2.58%
Security, Military 7,382 1.81%
Agriculture, Fishing and Related Industries 6,146 1.50%
Beauty 5,911 1.45%
Business and Financial 5,891 1.44%
Information Technology 3,092 0.76%
Printing, Press, Communications 2,585 0.63%
Travel, Tourism 1,672 0.41%
Legal Profession 960 0.23%
Textiles 409 0.10%
Total 408,670 100.00%

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

 117. 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 an increase in rent support can be arranged in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42955/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I am advised by my Department that rent limits for the Celbridge area were increased on 17th June 2013. The customer was subject to review as their rent was in excess of the higher rate applicable based on their personal circumstances. The Department advised the customer to bring their rent within the set limits or source alternative accommodation on two occasions, most recently on 9th August 2013. An increase in rate is only considered in cases where exceptional circumstances apply and no such circumstances apply in this case.

Child Benefit Appeals

 118. 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 she will review the refusal and refusal on appeal in respect of child benefit application in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare.  [42956/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned resided in Direct Provision accommodation up to June 2008, pending a decision from the Department of Justice regarding her permission to remain in Ireland.

  Her claim to child benefit has been disallowed for the period prior to June 2008 as she did not satisfy the Habitual Residence Condition. This decision was appealed on two occasions, in March 2008 and again in January 2012. Both appeals were disallowed.

  The file has again been reviewed. However, as there are no new facts or information in this case, there is nothing to warrant revising the earlier decision.

Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility

 119. 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 the action taken to alleviate the hardship caused to a family arising from the cessation of rent allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42957/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The customer concerned was informed by the Department on 13th September 2013 that her application would be processed immediately on foot of receipt of outstanding documentation. This information has not yet been provided to the Department.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

 120. Deputy Willie Penrose Information on Willie Penrose Zoom on Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when an application for domiciliary care allowance will be dealt with in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42966/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton An application for domiciliary care allowance was received from the person concerned on 28th June 2013. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who provided an opinion that the child was medically eligible for the allowance. Following a decision on her claim, she was notified on 27th August 2013 that the claim was awarded. The first payment and arrears issued to her nominated Post Office on the 17th September 2013.


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