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. 167-183
 Header Item Social Welfare Payments Waiting Times
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Application Numbers
 Header Item Unemployment Benefits Payments
 Header Item Unemployment Benefits Payments
 Header Item Back to Work Allowance
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications
 Header Item Back to Education Allowance Eligibility
 Header Item Disability Allowance Payments
 Header Item Water Conservation Grant Eligibility
 Header Item Family Income Supplement Eligibility
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 902 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 130 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 167-183

Social Welfare Payments Waiting Times

 167. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the extent to which the time taken to process applications for various social protection payments has improved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1532/16]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton A breakdown of the average time, where available, to award claims at the end of December in each of the years 2006 to 2014 and at the end of November 2015 is detailed in the tabular statement below.

  It should be noted that processing times vary by scheme reflecting the differing requirements to satisfy conditions such as income/means limits and medical eligibility. The processing times provided in the table for Disability Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Invalidity Pension from 2006 to 2013 incorporate the impact on overall processing times of the appeals process.

  Average Weeks to Award Received Claims 2006 to November 2015

Scheme2006200720082009201020112012201320142015
State Pension (Non-Contributory)(2)9898910121613N/a
State Pension (Contributory)N/aN/a1613756557
State Pension (Transition)N/aN/a6644568N/a
Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory Pension4542322222
Bereavement Grant - Sligo(1)331111128N/a
Bereavement Grant - Longford(1)5N/a2443221N/a
Jobseeker's Allowance4356655322
One-Parent Family Payment 910111316161513117
Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's Non-Contributory Pension6799111010711N/a
Supplementary Welfare AllowanceN/aN/aN/aN/a111111
Jobseeker's Benefit2223222211
Disability Allowance(2)14161515141719281213
Carer's Allowance(2)10121598N/aN/a301317
Domiciliary Care AllowanceN/aN/aN/aN/a79671012
Illness Benefit1111111111
Invalidity Pension(2)88101213N/a3551107
Child Benefit - Domestic & Formerly Resident AbroadN/aN/aN/aN/aN/a33322
Child Benefit - EU RegulationN/aN/aN/aN/aN/a5138282628
Family Income Supplement - New ClaimsN/aN/a138101716743
Family Income Supplement - Claim RenewalsN/aN/a5810181555N/a
Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner GrantN/aN/aN/aN/a211211
Household BenefitsN/aN/a23322222
Free TravelN/aN/a11442121


  (1  )Bereavement Grant Scheme discontinued in January 2014

  (2  ) Average times to award are published based on July/August to December in respect of these schemes

Carer's Allowance Application Numbers

 168. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of applicants in receipt of a carer's allowance payment; the extent to which this number has fluctuated over the past six years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1533/16]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The number of Carer's Allowance (CA) recipients is shown in the table below.

At end of YearRecipients% increase on previous year
201563,0036%
201459,3805%
201357,1369%
201252,2091%
201151,6662%
201050,5775%


  The number of persons in receipt of CA continues to increase and is reflected in the increased expenditure on the scheme; from €501 million in 2010 to an estimated €611 million in 2015.

Unemployment Benefits Payments

 169. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of persons in receipt of payments under the jobseeker's allowance scheme and under the jobseeker's benefit scheme; the extent to which these numbers have fluctuated in the past six years to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1534/16]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the tabular statement below.

Jobseeker’s AllowanceJobseeker’s BenefitTotals
-RecipientsYear on Year VarianceRecipientsYear on Year VarianceRecipientsYear on Year Variance
2010261850-123457-385307-
20112839298.4%96044-22%379973-1.4%
20122916402.7%78459-18%370099-2.6%
20132950771.2%55068-30%350145-5.4%
2014269951-8.5%46335-16%316286-9.7%
2015246537-8.7%37845-18%284382-10.1%
Overall Variance 2015 V 2010 -5.8% -69.3% -26.2%

Unemployment Benefits Payments

 170. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the extent to which the number of persons in receipt of a long-term unemployment payment have fluctuated in the past six years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1535/16]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Recipients of a long-term unemployment payment are people in receipt of a social welfare jobseeker’s payment continuously for a period exceeding one year. The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the tabular statement below.

  Long-term recipients at the end of each year 2010 to 2015

YearRecipientsYear on Year Variance
2010177,067-
2011205,92516.3%
2012214,4284.1%
2013205,248-4.3%
2014187,798-8.5%
2015150,582-19.8%
Overall Variance 2015 V 2010 -15.0%

  Question No. 171 answered with Question No. 130.

  Question No. 172 answered with Question No. 105.

Back to Work Allowance

 173. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the number of persons in receipt of the back to work allowance or similar return to employment incentives; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1538/16]

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys There are two schemes to assist people on certain social protection payments who wish to become self-employed; namely the Short Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) and the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA). The (STEA) provides immediate access to those who qualify for jobseekers benefit wishing to set up a business. Payment under the scheme is at the same rate and for the same duration as their entitlement to jobseekers benefit. The BTWEA is designed to provide a monetary incentive for people who are on social welfare payments to develop a business while allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of their qualifying social welfare payment over two years - 100% in year 1 and 75% in year 2. Business proposals must be recommended by a local development company or local enterprise office before an application is considered for payment of the allowance.

At the end of December 2015, there were 396 people availing of the STEA and 11,881 people availing of the BTWEA.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

 174. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the status of an application by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare for a review of a decision to refuse a domiciliary care allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1541/16]

Tánaiste and 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 the 30th June 2015. This application was not allowed as the child was not considered to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the allowance. A letter issued on 13 October 2015 outlining the decision of the deciding officer to refuse the allowance.

A review of this decision was requested on 26th November 2015 and additional information on this child’s condition/care needs has been supplied. The application together with the new information supplied has been forwarded to a medical assessor for their professional opinion. Once this opinion is received the application will be re-examined by a deciding officer and a revised decision will be made, if warranted. The person concerned will be notified of the outcome of this review as soon as it is completed. Such reviews can take up to 12 weeks to complete at present.

Back to Education Allowance Eligibility

 175. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the eligibility for the back to education allowance for a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1548/16]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned is completing a Masters of Law course at NUI and applied for a Back to Education Allowance. This application was refused on the basis that this course of study is not eligible for Back to Education Allowance under the current guidelines. The person concerned was advised that an application could be made to participate on this course under the Part Time Education Option and he was requested to supply a letter from the college confirming that he is participating on the course on a part-time basis. This documentation is still outstanding and the jobseeker’s allowance claim for the person concerned is currently suspended pending contact from the person concerned.

Disability Allowance Payments

 176. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1556/16]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I can confirm that the department received notification on 4 January 2016 from the social welfare appeals office (SWAO) that a disability allowance appeal for the person concerned was successful.

On 11 January 2016 the person concerned was requested to provide some additional information required in order to finalise their case. On receipt of this information the appeals officer’s decision will be implemented and the person concerned will be notified of the details.

Water Conservation Grant Eligibility

 177. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will qualify for the water conservation grant, with particular reference to the fact that the person is in receipt of a disability payment, and the amount to which the person is in arrears equals the amount of the grant amount available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1563/16]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The eligibility criteria for the Water Conservation Grant are set out in the Water Services Act 2014 (Water Conservation Grant) Regulations 2015. Under regulation 5(1) a person who registers with Irish Water, as required under section 5(2)(a) of the Water Services Act 2014, on or before 30 June 2015 shall be eligible to receive the grant in 2015 if they were normally resident at the principal private residence on that date.

To date Irish Water has transferred details of over 1.3 million registered households to this Department including the details of the person concerned. A letter issued to the person concerned at the address given inviting them to apply for the grant before the original deadline of 8th October 2015 and advising them that they could make this application either online or with the assistance of the Water Grant Support Team by telephone. Statutory Instrument 434 of 2015 provided for the extension of the deadline for the submission of a completed application to 22nd October 2015. However, there is no record of the person having applied for the grant prior to the final closing date.

Family Income Supplement Eligibility

 178. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the rationale for the restrictions applying to self-employed persons qualifying for family income supplement. [1566/16]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The family income supplement (FIS) is an in-work support which provides an income top-up for employees with children on low earnings. FIS is designed to prevent child and family poverty and to offer a financial incentive to take-up employment as compared to social welfare payments. There are currently some 55,000 families with some 120,000 children in receipt of FIS. Expenditure on FIS is estimated to be of the order of €349.2 million in 2015.

  To qualify for payment of FIS, a person must be engaged in insurable employment which is expected to last for at least three months and be working for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight or 19 hours per week. Therefore, self-employed people are not eligible for FIS.

  The rationale for not extending eligibility for FIS to include self-employed persons includes:

  - the practical difficulties in defining and controlling an alternative to the hours worked condition;

  - the difficulty in establishing satisfactorily a self-employed person’s hours of employment and certifying this on an ongoing basis;

  - existing arrangements to provide income support to self-employed people on low incomes, such as jobseeker’s allowance and farm assist for low-income farmers;

  - the cost of extending the scheme to the self-employed would be considerable.

  Any extension of FIS to other categories of persons such as self-employed persons would have to be considered in a budgetary context. There are no plans for such an extension in present circumstances.

  However, I would bring the Deputy’s attention to the Back to Work Family Dividend, which helps families to move from social welfare into employment, including self-employment, by retaining their qualified child increase for up to two years. As of December 2015 there were 10,554 families in receipt of the dividend, of whom 94 were in self-employment.

  Question No. 179 answered with Question No. 36.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 180. Deputy Michael Ring Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision on an application under the carer's allowance scheme; the reason for the delay in making a decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1568/16]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The application for carer’s allowance in respect of the person concerned was awarded on 20 October 2015 and the first payment issued to the person’s bank nominated bank account on 29 October 2015.

  Arrears of allowance due were also issued to the bank on 29 October 2015. The person concerned was notified of this on 22 October 2015.

  Questions Nos. 181 and 182 answered with Question No. 37.

  Question No. 183 answered with Question No. 105.


Last Updated: 03/10/2017 14:16:21 First Page Previous Page Page of 130 Next Page Last Page