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

Written Answers - Social Welfare Benefits

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 500 Next Page Last Page

 286.  Deputy John O’Mahony Information on John O'Mahony Zoom on John O'Mahony  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  the reason a person (details supplied) in County Cork was turned down for domiciliary care allowance; the reason the person was not seen by her Department's medical advisor, and will she review the attached files and supporting evidence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16091/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received on 11th November 2011. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who found that the child was not medically eligible for DCA. A letter issued on 7th February 2012 refusing the allowance. The person concerned subsequently requested a review of this decision and supplied additional medical information in support of their application. The case was reviewed by a medical assessor on 26th March 2012 and they are now satisfied that the child qualifies for the payment. A revised decision will issue to the person concerned shortly and they will be notified of when the first payment will be available.

 287.  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 indicate the precise grounds for determination of entitlement to rent support, where the applicants have been assessed and accepted on the established Local Authority Housing List with dependent children, whether such decisions are based on a specific section of a relevant social welfare Act in a particular year and subject to guidelines and statutory limits, or whether the decision is entirely at the discretion of the deciding officer who may disregard such evidence and if doing so she will indicate the legal basis under social welfare law for such decisions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16097/12]

 288.  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  further Parliamentary Question No. 95 of 14 March 2011, wherein it would seem that there are no guidelines to indicate the exact amount of time a parent must have access to their child in order to qualify for rent support and that every claim for rent support is determined having regard to all the circumstances of the case, if the lack of such guidelines bestows on the deciding officer the absolute discretion to determine entitlement to rent support, if this procedure is compliant with social welfare law; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16098/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 287 and 288 together.

[820]The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer.

There are numerous qualifying conditions for the rent supplement scheme all of which are based on legislation. For example, any person seeking a rent supplement must satisfy the Department that they have a housing need that they are unable to meet from their own resources. In addition, the Department must be satisfied that the residence is reasonably suited to the residential and other needs of the claimant. The Department must also be satisfied that the rent payable is reasonable having regard to the nature, character and location of the residence.

There is no absolute discretion to determine entitlement to support under the rent supplement scheme. Entitlement to rent supplement is determined under Chapter 11 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005, as amended and under S.I. No. 412 of 2007, Social Welfare (Consolidated Supplementary Welfare Allowance) Regulations 2007, as amended. These legislative provisions are supported by staff guidelines issued by the Department.

As previously advised, in a case where parents have joint custody of a child, the needs of both parents to have adequate accommodation to look after the child are taken into account when an application for a rent supplement is being determined. There is no exact amount of time a parent must have access to their child and every claim for rent supplement is determined having regard to all of the circumstances of the case.


Last Updated: 04/04/2015 11:07:51 First Page Previous Page Page of 500 Next Page Last Page