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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 227-242
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Payments
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Eligibility
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Private Rented Accommodation Standards
 Header Item Back to Education Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Payments
 Header Item Disability Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Eligibility
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Appeals
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Appeals
 Header Item Disability Allowance Eligibility

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 775 No. 3

First Page Previous Page Page of 86 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 227-242

  Question No. 227 withdrawn.

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

 228. Deputy Eoghan Murphy Information on Eoghan Murphy Zoom on Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will investigate the following hardship case (details supplied) in Dublin 4. [40367/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Rent allowance to the person concerned was overpaid due to non-disclosure of information pertinent to the calculation of her entitlement. My Department has recently written to the person concerned and explained the reasoning behind the overpayment. The person concerned is currently is in receipt of her full entitlement to rent supplement based on her household circumstances. If these circumstances change in the future, her entitlement to rent supplement can be reviewed.

Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility

 229. Deputy Seán Kenny Information on Seán Kenny Zoom on Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton on what basis the rent allowance payable to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13 is being reviewed. [40380/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Rent Supplement which was being paid to the person concerned was subject to rent limit review. This review has now been completed and Rent Supplement has been reinstated.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 230. 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 when a decision will be made on a review for a carer's allowance for a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40405/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The carer’s allowance for the person in question was routinely reviewed in May 2012. Following assessment of the medical evidence provided by the person in support of their continuing eligibility, a deciding officer decided that the care recipient was not so disabled as to require full time care and attention as prescribed in regulations. The person concerned was notified of this decision and subsequently submitted additional medical evidence for consideration. On completion of this review a deciding officer will make a full decision and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome. If the care recipient is found to be medically eligible upon review, the carer’s allowance payment will be reinstated, the claim will be backdated to when the allowance was stopped, and all arrears will issue.

Invalidity Pension Eligibility

 231. 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 and when invalidity pension will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40454/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Invalidity pension is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the contribution conditions. One of the contribution conditions for invalidity pension is that the claimant must have 48 contributions paid or credited in the last complete contribution year before the date of claim. Class A, E or H contributions only are reckonable for invalidity pension purposes. An application for invalidity pension was received from the person concerned. According to the department’s records the person concerned has only 2 qualifying contributions paid in 2011, the governing contribution year in this case and consequently his claim was refused by a deciding officer. The applicant was notified on 21 September 2012 and advised of his right to review or appeal this decision.

  Question No. 232 answered with Question No. 186.

Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility

 233. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the reason rent supplement has ceased in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8; the reason the person they were not notified of the decision to withdraw their rent allowance. [40464/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton In the case of the person concerned, I am advised that the Department of Social Protection received a notification from the Environmental Health Officers of Dublin City Council stating that the property was not in compliance with Housing Regulations 2008 and that an improvement notice had been served on the landlord. In light of the circumstances, in this case, Rent Supplement was suspended whereupon the client concerned contacted the Department. The client was advised that he would be assisted in seeking alternative accommodation as Rent Supplement could not be paid at the address concerned until such times as an Improvement Notice was complied with. The person is now in alternative rented accommodation for which he received an Emergency Needs Payment to assist with the required deposit and an application for Rent Supplement at the new address is being processed.

Private Rented Accommodation Standards

 234. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the procedures regarding properties housing rent supplement recipients that fail environmental health inspections and the protections in place to ensure that recipients of rent supplement whose rental property has failed environmental health inspections or been given improvement notices do not end up homeless if the rent supplement is withdrawn. [40465/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term income support to assist with reasonable accommodation costs of eligible people living in private rented accommodation who are unable to provide for their accommodation costs from their own resources and who do not have accommodation available to them from another 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 currently approximately 90,000 persons in receipt of rent supplement, for which the Government has provided €436m in 2012.

Standards for rented houses are set in regulations by the Minister of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Responsibility for enforcing these standards rests with the relevant housing authority. In consultation with the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, S.I. No. 572 of 2006 and Section 25 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2007 introduced the condition that allows the Department’s officers to decide that a rent supplement may not be payable where it has been notified by a housing authority of the non-compliance with standards. Where such a notification is received from a housing authority in respect of an existing tenant, it is recommended that the officer would discuss the situation with the tenant and take whatever action they decide is necessary in the best interests of the tenant. Department officers dealing with rent supplement tenants will continue to ensure that their accommodation needs are met. This approach supports the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government in their aim to promote further improvement in private rented accommodation standards.

Back to Education Allowance Appeals

 235. Deputy Emmet Stagg Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will review a decision to refuse back to education allowance payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [40467/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The decision to refuse an application for the back to education allowance from the person concerned has been reviewed. The decision has been upheld on the grounds that he was not in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a specified period of time. For third level courses the specified period is 234 paid days.

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

 236. Deputy Billy Timmins Information on Billy Timmins Zoom on Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding rent allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40477/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The new maximum rent limits came into force on 1 January 2012. These new limits are in line with the most up to date market data available. The emphasis of the rent limit review was to ensure that maximum value for money for tenants and the taxpayer was achieved whilst at the same time ensuring that people on rent supplement are not priced out of the market for private rented accommodation. The person concerned can only be entitled to a rent supplement in respect of this accommodation when his portion of the rent is reduced to the appropriate limit.

Disability Allowance Appeals

 237. 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 and when an appeal for disability allowance will be determined in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40480/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned applied for disability allowance on 2 December 2011. The medical evidence supplied with her claim was referred to one of the department’s medical assessors who was of the opinion, based on the information supplied, that the person was not medically suitable for disability allowance. The deciding officer accepted this opinion and the claim was refused and the person was notified in writing of this decision on 2 May 2012.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 19 June 2012. The Department was notified of this appeal also on 19 June 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant departmental papers and comments by the deciding officer on the grounds of appeal be sought and I understand this has been done.

As part of the person’s appeals process, the department referred all the medical evidence received to a second medical assessor for review. When the deciding officer receives the opinion of the medical assessor a decision will be made and the appeal will be referred, if necessary, to an appeals officer who will decide whether the case should be decided on a summary basis or whether to list it for oral hearing.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 238. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if an application for carer's allowance will be reviewed again based on submission of medical evidence in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40502/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton This application was disallowed in May 2012 as the medical criteria were not satisfied. The person in question has requested a review of this decision and has submitted further medical evidence in support of the application. This medical evidence is awaiting assessment by a medical assessor. On completion of all the necessary investigations in relation to this review, a decision will be made and the person in question will be contacted directly with the outcome.

Invalidity Pension Eligibility

 239. Deputy Gerry Adams Information on Gerry Adams Zoom on Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the initial refusal rates for applications for invalidly pension in County Louth; or whatever geographical breakdown is available. [40515/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton For ease of reference the information requested is in tabular form:

INVALIDITY APPLICATIONS PROCESSED TO DATE 2012 FOR RESIDENTS OF COUNTY LOUTH .

Invalidity Applications Processed Processed to date 2012
Claims awarded 107
Claims Refused 251
Claims withdrawn 7
Total Claims processed 365


  The refusal rate for applications processed for invalidity pension to date in 2012, for County Louth, is approximately 69%.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

 240. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding an appeal against the decision to refuse an application for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40517/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case on 4 October 2012. The person concerned has been notified of the arrangements for the hearing. 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 on social welfare entitlements.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

 241. Deputy Jack Wall Information on Jack Wall Zoom on Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding an invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40518/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case on 1 October 2012. The person concerned has been notified of the arrangements for the hearing. 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 on social welfare entitlements.

Disability Allowance Eligibility

 242. 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 facilitate a review of the refusal of disability allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40523/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned applied for disability allowance on 5 June 2012. The medical evidence supplied with her application was referred to one of the department’s medical assessors who was of the opinion, based on the information supplied, that she was not medically suitable for disability allowance. The deciding officer accepted this opinion and the claim was refused and the person was notified in writing of this decision on 4 September 2012. The letter which issued to the person also advised her that it was open to her to submit further medical evidence and her case would be reviewed. She was also advised of the option of appealing directly to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office.


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