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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 158-166
 Header Item National Internship Scheme Placements
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Illness Benefit Appeals
 Header Item State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility
 Header Item State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 800 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 92 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 158-166

National Internship Scheme Placements

 158. Deputy Arthur Spring Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the time frame a person has to be in receipt of a job seeker's payment prior to being eligible for placement on an internship through the jobBridge National Internship Programme; if the same timeframe applies to persons who were in receipt of carer's allowance immediately prior to receiving a jobseekers payment; the reason for such a waiting period and if the eligibility criteria for the jobBridge programme need to be reviewed. [19407/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Since it commenced on 1 July, 2011, Jobbridge has made exceptional progress. At 18 April, 2013, 16,545 people had commenced internships, 5,947 individuals were on internships and 2,452 internship opportunities were advertised.

Jobbridge is limited to individuals who are in receipt of a Live claim (Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit/One Parent Family Payment/Disability Allowance) or are signing on for credits for at least 3 of the last 6 months (78 Days). Carer’s Allowance is not an eligible payment. Time spent in receipt of this payment does not, of itself, contribute to eligibility for a Jobbridge internship. It continues to be essential to strike a balance between our commitments to combat unemployment through the up-skilling opportunities provided by quality internship placements that offer real workplace experience, on the one hand, and the potential to destabilise the normal functioning of the labour market and a consequent reduction of opportunities for permanent employment, on the other.

JobBridge has been launched in this targeted way to allocate scarce exchequer resources to make maximum impact for long term unemployment while ensuring that it does not replace or displace the normal operation of the labour market. As the Deputy will be aware, an independent evaluation of the Scheme is currently being finalised by Indecon International Economic Consultants. The final report will be published in the coming weeks. It is at this stage that further consideration will be given to amending the terms and conditions of the Scheme.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 159. Deputy Finian McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a decision will be made in relation to an appeal for carer’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway. [19418/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 26 October 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 12 April 2013 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral 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.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

 160. Deputy Michael Creed Information on Michael Creed Zoom on Michael Creed asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a person (details supplied) in County Cork may expect a decision on their claim for domiciliary care allowance which is on appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19431/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from the person concerned on the 10th October 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who considered that the child was not medically eligible for DCA. A letter issued on the 15th November 2012 outlining the decision to refuse the allowance. The person concerned subsequently lodged an appeal against this decision.

As part of the appeal process, the case has been forwarded to another of the Department’s Medical Assessors for further consideration, including a review of any new information supplied. Upon receipt of the Medical Assessor’s opinion, the case will be further examined and allowed or forwarded for consideration by the Appeals Office.

Illness Benefit Appeals

 161. Deputy Noel Coonan Information on Noel Coonan Zoom on Noel Coonan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when an appeal for illness benefit will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19433/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Payment of illness benefit, to the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer following an examination by a Medical Assessor of the Department who expressed the opinion that she was capable of work. An appeal was opened and in the context of that appeal her case was reviewed by a second Medical Assessor who also expressed the opinion that she was capable of work.

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that, following receipt of the grounds of appeal from the person concerned, the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer have been sought. On receipt of their response the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral 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.

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

 162. Deputy Ciara Conway Information on Ciara Conway Zoom on Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if her attention has been drawn to correspondence (details supplied ) and if there are plans to bring the State contributory pension within the standard PAYE taxing procedures; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19436/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton When State pension is awarded, officials in my Department inform the claimant in writing that the pension is regarded as taxable income for income tax purposes and that liability for tax will depend on the overall circumstances of the individual. They are further informed that it is not the role of my Department to deduct tax at source but that the Revenue Commissioners will be informed of the payment type and amount being made to the claimant.

I have noted the relevant correspondence. However, the collection of taxes is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners and any changes to current arrangements is a matter for the Minister for Finance.

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

 163. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will review criteria on which the contributory pension is awarded to self-employed people who have an outstanding PRSI liability by ensuring that the pension is awarded from the date the person reaches pension age and any liability deducted from those payments, rather than preventing them from being awarded the pension until the liability is discharged. [19439/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Revenue Commissioners are the primary collection agents of the Department in relation to PRSI. Income tax and PRSI payable by a self-employed contributor is treated as one aggregate sum in accordance with the provisions of social welfare legislation. Where a person applying for State pension (contributory) has been a self-employed contributor, the person must pay all outstanding PRSI contributions before they are deemed to satisfy the qualifying conditions.

I have no plans to change these conditions relating to the award of pensions. The State pension is a very valuable asset and it is important, therefore, that those who claim a State pension have paid sufficient PRSI contributions over a working life and discharge those liabilities in full.

The recently published Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund found that self-employed persons enjoy greater value from the payment of social insurance than employed persons, in particular, due to the lower rate of PRSI paid.

  Questions Nos. 164 to 166, inclusive, withdrawn.


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