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. 205-215
 Header Item Disability Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Administration
 Header Item Supplementary Welfare Allowance Payments
 Header Item Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Applications
 Header Item Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Departmental Funding
 Header Item Disability Allowance Appeals

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 802 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 205-215

Disability Allowance Appeals

 206. 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 provide an update regarding to an appeal for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11. [21161/13]

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 the available evidence allowed the appeal of the person concerned by way of summary decision. The person concerned was notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision on 29 April 2013. 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.

Rent Supplement Scheme Administration

 207. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if any community welfare officers employed by her Department issued rent allowance from her Department's funds, or previously from funds from the Department of Health via the Health Service Executive, to recipients living in properties owned by community welfare officers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21168/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The purpose of rent supplement 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 currently approximately 86,000 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has provided over €403 million for 2013.

Under the legislative provisions governing rent supplement, the Department’s relationship is with the tenant; the tenant makes the application for rent supplement and payment is made to the tenant. Rent supplement is specifically for the benefit of tenants to assist them with their accommodation needs. There is no direct relationship between the landlord and the Department in the administration of the scheme.

There is nothing in legislation which prohibits payment of rent supplement to a tenant whose landlord is an officer administering supplementary welfare allowance. Statistics on any such cases are not maintained by the Department.

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Payments

 208. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will supply the names of furniture shops that received payments from those in receipt of the new accommodation grant scheme to purchase furniture and other household items; if there is a register of such shops and if she will make any such register available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21171/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off and unforeseen expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. The Government has provided over €47 million for the ENP scheme in 2013.

ENPs are payable at the discretion of the officers administering the SWA scheme taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case in order to ensure that the payments target those most in need of assistance. The Department’s legislation provides that a person may nominate another person to receive their SWA payment subject to the consent of the officer administering the scheme. The Department does not maintain statistics on payments made to furniture shops or maintain a register of such shops.

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility

 209. 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 the basis on which an application for jobseeker's allowance was refused in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; if she will provide details of the means assessment carried out in respect of this application; if this claim will be reviewed in view of the fact that any savings accrued are the result of this person sensibly and conscientiously saving benefits they received.  [21204/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned applied for jobseeker’s allowance from 9 April 2013 and was assessed with means of €169.41 per week arising from his parents’ income. As these weekly means exceed the maximum weekly rate of €144.00 which would have been payable in this instance, the person concerned does not qualify for a jobseeker’s allowance payment. It should be noted that means assessed were derived solely from his parents’ income; his accrued savings were below the assessable threshold and played no part whatsoever in the assessment. This was fully detailed in the decision letter issued to him 19 April 2013. A review of his means is not proposed at this time as there has been no change in his personal circumstances.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 210. Deputy Nicky McFadden Information on Nicky McFadden Zoom on Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a decision will issue on a carer's allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford in view of the fact that a minor error was made on the original application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21207/13]

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 3 December 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 22 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.

Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

 211. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will approve an application for rent supplement in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21213/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The person concerned has had Rent Supplement approved – payment is due to issue on 02/May 13.

Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility

 212. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Information on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan Zoom on Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the provision that exists to make rent allowance available to a person (details supplied) in County Sligo, who find themselves with their name still on a mortgage but no longer enjoying the benefits of a family home, and no longer involved with servicing the mortgage, as they have had to move out post-separation and are unemployed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [21222/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton In order to be considered for a rent supplement payment, the person in question must first be assessed by a housing authority as having a housing need. The person concerned was advised of this by the Department in September 2012 and again in December 2012 and he was also provided with documentation and forms to assist him with this process. To date, the person concerned has not provided the Department with evidence that a housing needs assessment has been completed.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

 213. Deputy Brendan Griffin Information on Brendan Griffin Zoom on Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if a decision has been made on an application for domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21234/13]

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 the 14th December 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who found that the child was not medically eligible for the allowance. A letter issued on the 25th February 2013 advising of the decision.

The person concerned has now supplied additional information and an appeal will be registered in this case. As part of the appeal process, the case will be forwarded to another of the Department’s Medical Assessors for further consideration, including a review of the new information supplied. Upon receipt of the Medical Assessor’s opinion, the case will be further considered and forwarded to the Appeals Office, if necessary.

Departmental Funding

 214. Deputy Michael Lowry Information on Michael Lowry Zoom on Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will provide a guarantee that her Department will continue providing funding for the maintenance of MABS offices nationwide; if she will further guarantee that no reduction of this funding will be allowed; if she will ensure that the current disagreements between MABS and citizens information does not jeopardise the operations of any MABS office; if she will detail the steps being taken to resolve this conflict; if her attention has been drawn to the vital importance of MABS offices; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [21329/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Money Advice and Budgeting Service ( MABS), under the aegis of the Citizens Information Board, provides a high quality personal service to assist people who are over-indebted and need help and advice in coping with debt problems, in particular those on low incomes and people living on social welfare payments.

There has been no reduction in the funding provided to the Citizens Information Board which is responsible for delivering critical elements of Government business, notably in the provision of information, advice and advocacy relating to social services and entitlements and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service. In 2013, the Citizens Information Board has been allocated some €47.4 million from the exchequer of which some €19 million has been assigned to MABS and €14.6 million has been assigned to the Citizens Information Services. The corresponding allocation to the Citizens Information Board in 2012 was €46.8 million of which some €18.3 million was allocated to MABS and €14.6 million for the Citizens Information Services.

The Citizens Information Board is responsible for ensuring that all appropriate governance arrangements are in place in relation to the expenditure of these public funds. It is essential that this significant amount of public monies is carefully monitored and properly accounted for, in terms of financial accountability, effective performance and excellent delivery of quality services to the customer and taxpayer, who ultimately funds these services. The Board is responsible for ensuring that all appropriate governance arrangements are in place in relation to the expenditure of these public funds.

An important element of assessing accountability is through the formal agreement of Service Level Agreements. These are annual contracts between the CIB and the 96 separate companies, which provide the services for which the Citizens information Board has responsibility, including the 42 local Citizens Information Services and the 53 MABS companies. These contracts are agreed by the governing board of the Citizens Information Board and cover standard items such as service delivery, governance, financial controls, HR practices, reporting, evaluation, monitoring etc. This enables the Board to ensure that excellent service and best value is achieved across the wide range of services it provides.

There had been no reduction in funding to the individual MABS services and the Citizens Information Board continues to engage with the MABS network to resolve any outstanding issues relating the service level agreements for 2013.

Disability Allowance Appeals

 215. Deputy John Perry Information on John Perry Zoom on John Perry asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a decision will be made on a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Sligo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21333/13]

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 27 February 2013. 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. When received, the appeal in question 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.


Last Updated: 29/04/2020 09:19:00 First Page Previous Page Page of 89 Next Page Last Page