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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 105-111
 Header Item Birth Certificates
 Header Item Jobseeker's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Eligibility
 Header Item One-Parent Family Payment Appeals
 Header Item Social Welfare Overpayments
 Header Item Departmental Expenditure

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 806 No. 2

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Written Answers Nos. 105-111

Birth Certificates

 105. 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 the position regarding an apostille stamp in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [28328/13]

 106. 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 the position regarding an apostille stamp issue in respect of a person (details supplied).  [28519/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 105 and 106 together.

  In order to properly identify the parties to a marriage, the requirements under section 46(7) of the Civil Registration Act, 2004, include, inter alia, the authentication of birth certificates.

  This step is necessary to help ensure that the intended marriage is not for unlawful purposes. In this regard, it is not possible to discriminate between persons born outside this jurisdiction, either by exempting or targeting persons born in specific jurisdictions. Therefore, all birth certificates issued by authorities outside this jurisdiction must bear an Apostille stamp or, in the case of a country that is not a signatory of the Hague Convention, be attested by the relevant Embassy.    

  The birth records of persons born in this jurisdiction must also be fully checked before a marriage registration form can be issued. However, there is no requirement for these records to be authenticated further, as the registrar taking the notice of intention to marry is in a position to do this.

Jobseeker's Allowance Appeals

 107. 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 a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28121/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that a jobseeker's allowance appeal, by the person concerned, together with the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal were received in that office on 04th  June 2013. 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.

Invalidity Pension Eligibility

 108. Deputy James Bannon Information on James Bannon Zoom on James Bannon asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will reconsider her decision not to grant an invalidity pension to a person (details supplied) in County Longford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28122/13]

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. Only classes A, E or H contributions 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 45 qualifying contributions paid in 2012, the governing contribution year in this case, and consequently her claim was refused by a deciding officer. The applicant was notified on 21 May 2013 and advised of her rights of review or to appeal against this decision.

Alternatively, if the person’s means are insufficient to meet their needs, they may apply for means-tested disability allowance from the Department by completing the relevant application form and returning it to the address stated on the form. Their eligibility for disability allowance will then be assessed and they will be notified directly of the outcome.

One-Parent Family Payment Appeals

 109. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a decision on a one-parent family payment will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [28124/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case on 24th  June 2013. The person concerned will be 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.

Social Welfare Overpayments

 110. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the position regarding an overpayment of supplementary welfare allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.  [28126/13]

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 19th April 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. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 13th  May 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.

Departmental Expenditure

 111. Deputy Willie O'Dea Information on Willie O'Dea Zoom on Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton the current cost of administration for all universal payments made by her Department in tabular form; the current cost of administration for all means tested payments made by her Department in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28132/13]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The Estimates for the Department published on Budget day provides for expenditure of €20.243 billion on schemes, services and administration in 2013. Of this, just under €580 million or 2.9% of total estimated expenditure will be spent on administration.

The Department provides a very wide range of schemes and services. These include social insurance schemes where entitlement, in the first instance, is based on PRSI contribution, means tested social assistance schemes and a universal scheme (child benefit) payable to families with children. It should also be noted, in this regard, that

- there is a means testing element to determining entitlement to an increase for a qualified adult and qualified child as well as the fuel allowance for social insurance schemes, and

- claimants of many schemes may have to satisfy conditions other than those related to PRSI contributions or means in order to fulfil the statutory requirements for entitlement to a given scheme. These conditions may, for example, relate to requirements in relation to jobseeking, illness, impact of disabilities, care requirements, as appropriate to the relevant scheme.

The various schemes are operated through a network of local and central offices. The main components of workflow in the department’s processing sections are claim processing, maintenance, control activity and dealing with enquiries. These functions are supported by investigators and employment services, as appropriate, and by a shared infrastructure and IT systems. The latter systems deliver various aspects of claim processing and payments, including means assessment. In addition, certain scheme administrative costs are also incurred centrally including, accounts, payment costs by external agencies such as An Post and the Revenue Commissioners, policy development, social welfare appeals, medical assessors and training.

Many staff may be involved, on a daily basis, in the administration of both social insurance and social assistance schemes such as jobseeker’s benefit and allowance which are both administered side by side in the local offices of the Department.

This means that it is not possible to disaggregate the specific administration costs for particular schemes given the level of costs which are borne centrally and the number of staff who are engaged, on one level or another, in the administration and support functions of more than one scheme.


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