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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 127-138
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Insolvency Payments Scheme Eligibility
 Header Item Employment Support Services
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Appeals
 Header Item Invalidity Pension Appeals
 Header Item Community Employment Schemes Eligibility
 Header Item Community Employment Schemes Eligibility
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Eligibility
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 861 No. 1

First Page Previous Page Page of 109 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 127-138

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 127. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a decision on a carer's allowance appeal will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46900/14]

Tánaiste and 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 of the available evidence, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision.

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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 128. Deputy Michael McCarthy Information on Michael McCarthy Zoom on Michael McCarthy asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton to set out the position regarding an appeal for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46907/14]

Tánaiste and 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 13 November 2014. 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. When these papers have been received from the Department, the case 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 appeal 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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Insolvency Payments Scheme Eligibility

 129. Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton to set out her views on making arrangements to allow payments of wages due under the Payment of Wages Act 1991 to be paid from the Social Insurance Fund in a similar manner to the statutory redundancy payments in cases where an employer has a proven inability to pay and the amount is due; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46926/14]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton The purpose of the insolvency payments scheme, which operates under the Protection of Employees (Employers’ Insolvency) Act, 1984, which, in turn, derives from EU Council Directive 987/80, is to protect certain outstanding pay-related entitlements due to employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer. These entitlements include wages, holiday pay, sick pay, payment in lieu of minimum notice due under the Minimum Notice & Terms of Employment Acts, 1973-2001, and certain pension contributions. Various other statutory awards made by the Employment Appeals Tribunal, Rights Commissioners, etc., are also covered by the scheme.

Where a person’s former employer was a limited company, the company must be in liquidation or receivership in order for the person to be eligible to claim under the insolvency payments scheme. In such circumstances, the liquidator or receiver becomes the relevant officer for submitting claims as he or she has access to the company records and can certify that the amounts claimed are in order.

As long as a business is still operating, the employer is responsible for all monies due under the Payment of Wages Act. As the Deputy is aware, my colleague, the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton T.D., has responsibility for the enforcement of the Payment of Wages Act.

Employment Support Services

 130. Deputy Derek Nolan Information on Derek Nolan Zoom on Derek Nolan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton to outline her views on whether counselling may be useful as an activation tool; if her attention has been drawn to programmes incorporating these methods as designed by a company (details supplied); if funding streams, or consideration thereof, exists within her Department for the utilisation or further development of such programmes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46941/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys ‘Counselling’ in the context of activation generally refers to the provision of guidance and advice with respect to the pursuit of employment options. It does not involve the provision of personal counselling (e.g. addiction, bereavement, anxiety, depression etc.) of the type which I understand is provided as an online service by the organisation referenced in the question.

Where Case Officers of the Department encounter jobseekers suffering from such personal issues they will, as appropriate, direct the jobseekers concerned to the appropriate State agencies.

The Department does not intend to become involved in the direct provision of such types of intervention.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

 131. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if and when an oral hearing will take place in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath in respect of a pending carer's allowance application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46942/14]

Tánaiste and 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 1 December 2014. 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. When these papers have been received from the Department, the case 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 appeal 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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

 132. Deputy Pat Breen Information on Pat Breen Zoom on Pat Breen asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton when a decision on an invalidity appeal will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46945/14]

Tánaiste and 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 1 October 2014. 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. When these papers have been received from the Department, the case 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 appeal 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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

 133. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on  Zoom on  asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will confirm that community employment participants who commenced prior to 16 January 2012 and have had continuous service may retain their primary social welfare payment alongside the CE personal rate allowance until they finish their time on community employment; the number of participants that will be effected by this change; and the steps that have been taken to inform those participants. [46959/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys I can confirm that community employment (CE) participants who commenced prior to 16 January 2012, who are in receipt of one of the specified concurrent payments, and who have had continuous service on CE since that date, may retain their primary social welfare payment alongside the CE personal rate allowance until they finish their time on CE.

  The number of participants affected by this is 778. All CE schemes with eligible participants were made aware on Monday 1st December and the participants were informed via their CE Sponsors. Internally, the Department updated its divisional CE staff and the relevant scheme areas in advance of this.

  The specified payments are as follows:

- One Parent Family Payment

- Deserted Wife’s Benefit

- Widow(er)s Pension (Contributory and Non-Contributory)

- Illness Benefit

- Disability Allowance

- Invalidity Pension

- Blind Pension.

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

 134. Deputy Ruth Coppinger Information on  Zoom on  asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton if she will report on the number of community employment participants who will have a dual payment ended after December 2014; and the savings to the Department's budget as a result of this change. [46960/14]

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Kevin Humphreys): Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys The Budget of 2012 announced the disqualification from certain welfare payments for welfare recipients while participating on Community Employment (CE). Up until 16th January 2012, certain social welfare payments could be retained in part, or in full, when participating on CE. The CE personal rate of €208.00 was applicable to these participants, as any dependants were covered under the original social welfare payment.

  These who retained social welfare payments included:

- One Parent Family Payment

- Deserted Wife’s Benefit

- Widow(er)s Pension (Contributory and Non-Contributory)

- Illness Benefit

- Disability Allowance

- Invalidity Pension

- Blind Pension

  As part of Budget 2012, new entrants to CE were disqualified from simultaneously receiving their original social welfare payment and CE allowances with effect from Monday 16th January 2012. From that date, participants receive CE allowances only at a rate equivalent to their scheduled social welfare payment, plus €20, subject to a minimum payment of €208.00 per week. This disqualification was enacted under Section 12 of the Social Welfare Act 2011.

  For those participants already engaged on CE at the time of the introduction of this measure, it was possible to retain their dual payments while they participate on CE.

  CE participants who commenced prior to 16 January 2012, who are in receipt of one of the specified concurrent payments, and who have had continuous service on CE since that date, may retain their primary social welfare payment, alongside the CE personal rate allowance until they finish their time on CE (provided they retain eligibility for receipt of that payment).

  There are no savings to the Department's budget as a result of this measure.

Carer's Allowance Eligibility

 135. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton with regard to the assessment for the half rate of carer's allowance the reason contribution-based payments such as the contributory pension are treated in the same manner as non-contributory payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46962/14]

 136. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton to set out the reason a person in receipt of the contributory pension who is caring for a spouse, who is not in receipt of a payment from her Department, is not eligible to receive the full rate of carer's allowance, in view of the fact that the combined household means would be the same if the roles were reversed. [46963/14]

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton I propose to take Questions Nos. 135 and 136 together.

Carers’ allowance is a means tested payment, payable to those providing full-time care and attention to a care recipient where the recipient of care is aged 16 or over and so incapacitated as to require full-time care and attention or aged under 16 and getting a domiciliary care allowance, while half–rate carers’ allowance is payable to those providing full time care and attention to a care recipient, where the care provider is on a social welfare payment in their own right or where the care provider is a qualified adult on a spouse’s, or partner’s claim.

Means for the purposes of carer's allowance are calculated in accordance with Part III of the Third Schedule to the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 (as amended).

The carer's means include any income the carer or his/her spouse/partner may have e.g. earnings, an occupational pension or pensions or benefits from another country. Assets including property but excluding the family home are also subject to a means assessment.

The application of the means test for carers’ allowance is not dependent on whether the person is in receipt of a contributory or non- contributory social welfare payment as all social welfare payments are exempt from the carers’ means test.

Where the carer receives a social welfare payment from another State, an amount up the maximum rate of the Irish State Pension Contributory is exempt from the means test. Any foreign social welfare payment in excess of the maximum Irish State Pension Contributory is treated as income for the means test.

A person on a contributory pension is precluded from receiving full rate carers’ allowance – it would not be equitable that a person should be in receipt of two full primary weekly social welfare payments simultaneously.

  Question No. 137 withdrawn.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

 138. Deputy Dan Neville Information on Dan Neville Zoom on Dan Neville asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton to set out the position regarding a domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [46972/14]

Tánaiste and 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 20 February 2014. The application was not allowed as the child was not considered to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the allowance. A letter issued on 10 April 2014 advising of the decision.

A review of this decision was requested on the 20th August 2014 and additional information on this child’s condition/care needs was supplied. The application together with the new information supplied was examined by another medical assessor who did not consider that the child met the medical criteria for the allowance.

Having reviewed the application in its entirety, the deciding officer considered that a revision of the original decision was not warranted and confirmed this in writing on 18 October 2014. The person concerned has been advised of his right to appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.


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