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 Header Item Written Answers Nos. 433-457
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Staff
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Data
 Header Item Child and Family Agency Expenditure
 Header Item Adoption Data
 Header Item Adoption Data
 Header Item Childcare Services Funding
 Header Item Youth Services
 Header Item Budget Submissions
 Header Item Town and Village Renewal Scheme
 Header Item Departmental Schemes
 Header Item Tidy Towns Committees Funding
 Header Item CLÁR Programme
 Header Item CLÁR Programme
 Header Item LEADER Programmes Data
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications
 Header Item Carer's Allowance Applications
 Header Item Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Payments
 Header Item Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications
 Header Item Disability Allowance Applications
 Header Item Social Insurance
 Header Item Free Travel Scheme Applications

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 987 No. 4

First Page Previous Page Page of 87 Next Page Last Page

Written Answers Nos. 433-457

Child and Family Agency Staff

 433. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of play therapists and child art psychotherapists directly employed by Tusla by LHO. [41095/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I wish to advise that my officials have asked Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy on this matter.

Child and Family Agency Data

 434. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of referrals to outside therapeutic services, not including CAMHS, by Tusla in 2018 by LHO. [41096/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone The Deputy is referring to an operational matter for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency. I have therefore referred the matter to Tusla and asked that a direct response be provided to the Deputy.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Child and Family Agency Expenditure

 435. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the amount spent by Tusla on external therapeutic services in 2017, 2018 and in quarter 1 and quarter 2 of 2019 combined. [41097/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Tusla, the Child and Family Agency provides a range of therapeutic services to children and young people, which may be procured from external organisations.

  I have requested Tusla to respond directly to the Deputy regarding the amount spent by Tusla on external therapeutic services in 2017, 2018 and in Q1 and Q2 of 2019 combined.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Adoption Data

 436. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of adoption declarations made in each of the past four years. [41098/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the subject matter of the Deputy’s question relates to an operational matter for the Adoption Authority of Ireland, I have referred the matter to it for a direct reply.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Adoption Data

 437. Deputy Catherine Martin Information on Catherine Martin Zoom on Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone the number of adoptions that have taken place in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019. [41099/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone As the subject matter of the Deputy’s question relates to an operational matter for the Adoption Authority of Ireland, I have referred the matter to it for a direct reply.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 42A

Childcare Services Funding

 438. Deputy Niamh Smyth Information on Niamh Smyth Zoom on Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if an application by a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41124/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone Early Learning and Care (ELC) and School Age Childcare (SAC) services are privately run or are operated by community/not for profit organisations. My Department does not operate or own childcare services but, through a funding agreement, provides a range of supports, such as capitation payments and subsidies to support children, parents and the sector. Any person wishing to establish an early learning and care service, once registered with Tusla, can enter into an agreement / contract with my Department to run various Department programmes.

  As the Deputy may be aware, the Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a programme of supports designed to enable children with a disability to access and meaningfully participate in the Early Childhood Care and Education programme. It was introduced in June 2016 and is administered by Pobal on behalf of my Department. AIM is a child-centred model, involving 7 levels of progressive support, moving from the universal to the targeted, based on the needs of the child in the context of the preschool setting they are attending.

  I am pleased to say that the Government made a commitment in First 5   to consider enhancements to, or extension of, AIM to other groups of children. Such an extension might involve younger children (such as under-3s), or children attending school-age childcare services, or it might involve children with additional needs other than a disability. However, all decisions on the extension or reform of AIM will be informed by the findings of a three year evaluation of AIM that should be commenced in the coming months, and careful consideration of the needs of various groups of children, services currently available, as well of course as securing of the necessary resources.

  It should also be noted that Early Intervention services for children with disabilities generally fall under the remit of Department of Health. I would advise anyone that wishes to set up or operate an Early Intervention service to contact the Department of Health in the first instance. Alternatively, the Department of Education's Special Education Unit may be of assistance.

Youth Services

 439. Deputy Bobby Aylward Information on Bobby Aylward Zoom on Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will investigate the possibility of increasing investment in youth work in advance of budget 2020 to enable youth organisations to deliver enhanced youth work services to support young persons in County Kilkenny; if she will consider increasing the 2% allocation of overall funding within her Department to support youth work services through budget 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41129/19]

 440. Deputy Bobby Aylward Information on Bobby Aylward Zoom on Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if she will consider increasing the funding allocation to the youth service grant scheme which supports 30 voluntary youth organisations to deliver mainstream youth work and to support local youth groups, branches and units through Budget 2020; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41130/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I propose to take Questions Nos. 439 and 440 together.

  As the Deputy is aware the annual Estimates process is ongoing. It would not be appropriate for me to comment at this time as funding for the provision of youth services, amongst other areas, is under consideration and, as might be expected, is subject to resources.

I have enhanced investment in youth service provision each year since I took office, increasing current funding for youth services by an additional €8.5 million in the last three years. This represents an increase of 16% compared to 2016 . Included in this funding under the Youth Service Grant Scheme has increased by almost 10% since 2016, rising to €11.126m in 2019.

In addition, I have taken on board the findings of the Value for Money and Policy Review of Youth Programmes. I am prioritising the implementation of an integrated funding scheme as recommended by this Review. Consultations with a wide range of stakeholders are continuing with a view to introducing this targeted youth funding scheme as soon as possible.

In 2019, my Department is providing €60.4 million to support youth work services across Ireland. This funding is being deployed across a broad range of programmes supporting the provision of youth services throughout the country, with a specific focus on services in communities in areas considered to be disadvantaged based on the deprivation index. With the invaluable assistance of each Education and Training Boards and national organisations, the funding from my Department supports national and local youth programmes involving approximately 1,400 youth work staff working in communities across the country, as well as some 1,500 youth clubs nationally.

Budget Submissions

 441. Deputy Brendan Smith Information on Brendan Smith Zoom on Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone if consideration will be given to budget 2020 submission by an organisation (details supplied) in respect of the provision of childcare and the structures for the delivery of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41134/19]

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (Deputy Katherine Zappone): Information on Katherine Zappone Zoom on Katherine Zappone I can confirm that my Department received the Budget 2020 submission from Early Childhood Ireland.

In First 5, the Whole of Government Strategy for Babies, Young Children and their Families, which I published last year, my Department committed to conducting a review of the operating system and structures which deliver a range of childcare schemes and initiatives at national and local level. This will include consideration of the role of Pobal, 30 City and County Childcare Committees and various National Voluntary Childcare Organisations.

The terms of reference for this review are currently in development and the project will be progressed in the coming months. The review will give due consideration to the strategic goals of Government as laid out in 'First 5', an analysis of the situation as it currently stands, as well as contributions such as the Early Childhood Ireland budget submission. This review is critical as Government continues to invest significantly in early learning and care and school age childcare as evidenced by the massive increase in investment in the sector over the last 4 years.

The outcome may be a recommendation for a new early years agency as advocated for by ECI, or for one of a range of other options.

My Department is committed to developing a national operating system that will effectively and efficiently deliver a range of DCYA schemes and initiatives to improve assess to high quality and affordable early learning and care and school age childcare services, that will make the best use of Exchequer funding, and that will deliver the best possible outcomes for children and their families.

Town and Village Renewal Scheme

 442. Deputy Shane Cassells Information on Shane Cassells Zoom on Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring if there are plans for a 2020 town and village renewal scheme; if so, when details will be announced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40808/19]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The Town and Village Renewal Scheme is a key initiative under the Action Plan for Rural Development and forms part of a range of measures to support rural Ireland under the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 Rural Regeneration Programme.

  Since the scheme was introduced in 2016, almost €53 million has been approved for more than 670 projects across the country.

  I launched the 2019 Town and Village Renewal Scheme last April, with a closing date for receipt of applications of 28th June 2019. Over 300 applications for funding were received from the Local Authorities. My officials are currently assessing all of the applications received and the successful applicants will be announced shortly when the assessment process is fully completed.

  Funding in respect of the Town and Village Renewal Scheme or next year will be considered as part of the 2020 Estimates process.

Departmental Schemes

 443. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the percentage of expenditure that a local authority must outlay on an approved project (details supplied) before allocated funding and interim payments can be drawn down from his Department; when this accounting rule was introduced for capital funded rural schemes; if it was via regulation or departmental circular; and the level of project expenditure carried out by a local authority balancing payments that can be drawn down from allocated funding for an approved project. [40929/19]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The conditions in respect of the drawdown of funding for the rural schemes referred to by the Deputy are set out in the respective Funding Agreements with the Local Authorities for those schemes. The current agreements require that 50% of the project spend must be completed before 50% of the grant allocation from the Department will be paid to the Local Authority. The balance of funding is paid on completion of the project.

Previously, Local Authorities could draw down 50% of the funding allocated when 20% of the project spend had been incurred by them. Again, payment of the balance of funding was contingent on the completion of the project.

The Department has, at times, used its discretion to allow Local Authorities to make drawdown requests where projects were well advanced, but where the spend was less than 50% of the overall total projected costs. All Local Authorities would have been advised in writing by the Department where this was to apply. Payment in such cases was based on the level of expenditure actually incurred, and the remainder of the grant allocation was paid on completion of the project.

In the case of all schemes, Local Authorities are required to provide an element of match funding, as set out in the criteria for the relevant scheme. The amounts allocated and paid to Local Authorities by the Department comprise the balance of the funding required to complete the approved project when the match funding and any other source of funding has been taken into account.

Tidy Towns Committees Funding

 444. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring if he has considered allocating ring-fenced funding to tidy towns committees in view of the recent tidy towns results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41018/19]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring The SuperValu Tidy Towns competition this year attracted more than 900 entries. The competition goes from strength to strength each year based on the enthusiasm, energy and commitment of volunteer committees around the country.

In each of the last two years, I provided grant funding of €1.4 million to Tidy Towns Committees to support their efforts, and to enable them to purchase small equipment and other materials for their work.

I was delighted to be in a position to announce further grant funding of €1.4 million to Tidy Towns Committees at the national awards ceremony in The Helix theatre on 30th September. My officials will be in contact with the Committees shortly regarding the grant application process.

It should be noted that Tidy Towns Committees can also apply, as community groups, for funding to other schemes within my Department, such as the Community Enhancement Programme. 158 Tidy Town Committees were approved for funding totalling €536,816 under this scheme in 2018.

CLÁR Programme

 445. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the reason only three projects in County Cork were approved funding under the recent CLÁR 2019 measure 1 and 2 allocation; the reason County Cork received just 3% of the total national allocation; the further reason no funding was allocated to projects in north County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41073/19]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I launched the 2019 CLÁR programme on the 28th February last, with an indicative allocation of €5 million for qualifying projects under the following measures:

  Measure 1: Support for Schools/Community Safety Measures

  Measure 2: Play Areas/Multi-Use Games Areas

  Measure 3: Community Wellbeing Support comprising of

   3a: First Response Support

   3b: Mobility and Cancer Care Transport 3c: Sensory Gardens

  Almost 500 applications were received across all Measures, with more than 300 of those in respect of Measures 1 and 2.

  The level of funding sought far exceeded the available budget and it was not possible to fund all of the project applications received.

  The CLÁR programme is designed to provide funding for rural areas which have suffered high levels of population decline. The number of projects approved in each county this year under Measures 1 and 2 was decided by reference to the proportion of the CLÁR area within each county. This approach was taken to ensure that counties with a proportionally larger CLÁR area received greater assistance under the programme.

  Counties with eligible CLÁR areas were divided into 4 categories - small, medium, large and very large - referring to the proportion of the county as a whole with designated CLÁR areas. This resulted in 6 counties in the medium category, including Cork, being approved for 3 projects each.

  The selection of the individual projects had regard, inter alia, to the range, mix, quality and impact of the project proposals submitted.

  Almost €6 million has been allocated to 179 projects across all Measures under the CLÁR programme this year. This includes funding for 8 projects in total in County Cork, to the value of almost €300,000.

CLÁR Programme

 446. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the reason a CLÁR funding application by Cork County Council for a playground in Kanturk, County Cork was unsuccessful; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41074/19]

 447. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the reason a CLÁR funding application by Cork County Council for a playground in Lyre, County Cork was unsuccessful; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41075/19]

 448. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the reason a CLÁR funding application by Cork County Council for a playground in Millstreet, County Cork was unsuccessful; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41076/19]

 449. Deputy Michael Moynihan Information on Michael Moynihan Zoom on Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the reason a CLÁR funding application by Cork County Council for speed safety signs and road markings in Knocknagree, County Cork was unsuccessful; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41077/19]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring I propose to take Questions Nos. 446 to 449, inclusive, together.

  I launched the 2019 CLÁR programme on the 28th February last, with an indicative allocation of €5 million for qualifying projects under the following measures:

  Measure 1: Support for Schools/Community Safety Measures

  Measure 2: Play Areas/Multi-Use Games Areas

  Measure 3: Community Wellbeing Support comprising of

  3a: First Response Support

  3b: Mobility and Cancer Care Transport

  3c: Sensory Gardens

  I can confirm that applications in respect of the projects referred to by the Deputy were received under Measures 1 and 2 of the programme. However, almost 500 applications were received across all Measures, with more than 300 of those in respect of Measures 1 and 2.

  The level of funding sought far exceeded the available budget and it was not possible to fund all of the project applications received.

  The CLÁR programme is designed to provide funding for rural areas which have suffered high levels of population decline. The number of projects approved in each county this year under Measures 1 and 2 was decided by reference to the proportion of the CLÁR area within each county. This approach was taken to ensure that counties with a proportionally larger area in CLÁR received greater assistance under the programme.

  Counties with eligible CLÁR areas were divided into 4 categories - small, medium, large and very large - based on the proportion of the county as a whole with designated CLÁR areas. This resulted in 6 counties in the medium category, including Cork, being approved for 3 projects each.

  The selection of the individual projects had regard, inter alia, to the range, mix, quality and impact of the project proposals submitted.

  Almost €6 million has been allocated to 179 projects across all Measures under the CLÁR programme this year. This includes funding for 8 projects in total in County Cork, to the value of almost €300,000.

LEADER Programmes Data

 450. Deputy Anne Rabbitte Information on Anne Rabbitte Zoom on Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring the drawdown for :LEADER funding in Galway in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41078/19]

Minister for Rural and Community Development (Deputy Michael Ring): Information on Michael Ring Zoom on Michael Ring LEADER is a multi-annual programme with a budget of €250 million over the period 2014-2020. €220 million of this budget is allocated to Local Action Groups (LAGs) who deliver the programme and approve projects at local level. The balance of €30 million is provided for thematic projects which are approved at national level.

  The LEADER programme in County Galway is administered by two LAGs. The Galway West LAG - Forum Connemara CLG - covers the Connemara region and the off-shore Islands. The Galway East LAG - Galway Rural Development CLG - covers the municipal districts to the east of Galway City.

  These LAGs are responsible for the delivery the programme in their respective areas, including approving project applications for funding and processing claims for payment once approved works are completed.

  The total amount of funding allocated to County Galway for the duration of the LEADER Programme is in excess of €12.1 million.

  Table 1 provides a breakdown of LEADER expenditure in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 to each of the LAGs in County Galway. The figures do not include any payments made under the thematic schemes which are approved at national level.

  There has been a significant increase in project approvals nationally since the start of 2018 and this is also evident in County Galway. The Galway East LAG has now approved 57 projects applications to a value of over €2 million. A further 18 projects, requesting funding in excess of €600,000 are at earlier stages in the approvals process.

  The Galway West LAG has approved funding of almost €1.5 million to 42 projects, while a further 7 projects seeking almost €500,000 in funding are at earlier stages in the process.

  Payments under the programme will increase significantly as these projects are completed and payment claims submitted.

  Table 1: LEADER Allocation and Expenditure for County Galway from 2017 – 2019*

County Galway Local Action Groups LEADER Allocation     Expenditure
    2017 2018 2019*
Galway East €7,655,851 €423,230 €428,385 €921,709
Galway West €4,540,033 €182,017 €294,302 €396,902


*Position as of 7th October 2019

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

 451. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of a reapplication for a domiciliary care allowance for a person (details supplied). [40526/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath The Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) claim made by this lady has now been awarded and her monthly payments will commence on October 15th 2019 . A decision letter issued to her on the 14th September 2019 to inform her that her DCA was awarded on appeal, with effect from 1st April 2018.

  Arrears due for this period issued to her by cheque on the 14th September 2019.

  I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

 452. Deputy Charlie McConalogue Information on Charlie McConalogue Zoom on Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty when a decision will be made on a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40535/19]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

  An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 6 June 2019.

  The application was awarded to the person concerned on 2 October 2019 with effect from 6 June 2019. The first payment will issue to his nominated bank account on 10 October 2019.

  Arrears of allowance due from 6 June 2019 to 3 October 2019 have issued also.

  The person concerned was notified on 2 October 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of his right of review and appeal.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Payments

 453. Deputy John Curran Information on John Curran Zoom on John Curran asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if the criteria for the partial capacity payment will be amended to allow persons in receipt of the payment to avail of training, education and upskilling opportunities similar to those in receipt of the jobseeker's payment or disability allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40536/19]

 462. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if she will include partial capacity benefit as a qualifying payment for Springboard courses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40640/19]

 463. Deputy James Browne Information on James Browne Zoom on James Browne asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if she has considered the benefits for persons with mental health issues to use partial capacity benefit and Springboard courses to improve their mental health and employability; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40641/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath I propose to take Questions Nos. 453, 462 and 463 together.

  Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB) is a social welfare scheme which allows a person to return to work or self-employment (if they have reduced capacity to work) and continue to receive a payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP). A person in receipt of Invalidity Pension or Illness Benefit for a minimum of six months who wishes to return to work may qualify for PCB if their capacity for work is reduced by their medical condition.

  It is important to note in relation to PCB that:

  - participation is voluntary.

  - there is no requirement that a person must undertake work that is of a ‘rehabilitative or therapeutic’ nature (no exemption needs to be sought from DEASP).

  - there is no restriction on the number of hours worked.

  - there is no restriction on earnings.

  - a person who participates on the PCB scheme may return to an Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension payment if, for example, the employment ceases or if the person cannot continue to work.

  - a person on the PCB scheme, with an underlying entitlement to Invalidity Pension, will retain their Free Travel Pass for a period of five years.

  - PCB allows people to continue to receive a percentage of their Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension payment while working. The personal rate of payment of PCB is based on a medical assessment of a person’s restriction, regarding their capacity for work, whether the person was in receipt of Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension and their current rate of payment. After the medical assessment, if a person's disability is rated as moderate, severe or profound their previous payment continues at 50%, 75% or 100% per cent, respectively.

  The PCB scheme extends the welfare system by explicitly recognising and responding to the reality that some people with disabilities will have a capacity to engage in open market employment while continuing to receive some income support from the State. The objective of the scheme is to support such people to return to the workplace without fear of loss of their disability related social welfare benefits.

  The majority of springboard+ courses are open to employed, unemployed and returners who meet the eligibility criteria at the time of course commencement. Eligibility for springboard+ is the responsibility for the Higher Education Authority and my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills.

  The Back to Education Allowance scheme (BTEA) is an educational opportunities scheme for customers in receipt of certain social welfare payments wishing to pursue second or third level courses of education, subject to meeting the qualifying conditions. The BTEA aims to assist those who are distant from the labour market to acquire the necessary education to improve their chances at attaining employment.   

  Any change to the qualifying conditions for the various schemes operated by the Department would have to be considered within the annual budgetary context.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

 454. Deputy Paul Kehoe Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty the status of a domiciliary care allowance for a person (details supplied); when a decision is expected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40563/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath An application for Domiciliary Care Allowance ( DCA) was received from this lady on the 30th July 2019. Applications received in mid July 2019 are currently being finalised. The application will be considered by a deciding officer in due course and the decision notified to her as soon as possible.

  I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

 455. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice Information on Michael Fitzmaurice Zoom on Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty when a decision on a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied) will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40575/19]

Minister of State at the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath Based on the evidence supplied in support of this person’s application, her application for disability allowance (DA) was disallowed on the grounds that the medical qualifying condition was not satisfied. The person in question was notified in writing of this decision on 4 July 2019.

  They requested a review of the decision by a deciding officer (DO) and submitted additional medical evidence for consideration on 26 July 2019 and on 13 August 2019.

  When a decision is made on this additional information the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

  I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Insurance

 456. Deputy Michael McGrath Information on Michael McGrath Zoom on Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if paid PRSI contributions are credited to the PRSI record of a person following confirmation of payment of PRS; if not, PRSI payments are recognised in cases in which an agreement has been put in place between a person and the Revenue Commissioners to clear outstanding tax and PRSI obligations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40582/19]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty PRSI on reckonable earnings and emoluments is collected within the PAYE system and remitted (along with the tax/USC) to Revenue.

  Until 31 December 2018, this information was submitted to Revenue on a monthly basis under the P30/annual P35 system of returns. The contribution records were then transmitted to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection at the end of each year.

  From 1 January 2019, Revenue introduced a PAYE Modernisation system, which provides an up-to-date, ‘real time' record of each individual’s employment history.

  As each PAYE return is made to Revenue, the full PRSI liability is discharged and details of the contributions are recorded for transmission to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

  Generally, PRSI liability has to be fully discharged before contributions are entered on a person's record. However, if a PRSI contributor is in compliance with discharging an agreed debt schedule with Revenue, my Department will consider any contributions that may be part of that debt schedule as paid.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Free Travel Scheme Applications

 457. Deputy Tom Neville Information on Tom Neville Zoom on Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty if a free travel pass will issue to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40598/19]

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Information on Regina Doherty Zoom on Regina Doherty As the person concerned has an entitlement to Free Travel, a Free Travel Pass together with a Companion Pass was issued on 26 September 2019. The expected delivery time for travel passes to a claimant is within 7 to 10 days of date of issue.

  I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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