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Burton, Joan

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 Nbr. 3


International Agreements: Motion

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

International Co-operation: Motion

Yes IndicatorVoted Yes More Button

Community Employment Schemes: Motion

No, €51.More Button

I can hear him clearly. He should not get too excited.More Button

What was the date of the meeting in Donegal? That is what I was talking about.More Button

The Deputy can give it to me. He was at the meeting so he must remember. When was it?More Button

I just would like to know the date. It is a reasonable request.More Button

The Deputy should tell us the dates.More Button

I move amendment No. 1:More Button

I thank Deputies for their contributions and for their concern about the future of community employment schemes. I am equally as concerned. This debate is an opportunity to discuss how we move fo...More Button

This Government’s priority is jobs. We want to ensure that those on the live register are ready and able to return to work as soon as possible. This is why in 2012 we are spending over &eur...More Button

I remind the concerned Deputies that there will be no reduction in the number of places on CE schemes and no reduction in the number of supervisors. Some speakers may have sought to make misleadin...More Button

Even after the changes in one-parent family payments announced in the budget, a lone parent with two children who is an existing participant in a community employment scheme will receive a payment ...More Button

Due to the current economic circumstances and the need for the Department to find savings of €475 million in the budget, it is necessary to examine all aspects of expenditure of my Department....More Button

——the supports Sinn Féin’s government offers in the North.More Button

I have much personal experience of community employment schemes. I know the valuable contribution they can make. However, if we are honest we must say that not every community employment scheme h...More Button

I received the community employment schemes into the Department of Social Protection on 1 January. I would be derelict in my duty as Minister if I did not look at how the money is spent. That is ...More Button

The earlier 2009 OECD report on activation policies in Ireland had also raised a number of serious concerns in respect of the community employment programme. The authors noted that “CE now functio...More Button

That said, the OECD stated that “even allowing for the diversity of CE, Ireland should have scaled it back further during the long period of low unemployment, when its participants could more easil...More Button

A greater emphasis on reforming activation policies and associated measures is also a major condition of continued financial support from the troika and was included in the original agreement with ...More Button

It is my goal to find a solution that takes account of the objectives of getting people ready for real jobs, getting value for money for the taxpayer and supporting schemes that deliver much-needed...More Button

I am pleased that many community employment schemes provide valuable qualifications to people who never had the opportunity to achieve that in their earlier lives. Some 15,000 participants receive...More Button

As Minister for Social Protection, I am determined to ensure that the positive contribution of schemes is recognised in any future decisions on the operation, funding and role of community employme...More Button

While a reduced level of grant for training and materials is unavoidable in 2012, given the budgetary position, we are making all efforts to minimise the impact of the reductions. The financial re...More Button

I will state something every Deputy knows. Every year some schemes close for a variety of reasons, for example, a scheme’s changing nature, amalgamations, etc.More Button

Despite the statements——More Button

To get value for money.More Button

Not all schemes are the same. Since the budget, I have repeatedly stated there has always been significant flexibility and discretion for departmental officials to vary the amount of the grant pai...More Button

In practice, the internal guidance to officials is that up to €1,000 may be available to a scheme through the training and materials grant for this year, subject to demonstration of need. I c...More Button

The schemes are dealing with the Department of Social Protection, the staff of which have a long record of dealing fairly and well with communities and individuals. I do not know whether Sinn F&ea...More Button

The Deputy may laugh, but this is not a laughing matter for communities.More Button

For many years there have been supports available for lone parents. I am unsure whether lone parents have done as well on community employment schemes as they might have done had greater emphasis ...More Button

Anyone who is honest and has worked with organisations representing lone parents knows that many lone parents would like to have a job, financial security and independence.More Button

Most lone parents are dedicated to working, not just for their children, but for themselves. The Deputy should be open to considering whether the provision of various State supports for 30 years u...More Button

I can also advise——More Button

It is about progression.More Button

What everyone wants is to provide opportunities for people to work and become financially independent. That is my ambition.More Button

My Department is undertaking a review of the effectiveness of a range of employment support, activation and work schemes, including the community employment scheme. This was committed to some time...More Button

The Deputy supported it. He voted for the bank guarantee.More Button

The outcome of the review will inform the overall approach my Department will take to securing the best outcome for schemes and their participants, taking account of the large amount of money we sp...More Button

At a time when the social protection budget must be reduced, we must adhere to the principle of making a single primary payment per person.More Button

The time to make two payments is——More Button

Unfortunately, we cannot afford to make two payments.More Button

I am sorry——More Button

I would like there to be no reductions under any heading, but we must try to meet our budget in the way that best secures recovery for the country and employment for people.More Button

We must use community employment schemes, given the valuable contribution they make to local communities.More Button

We must give community employment scheme participants a positive experience that will help them to achieve their goals in life and to find a job. That is the absolute requirement.More Button

We also require a value for money element, given the times in which we live and the way the economy has crashed. I am confident that we will emerge from the review and that, by the time we discuss...More Button

Written Answers - Redundancy Payments

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) is entitled to a payment. More Button

Under the Redundancy Payments Scheme all eligible employees are entitled to a statutory redundancy lump sum payment on being made redundant. An eligible employee is entitled to two weeks pay for e...More Button

The right of the employee to a redundancy payment must first be established either by a completed Redundancy Certificate (RP50) or, in the absence of that, a decision of the Employment Appeals Trib...More Button

The time limit for making a claim for a lump sum redundancy payment is 52 weeks after the date of termination of employment. Accordingly, there are 52 weeks in which:More Button

While it should be noted that the period of 52 weeks for submitting a claim is the normal period that applies, the Employment Appeals Tribunal has discretion to extend the 52 week time-limit to 104...More Button

Was asked: if she will give consideration to the issues raised by an employer (details supplied) in respect of the additional burden on business due to a reduction in the employer’s rebate on redundanci...More Button

The primary purpose of the redundancy payments scheme is to compensate workers, under the Redundancy Payments Acts, 1967 to 2011, for the loss of their jobs by reason of redundancy. Compensation i...More Button

It is the responsibility of the employers to pay statutory redundancy to all their eligible employees. An employer who pays statutory redundancy payments to the employees is then entitled to a reb...More Button

Significant and increasing amounts have been paid out in redundancy rebates to employers from the SIF in recent years. While the SIF is constituted primarily from employer contributions, the taxpay...More Button

The deficit in the Social Insurance Fund is a matter of concern. Prior to the implementation of the revised rebate, the Social Insurance Fund refunded employers 60 per cent of the cost of making p...More Button

As part of the deliberations on Budget 2012 it was decided that the 60% level of rebate is not sustainable in the current economic climate. While I acknowledge that this may cause difficulties for...More Button

Written Answers - Social Welfare Appeals

Was asked: if and when an appeal will be decided in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 31 August 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that ...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will be reached by the appeals office in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; if she will expedite the appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 7 December 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that ...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: the purpose of the holding of an oral hearing as part of the appeal process for an invalidity pension; if the person conducting the hearing is required to be medically qualified; and if she will ma...More Button

Appeals officers are not required to be medically qualified. Their role is to decide any appeal where a person is dissatisfied with the decision given by a deciding officer in relation to entitlem...More Button

An oral hearing is required where the case cannot fairly be decided by way of summary decision. This may be because there are conflicts in the evidence presented by the parties or there is insuffi...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 139 of 12 January 2012, the reason that 40% of applications filed in 2011 have not yet been processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The very significant increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2007 has significantly impacted on the processing time for appeals. More Button

Overall, the average processing time for all appeals in 2011 was 25.1 weeks in cases dealt with by way of summary decisions and 52.5 weeks where an oral hearing was required.More Button

These processing times are calculated from the registration date of the appeal to the date of its finalisation and include all activities during this period including time spent in the Department f...More Button

In an effort to reduce the processing times, the Department appointed 9 additional Appeals Officers during 2011 who augmented the 3 appointments made to the Office in 2010. In addition, a further...More Button

I am assured by the Chief Appeals Officer that she is keeping the methods of operation by which the Social Welfare Appeals Office conducts its business under constant review, and that the processes...More Button

Was asked: when a medical assessment for an appeal will be carried out in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath in view of the fact that the original assessment was cancelled. More Button

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 s/he was ca...More Button

An appeal was registered on 22 October 2011 and the Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that, in accordance with statutory requirements, the Department was asked for the documentation in t...More Button

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 ...More Button

Question No. 241 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: if and when eligibility for disability allowance will be determined in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 14 October 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow against her decision to refuse disability allowance payments; if she will provide a clear timetable for ...More Button

The claim for disability allowance, by the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer following an assessment by a Medical Assessor of the Department who was of the opinion that he was ...More Button

The person concerned appealed this decision and I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all the evidence disallowed the appeal by way of s...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a domiciliary care allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 17 October 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

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 ...More Button

Question No. 246 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: the reason for the delay in processing an appeal for the one-parent family payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 10. More Button

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. More Button

There has been a very significant increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2007 when the intake was 14,070 to 2010 and 2011 when the intake rose to 32,4...More Button

While every effort is being made to deal with the large numbers awaiting oral hearing as quickly as possible, it is not possible to give a date when the person’s oral hearing will be heard, b...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 4 October 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: the reason for the backlog in cases being processed by the appeals office and in particular a case (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 5 January 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

There has been a very significant increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2007 when the intake was 14,070 to 2010 and 2011 when the intake rose to 32,4...More Button

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 ...More Button

Question No. 258 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) which has been pending for nearly 19 months; and if she will expedite the matter. More Button

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. More Button

There has been a very significant increase in the number of appeals received by the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2007 when the intake was 14,070 to 2010 and 2011 when the intake rose to 32,4...More Button

While every effort is being made to deal with the large numbers awaiting oral hearing as quickly as possible, it is not possible to give a date when the person’s oral hearing will be heard, b...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 328 of 15 November 2011, the progress made to date in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

This case has been referred to a Social Welfare Inspector for further investigation and the person concerned will be contacted shortly by the Inspector to arrange an interview. Her pension entitlem...More Button

Was asked: if she will expedite a jobseeker’s allowance appeal review in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Further to my response to Parliamentary Question Ref. No. 1005/12, I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that there is no update to the information given previously. More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will issue on an application for invalidity pension appeal in respect of a person (details supplies) in County Sligo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 8 November 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that ...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an appeal in respect of a refusal to grant domiciliary care allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow; if she will provide a timeframe for when t...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 17 October 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will issue on an appeal to be granted habitual residence in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 30 November 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that ...More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Longford has been refused domiciliary care allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Applications for domiciliary care allowance in respect of these children were received on 6 September 2011. These applications were referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who ...More Button

In the case of an application which is refused on medical grounds, the applicant may submit additional information and/or ask for the case to be reviewed or they may appeal the decision directly to...More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Longford has been refused jobseeker’s benefit in 2010 on appeal as they were not working under contract of employment at the time; and if she ...More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all the evidence, disallowed the appeal of the person concerned by way of summary decision.More Button

Under Social Welfare legislation, the decision of the Appeals Officer is final and conclusive and may only be reviewed by the Appeals Officer in the light of new evidence or new facts. Following t...More Button

Was asked: if she will investigate the position of persons (details supplied) in County Monaghan who have been refused rent supplement payment; if she will review this decision; and if she will make a stateme...More Button

The persons concerned were refused rent supplement payment because they were forced to leave previous accommodation due to non-payment of rent. They were afforded the right to appeal this decision.More Button

Was asked: when a decision will issue on a disability allowance claim in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The claim for disability allowance, by the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer following an assessment by a Medical Assessor of the Department who expressed the opinion that he w...More Button

Written Answers - Social Welfare Benefits

Was asked: if and when payment will issue in respect of arrears for a disability application in the case of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The arrears will issue shortly to the person concerned.More Button

Question No. 230 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: if existing contributors to her Department’s pension scheme are likely to suffer a reduction in their expected benefits; if existing contributors are to be affected, can they count on a perio...More Button

I would like to say at the outset of this reply that it gives me no satisfaction to have to make any cuts in social welfare payments. However, given the scale of the fiscal crisis the Government in...More Button

In the welfare package presented in Budget 2012, I sought to minimise the impact of the necessary adjustments in my Department’s welfare expenditure on groups vulnerable to poverty and social...More Button

In addition to the Budgetary imperative, there is an important long-term policy context for the proposed changes to State pension, including the proposed change to pension rate bands being intro...More Button

Reform of the State pension system is therefore necessary and the proposed changes to the rate bands, outlined in Budget 2012, are part of the reform process under way in my Department. In this co...More Button

The minimum paid contributions requirement for State pension (transition) (SPT) and State pension (contributory) (SPC) will increase to 520 in April 2012 as provided for in legislation since 1997.More Button

State pension age is being increased gradually to 68 years. This will begin in 2014 with the standardisation of State pension age at 66 and SPT will no longer be payable to those who reach age 65 ...More Button

As announced in Budget 2012, a change to the rates bands for contributory pensions is being introduced from September 2012. This supports the policy objective of aligning the proportion of pension...More Button

With effect from September 2012, the rate band of between 20 and 47 yearly average contributions will be replaced with new rate bands of between:More Button

Therefore, the rate of State pension paid to new applicants will be appropriate to the average number of contributions paid. Those who have fewer contributions will receive a lower rate of pension...More Button

For those claimants who qualify for a reduced rate of State pension (contributory) and have income needs, they may qualify, depending on their means, for a higher rate of State pension (non-contrib...More Button

Details of the new rates bands for both State pension (transition) and State pension (contributory) are set out in the tables below.More Button

Finally, the current proposed date for the introduction of the ‘total contributions approach’ to State pension is 2020 and there are no plans at present to bring this forward to 2012.More Button

New State Pension (Transition) RatesMore Button

New State Pension (Contributory) RatesMore Button

Was asked: the position regarding payment for a qualified adult under the State pension contributory in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. More Button

The person concerned has been awarded an increase for a qualified adult allowance on his State pension (contributory) for the period 1 January 2010 to 25 July 2011. The amount due will issue this ...More Button

Was asked: if the statistics provided in Parliamentary Question No. 139 of 12 January 2012, can be broken down into types of disability that is physical, sensory, learning, emotional, behavioural and autistic...More Button

The Department does not hold details of the disability type in a format that would allow the provision of the information requested by the Deputy in respect of the domiciliary care allowance (DCA) ...More Button

However, a specific data extraction exercise was conducted last year in relation to the outcome of applications for DCA for children with autism-related conditions. This exercise covered the 930 D...More Button

Approximately 46% of all claimants were awarded the allowance on initial application in the same period.More Button

Was asked: if she will review a matter in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The person concerned started on a Community Employment (CE) scheme in Killarney in September 2011 and has eligibility for one year on the scheme. The full allowance for training for CE participants...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an application for domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. More Button

An application for domiciliary care allowance was received on 29th November 2011. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who found that the child was not ...More Button

In the case of an application which is refused on medical grounds, the applicant may submit additional information and/or ask for the case to be reviewed or they may appeal the decision directly to...More Button

Question No. 265 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: the eligibility criteria for the confirmation and communion grants; the dates on which this grant will issue for eligible persons in County Wicklow in view of confirmation and communion events bein...More Button

Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure, which a person co...More Button

There is no automatic entitlement to a payment, or no predetermined amounts under the different categories for exceptional needs payments. ENP’s are payable at the discretion of the officers...More Button

A review of the guidelines on Exceptional Needs Payments has recently been carried out by the Department by a working group made up of former Community Welfare Service staff. One of the recommendat...More Button

In future, where the Department is satisfied that an exceptional need exists, it is recommended that a maximum payment of €110 can be made in respect of the religious ceremony (mainly Communio...More Button

Persons who consider that they have an entitlement to an ENP under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme should contact the local officials administering the scheme (former Community Welfare O...More Button

Was asked: the current average waiting time for an application for carer’s allowance to be processed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The average time taken to award a claim for carer’s allowance for quarter to end Sept 2011 was 17 weeks. The average time to award for the last quarter of 2011 is unavailable as, due to the ...More Button

As mentioned above, a major service delivery modernisation project is under way to improve the efficiency of administration of the carer’s allowance scheme. This involves the development of ...More Button

Some 7,719 applications are awaiting a decision at present, down from 8,540 at the beginning of September 2011. I acknowledge that the time taken to process carer’s allowance claims at prese...More Button

While the new systems and processes will facilitate a significant improvement in overall processing times, it should be noted that the intake of new carer’s allowance applications continues t...More Button

In the meantime, if a person’s means are insufficient to meet his or her needs while awaiting a decision on a claim, he or she can apply for a means tested supplementary welfare allowance pay...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an application for carer’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; if she will give a timeframe as to when a decision will be made on th...More Button

I confirm that the department is in receipt of an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question. On completion of the necessary investigations relating to all aspects of his c...More Button

Was asked: if an application for illness benefit will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. More Button

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 he was capa...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will issue on an application for carer’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 13 August 2011. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

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 ...More Button

Was asked: the progress made to date in determination of eligibility for rent allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The person concerned was awarded rent supplement on 12 November 2011. On 11 January 2012, their rent supplement was temporarily suspended as their primary jobseeker’s payment had been suspen...More Button

Question No. 278 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: if there is a covert agenda at present to cut 10% of welfare payments that are being made at present from genuine claimants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Government is committed to protecting the vulnerable throughout the course of the difficult fiscal adjustment process that is currently under way. There is absolutely no question of an agenda, ...More Button

Was asked: if she will expedite an application for one-parent family allowance and ensure that an appointment with an inspector is made at her earliest convenience in respect of a person (details supplied) in...More Button

An Inspector will contact the person concerned regarding her application for one-parent family payment within the next week.More Button

Was asked: if she will clearly clarify the cuts to one-parent family payments announced in the December budget; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

There were a number of measures regarding One Parent Family Payment announced in Budget 2012. The following is a brief description of each of those measures: More Button

Was asked: if she has received a request for a review of a domiciliary care application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The person concerned requested a medical review of this decision on 26th January 2012 and submitted additional supporting information. The application has been forwarded to one of the Department&r...More Button

Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes

Was asked: the person that will be in charge of the review of the community employment schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Following the reductions in the CE training and materials grant announced in the Budget, the Department of Social Protection commenced a review of the financial resources of individual schemes. Thi...More Button

Following the completion of the reviews a Stakeholder Conference will be held to seek views and assist the development of future policy in this area.More Button

Separately, the Community Employment Scheme is included in a second review of the overall range of employment support, activation and work schemes operated by the Department, to assess their contri...More Button

A commitment has been given that no scheme will be forced to close as a result of the reduction in grants whilst the financial review is on-going.More Button

Was asked: the sponsoring groups will make their submissions regarding their respective community employment schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Following the reductions in the CE training and materials grant announced in the Budget, the Department of Social Protection commenced a review of the financial resources of individual schemes. Thi...More Button

Question No. 239 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: if she will outline details of changes to community employment schemes relating to double payments; who is affected by these changes; if current participants will be affected if they register and s...More Button

As announced in the Budget, from 16 January 2012, new participants on community employment (CE) schemes will not be able to simultaneously claim their original social welfare payment and a C...More Button

These new CE participants will receive payments directly via the CE scheme at a rate equivalent to their original social welfare payment (including any increase for a qualified adult and/or child d...More Button

New participants are defined as those persons who, with effect from 16 January 2012, have not been employed on a CE scheme in the 12 months prior to commencing the current CE placement. CE partici...More Button

Existing CE participants who have their contracts renewed after the 16 January 2012 will retain their social welfare payment provided they are continuously employed on CE from that date. This prov...More Button

Written Answers - Social Welfare Code

Was asked: if she will outline her role in the delivery of rent supplement to be paid to private landlords. More Button

Was asked: the amount that was spent on rent supplement paid to private tenants in each of the years 2010 and 2011. More Button

Was asked: the amount she hopes to save on rent supplement paid to tenants this year. More Button

Was asked: if she would consider putting in place a suitability interview system before tenants are given the go-ahead to lease a dwelling using rent supplement. More Button

Was asked: if she would consider setting a cap on the percentage of households in an estate which can be in receipt of rent supplement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: if she intends to move from paying rent supplement to tenants to paying it directly to landlords; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 247 to 252, inclusive, together.More Button

The purpose of rent supplement is to provide short-term income support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation, whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and ...More Button

Budget 2012 has provided for two main changes to rent supplement from 1 January 2012. First, an increase in the weekly minimum contribution payable by all tenants under the rent supplement scheme f...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware the community welfare service (CWS), and the community welfare officers providing it, transferred formally to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) from 1 October 20...More Button

In general there is no limit or restriction on the proportion or number of people that may receive rent supplement in an area. However Section 25 of the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2007 provide...More Button

Rent supplement payments can, at the request of the tenant and with the agreement of the Department, be paid directly to the landlord. If the Department were to introduce a system whereby all rent...More Button

It would not be an effective use of resources to have departmental staff negotiating rental agreements for those with a short term need who generally enter the scheme with an existing tenancy agree...More Button

The Government has effectively two initiatives to deal with long term reliance on rent supplement. The Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) is in operation since 2004 and the new Housing Policy Initia...More Button

Both initiatives give the local authorities specific responsibility for meeting the long term housing needs of people receiving rent supplement. Latest figures show that over 37,700 rent supplement...More Button

Was asked: the criteria by which a person is eligible to apply for rent allowance in a county they are not normally resident in but which they wish to reside in for a number of personal and family reasons; an...More Button

To qualify for a Rent Supplement a person must have been residing in private rented accommodation (where at the commencement of the tenancy the person could have reasonably afforded the rent and ha...More Button

A person may also be considered for rent supplement where an assessment of housing need has been carried out within the 12 months preceding the date of claim and the person is deemed by the relevan...More Button

In all other cases, a person who wishes to apply for rent supplement is referred, in the first instance, for an assessment of eligibility for social housing support by the Local Housing Authority i...More Button

Was asked: the phenomenon whereby adult children who are in receipt of social protection payments temporarily return to the family home, principally as a result of a loss of financial independence induced by ...More Button

It is not possible to allow household benefits to be retained if the household composition rules are not satisfied. One of the conditions for receipt of the household benefits package is that an a...More Button

The rules relating to the household composition do not apply where the person who is getting the household benefits is 70 years of age or over.More Button

The household benefits package is made up of three allowances, electricity or gas allowance, telephone allowance and free television licence. These allowances provide contributions towards electri...More Button

One of the objectives of the household benefits package is to provide assistance to older people who are living alone or with certain excepted people by targeting them with specific benefits that p...More Button

Was asked: if recipients of disability [440]allowance will also incur a reduction in the rent allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Rent supplement provides 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 accommodati...More Button

Budget 2012 provided for an increase in the minimum contribution for a single person on rent supplement from €24 to €30 per week and a new rate of minimum contribution for couples of &eur...More Button

Rent supplement is subject to a limit on the amount of rent that an applicant for rent supplement may incur. These rent limits are set at levels that enable the different categories of eligible te...More Button

As the Department currently funds approximately 40% of the private rented sector it is essential that State support for rents are kept under review, reflect current market conditions and do not dis...More Button

New maximum rent limits came into force on 1 January 2012. These new limits are in line with the most up to date market data available. The emphasis of the rent limit review was to ensure that ma...More Button

The new maximum rent limits will not change the after accommodation costs income of persons receiving rent supplement. Rather the impact of the change in the rent limits will be on the rents recei...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding family income supplement (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The query referred to by the Deputy asks whether the Minister has any plans to reform the number of hours worked eligibility criteria for the family income supplement (FIS) payment.More Button

The FIS payment provides income support for employees on low earnings with children. The payment is designed to preserve the financial incentive to take-up or remain in employment in circumstances...More Button

To qualify for payment of FIS, a person must be engaged in full-time insurable employment which is expected to last for at least 3 months and be working for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight or 1...More Button

The “hours worked” eligibility criteria has been reduced significantly since the introduction of the scheme in 1984. The requirement was initially set at 30 hours per week but was progressively red...More Button

I have no immediate plans to make any significant changes to the qualifying criteria for FIS. Further reducing the “hours worked” requirement could have expenditure implications and could only be d...More Button

Question No. 271 withdrawn.More Button

Written Answers - Company Closures

Was asked: if his attention has been drawn to the forthcoming closure of a company (details supplied) who now have only three weeks of material funding remaining; and if she will make a statement on the matte...More Button

Limerick Community Services Ltd provide a very valuable service in Limerick.More Button

Budget 2012, has resulted in the following changes being made to the Community Employment (CE) scheme: a reduction in the training and materials grants from €1,500 to €500 per participant...More Button

In relation to the reduction in the training and materials grant the Department is seeking to minimise the effects of these changes on those schemes most affected and will examine the income and ex...More Button

I have directed that a review of the financial resources of individual schemes be completed by the end of March. The purpose of the review is to examine the income and funding of sponsoring organi...More Button

Assurances have been given to community and voluntary organisations that no CE scheme will be forced to close as a result of the reductions in training and material grants, pending the completion o...More Button

Written Answers - Care of the Elderly

Was asked: the progress that has been made on implementing the national carer’s strategy as contained in the Programme for Government; if she has had any discussion with the Department of Health regardi...More Button

The national carer’s strategy does not come under the remit of my Department. The Taoiseach gave responsibility for the carer’s strategy to Minister of State in Department of Health Kat...More Button

Written Answers - Flood Relief

Was asked: when final approval will be given to a person (details supplied) in County Galway of assistance to relocate; the reason for the delay to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

As the Deputy is aware the Government has provided various types of support to people affected by the November 2009 flooding. Humanitarian Aid payments were made, both in the immediate aftermath of...More Button

Subject to certain conditions the Government also decided to provide support to a small number of families who are continuing to experience significant housing problems as a result of the November ...More Button

The household of the person concerned has been visited by an official from the Department and a report of their individual circumstances has been completed. The Department has received a report fro...More Button

A request for a review of the terms and conditions of the offer has been received from the person concerned. This review is currently being considered and it is expected that the result of the revi...More Button

Written Answers - Employment Support Services

Was asked: if, in considering measures [449]to tackle youth unemployment, she has examined the possibility of providing a youth contract or youth guarantee so that those under 25 y...More Button

The Department of Social Protection, through the wide range of schemes and interventions it provides, impacts on the lives of almost every person in the State at some stage. A number of these measu...More Button

In this regard the back to education allowance (BTEA) scheme is a second chance education opportunities scheme designed to remove the barriers to participation in second and third level education b...More Button

A BTEA applicant must be in receipt of a relevant social welfare payment and be at least 21 years of age (24 years postgraduate courses) prior to commencing an approved course of study. However, l...More Button

Changes made to rate of payment of jobseekers allowance to young people since 2009 were undertaken in order to incentivise under 25 year old jobseekers to avail of education and training opportunit...More Button

In addition JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, assists individuals to bridge the gap between unemployment and the world of work. It provides those seeking employment with an opportunity to...More Button

It is intended that both the BTEA and the internship programme will be reviewed to assess their effectiveness and the outcome of those reviews will be used to determine whether policy changes are r...More Button