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Burton, Joan

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Exceptional Needs Payments

Was asked: the total amount of savings that she expects to achieve from the abolition of exceptional needs payments for religious ceremonies; the number who received such payments in 2010, 2011, 2012 and to d...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 and unforeseen expenditure which a person c...More Button

When the former staff of the HSE, the community welfare officers, came into the Department of Social Protection about a year and a half ago, they made many comments on how they could spend scarce m...More Button

-----that we had to find savings because we were relying on others.More Button

No.More Button

The fact is we have maintained spending on social welfare at €20.3 billion. We have done that in the face of the enormous difficulties in which the Fianna Fáil Party left the country.More Button

Was asked: the average payment made under the exceptional needs payment scheme during each of the first three months of 2013.More Button

Was asked: if she will provide figures for the amount of money allocated to community welfare officers for emergency payments of utility bills such as gas, electricity, heating oil and so on in each year for ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 44 and 52 together.

 Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help ...More Button

Exceptional Needs Payments (Continued)

It is difficult to find money in the challenging economic situation left to us by the Deputy’s party.More Button

However, I have found nearly €50 million for special needs payments. The Deputy can scoff all he likes.More Button

The Deputy has a cheek.More Button

Fianna Fáil-----More Button

This year the Department of Social Protection will spend €20.3 billion. That is a figure with a lot of noughts in case Deputy Willie O’Dea had not noticed.More Button

It comes from hard-working taxpayers’ tax and PRSI payments.More Button

I will not apologise to the Deputy for having to make a decision to target that budget of €20.3 billion as best I can among older people, parents with children-----More Button

-----and the 250,000 people who, unfortunately, lost their jobs owing to Fianna Fáil’s policies after 2008.More Button

We are getting people back to work.More Button

Some 250,000 jobs were lost under Fianna Fáil.More Button

On the other hand, we are getting people back to work. Under Fianna Fáil, 250,000 jobs were lost.More Button

For the first time since 2008, we have got considerable numbers of people back to work.More Button

The Deputy has his legacy and has to live with it.More Button

May I move on to the next question?More Button

I will wait until he finishes. If he likes, I will sit down and let him rant about Fianna Fáil. Perhaps he wants to apologise. His apology is long overdue and I have not heard it from him yet. ...More Button

He is getting excited because the Ard-Fheis is near.More Button

Social Welfare Code

Was asked: the reason retained firefighters who are entitled to social welfare payments when they are not working in other employment are still having payments withheld from them.More Button

Retained firefighters are entitled to a jobseeker’s payment in respect of days they are engaged in firefighting or training. They are, however, required to satisfy the statutory conditions for the...More Button

Legislation in this area is being drafted for inclusion, as approved by the Government, in the forthcoming Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2013. For this reason, I will not go into the specific...More Button

I thank all Deputies and Senators who have been in contact with me on this issue for their patience and forbearance, as well as my colleague, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local...More Button

The practice regarding retained firefighters has its roots in an administrative decision in 1972 to disregard any day of firefighting or training when determining their entitlement to jobseeker’s b...More Button

Was asked: if she will use the opportunity of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill later this year to provide for the reimbursement to her Department by insurance companies of social welfare payments deducted...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the Department has undertaken a substantial amount of background work on this matter including direct engagement with the Personal Injuries Assessment Board and the Sta...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the Court of Justice of the EU, in the case of Servet Kamberaj v Servet Kamberaj v Istituto per l’Edilizia Sociale della Provincia autonoma di Bolza...More Button

There do not appear to be any implications for my Department from the Judgement of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in the case of Servet Kamberaj v Istituto per l’Edilizia Sociale della Provin...More Button

Jobs Protection

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the situation in the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council owned Ballyogan recycling depot, where a number of persons have been taken on to the JobBridge scheme w...More Button

The Department is in receipt of a complaint regarding the issue raised by the Deputy and is currently examining the matter.

  All allegations are taken extremely seriously; disp...More Button

I have just outlined for the Deputy an extensive set of measures that are in place. In view of the fact that more than 13,000 people who have taken part in JobBridge, the number of complaints rece...More Button

More importantly, we asked Indecon consultants to conduct very detailed research into the outcome of JobBridge, and the good news, which I am sure the Deputy will want to hear, is that over 60% o...More Button

I want to reassure the Deputy that we have an extensive system of monitoring in place, which the Deputy will find on the JobBridge site. I do not want to comment on the detail of the case, althoug...More Button

Even in Trotskyite politics it is possible-----More Button

I have every respect for them. That is why we have had 13,000 people successfully taking part in this scheme. As I told the Deputy, where allegations are made we take them extremely seriously. W...More Button

The Deputy has a letter from an individual. It concerns a company which, as he said, is in some kind of contractual relationship with Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. It is appropriate to g...More Button

Disability Allowance Payments

Was asked: her plans for the future of the domiciliary care allowance and the disability allowance in view of the advisory group on social welfare and taxation; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

At the outset I want to put on record that the Government fully recognises that the domiciliary care allowance, DCA, scheme represents a very important support to parents and guardians who live wit...More Button

DCA is now being paid in respect of 26,000 children, an increase of more than 3,000 since the Department took over responsibility for the scheme from the HSE in April 2009. Spending on the schem...More Button

Disability Allowance Payments (Continued)

The second report of the advisory group on tax and social welfare on the issue of the 2012 budget proposals regarding domiciliary allowance and domiciliary care allowance, DCA, was published by G...More Button

My colleagues in government and I will consider these findings, taking into account future developments in terms of the budgetary and fiscal situation as well as other work under way. The adviso...More Button

Just let me say, a wide group of interested organisations were represented, including the Carers Association, Down Syndrome Ireland, Irish Autism Action, Special Needs Parents Association, Inclusio...More Button

If the Deputy is familiar with parents who have children with a disability, he will understand there are a number of different issues that arise.More Button

The issue of income support is extremely important, but so is the issue that children with a disability should be facilitated to remain in education and training, particularly as teenagers, and the...More Button

The work and contributions of the organisations I listed in my response, representing families and children with disabilities, was particularly valuable. Based on their advice, we are currently ...More Button

I welcome the contribution of the Deputy to the debate and Fianna Fáil's interest in this area.More Button

I hope Fianna Fáil continues to take an interest in this area. I do not know how aware of the situation the Deputy is or how familiar he is with it. The issue for many parents of children with a ...More Button

As a society, it should be our ambition not simply to provide income support for families and individuals with a disability, but to provide structures which provide for services that allow people...More Button

We must look at the question of people's abilities rather than, as the Deputy is doing, talking in terms of the person's disability.More Button

I would like to invite Fianna Fáil to start looking at ability as well as disability.More Button

Job Initiatives

Was asked: the reason a jobs club service funded by FÁS has been withdrawn from Bawnogue, Clondalkin, Dublin; and the reason jobs club workers have not been paid for weeks worked or being offered enhanced red...More Button

Jobs clubs provide a valuable service to supplement the Department’s own employment services, particularly with regard to the provision of job search and CV preparation workshops for unemployed peo...More Button

The Department has annual contracts for the provision of jobs club services with over 40 companies. Each contract is reviewed on an annual basis. As part of the review process, the Department u...More Button

Job Initiatives (Continued)

The elements scored include conformance with good corporate governance and achievement of service and progression outcomes.

  Following an evaluation of Bawnogue Unemployed Group...More Button

As the Deputy knows, I am very familiar with the Bawnogue area. I am aware that there is a significant unemployment problem in Bawnogue and other parts of the greater Clondalkin area. At the mome...More Button

Returning to the contractual situation, I should mention that a number of the organisations that provide services to the Department of Social Protection and other Departments, including the organ...More Button

I do not particularly want to discuss private affairs in public.More Button

If the Deputy wants to advise me of any other circumstances, I will be happy to hear from him. Many economists are quite critical of jobs clubs, community employment schemes and other efforts to h...More Button

As I mentioned, I have increased the overall budget for jobs clubs this year. They are very helpful for people in areas like CV preparation. As the Deputy knows, if one has been working for 15 ...More Button

Rented Dwellings Register

Was asked: if she is considering revising the rent caps in urban areas in view of the recent reports that rents are increasing in urban areas; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if any consideration will be given to increasing the maximum level of rent in respect of which rent support will be offered with particular reference to the need to address local market issues thro...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 6 and 8 together.More Button

The Government has provided more than €403 million in 2013 for over 86,000 rent supplement recipients. The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible peop...More Button

Can I bottle that comment?More Button

Rented Dwellings Register (Continued)

I acknowledge the Deputy's analysis of an increase in rents in south County Dublin. The Department constantly checks all of the available information ranging from that on www.daft.ie t...More Button

I have spoken on a number of occasions recently about my own view that we should have a housing stimulus programme, which would address some of the issues Deputy Durkan has raised but would also he...More Button

I concur with the Deputy's sentiments. When I have met the Deputies from Kildare and when the survey is completed, I will speak about this in the House again.More Button

I thank all the Deputies who raised the issue. We are ready to transfer to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government as soon as that Department has the necessary legislativ...More Button

As the Deputy's Fianna Fáil predecessors in this office came to understand, this was exceptionally difficult to change.More Button

We have achieved a significant number of changes. I am disappointed that more local authorities have not placed more people and used the rental accommodation scheme, RAS, which gives security an...More Button

Deputy Mick Wallace is correct that one of the reasons for the rise in rents appears to be that younger couples who wish to take out mortgages are finding that the banks have been very slow to le...More Button

The review of rents is extremely extensive. Deputies need to bear in mind that rents are falling in certain counties and certain parts of the country. Some areas are experiencing very severe pr...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: when the most recent review of the income thresholds for jobseeker's allowance took place; the changes made as a result of this review, and if there were revisions or reviews of income thresholds i...More Button

Jobseeker’s allowance is a means-tested social assistance scheme operated by my Department. My Department will spend almost €3.1 billion on the scheme in 2013, which is just over 15% of its progra...More Button

Where a person or spouse is self-employed, the claimant can apply for jobseeker’s allowance if his or her business ceases or if he or she has a low income as a result of a downturn in demand for ...More Button

The Deputy has asked a very detailed question about a particular case about which he has been in touch with the Department. I suggest he provide me with further details about it or other cases and...More Button

A total of 296,000 people were in receipt of jobseeker's allowance at the end of March. The allowance is paid to a significant number of adults of working age. Compared to the means test in oth...More Button

  Written Answers follow Adjournment.More Button

Was asked: if her Department will take property tax rates into considerations when means testing income to determine if an individual is eligible for jobseeker's allowance; and if she will make a statement on...More Button

Jobseeker’s allowance is a means tested social assistance scheme operated by my Department. For means test purposes, account is taken of the income and assets of both the claimant and his or her s...More Button

  Questions Nos. 30 and 31 answered with Question No. 21.More Button

Was asked: with regards to young homeless persons on the half rate social welfare payment who are trapped in emergency accommodation if she will consider proposals that will allow these young persons to acces...More Button

The €100 rate of jobseeker’s allowance was introduced for claimants aged under 20 in April 2009, and this rate was applied to claimants aged up to 21 from December 2009. A rate of €144 applies to ...More Button

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 667 of 16 April 2013 if she will indicate if in the determination of means, specific regard was had for persons liabilities in the form of outstanding liabilit...More Button

The person concerned is in receipt of a jobseeker’s allowance payment. The means assessment is subject to the legislative provisions of that scheme. It is open to the person concerned to appeal t...More Button

Pension Provisions

I thank the Deputy for raising this very important issue. The sustainability of our pension system is of particular concern because, as a country, we have the bonus of many more people living much...More Button

In that context in April 2012, on behalf of the Government, I asked the OECD, to conduct a focused review of Ireland's pension policy, while taking economic conditions into consideration, and to ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, Fianna Fáil, when in government, commissioned numerous reports on pensions and at one stage it indicated that the old age pension would rise to €300 per week and that...More Button

Pension Provisions (Continued)

The review also shows us what other OECD countries do with comparable systems. The shared objective of everybody in this House, from all parties and none, is to provide for a sustainable pensions ...More Button

The most important incentives or the tax breaks for people who invest in private pensions reached their height under Fianna Fáil. We know of quite a number of individuals who were able to build up...More Button

I am just talking about what we have inherited. My view on tax incentives is set out in the programme for Government. I had this discussion over a long period with Fianna Fáil's former leader Mr....More Button

The programme for Government implies the State should not tax-subsidise pension provision where pensions in excess of €60,000 per year are provided for. Most pensioners listening to us will know...More Button

The Deputy referred to alignment. The issue is very simple. Only 51% of people have made private pension provision. Those who are not covered include women, lower paid workers and those who ch...More Button

Unemployment Levels

Was asked: her views on addressing the problem of under-employment across the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the way the Action Plan on Jobs 2013 will tackle the problem of underemployment; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 9 and 54 together.More Button

Underemployment is defined by the Central Statistics Office as a situation where people are working part-time, are willing to work additional hours and are actually available to work those additi...More Button

Some people classified by CSO as underemployed receive income support from my Department to supplement their earnings in employment. The number of such casual and part-time workers included in t...More Button

A key factor driving this rise in underemployment is the weak labour demand in the domestic economy. The approach to reducing underemployment is the same as that for reducing unemployment. The ...More Button

Measures of particular relevance to counteracting underemployment are those that incentivise employers to give full-time jobs to persons who are currently on the Live Register (including the unde...More Button

The Part-Time Job Incentive (PTJI) Scheme is intended as a stepping stone to full-time work partly in recognition of the reality of underemployment. It allows certain long-term unemployed people...More Button

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the Department provides income support to the underemployed to supplement their earned income, via Jobseeker’s Benefit/Jobseeker’s Allowance, provided a person is...More Button

Was asked: the arrangements she has put in place to address the issue of long-term unemployment; the extent to which she expects such measures to impact on the live register in the current year; and if she wi...More Button

The unemployment rate is currently 14.0% and while it has begun to fall after several years of increases, the rate remains unacceptably high. It is of additional concern that long-term unemployment...More Button

Money Advice and Budgeting Service Remit

Was asked: the role of the Money Advisory Bureau under the new personal insolvency regime; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

MABS, which comes within the remit of the Citizens Information Board, provides a high quality service which assists people who are over-indebted or in danger of over-indebtedness, in particular tho...More Button

Employment Support Services

Was asked: the number of staff within her Department committed to employer engagement as part of the pathways to work strategy, the use of private contractors in the INTREO activation service; the number of I...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the ‘Pathways to Work’ policy commits to the provision of more regular and on-going engagement and greater targeting of activation places and job opportunities for thos...More Button

Turning to the issue of contracting, as part of its employment service provision, the Department already contracts with other providers for the delivery of both the Local Employment Service (LES)...More Button

The Department is at present considering how it might supplement its existing delivery capacity through the further expansion of contracting. The Department has engaged external services in a va...More Button

As set out in Pathways to Work, the introduction of the new Intreo service is a multi-annual project. The first ten Intreo offices went live in 2012. These are Sligo, Arklow, Tallaght, Kings In...More Button

Expenditure on the rollout of Intreo offices to date in 2013 is estimated at €1.9 million. The estimated final cost for Intreo will be in the region of €8m. These costs are kept under close scr...More Button

Was asked: the total number of persons currently on community related training, employment or education schemes and supported by her Department in each of the past two years to date; the extent to which she e...More Button

The following table details the number of beneficiaries for each programme and this number includes those on the programme (at year-end) and those who left during that year after benefitting from a...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Data

Was asked: her views on allowing persons to avail of civil legal aid when making appeals either written or oral or both to the Social Welfare Appeals Office; her views on the need to publish the decisions of ...More Button

Was asked: if she plans to address the fact that the Appeals Office is not independent in view of the fact that it must adjudicate on decisions of her Department, of which is it a part, and appeals officers a...More Button

Was asked: if she will introduce a database of appeals decisions that would be accessible to the public in view of the fact that appeals decisions could be considered quasi-judicial in character.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 12, 47 and 51 together.

  The social welfare appeals process has a statutory basis in both primary and secondary legislation. In this context, A...More Button

Departmental Staff Data

Was asked: the number of medical assessors currently employed by her Department; if the new panel of medical assessors has now been created; the number of persons on this panel; the number of additional medic...More Button

There are currently 23 Medical Assessors employed in my Department, including the Chief Medical Adviser and the Deputy Chief Medical Adviser. All of the staff in question serve on a full-time basi...More Button

To date six Medical Assessors have been appointed from this panel, three of whom took up duty in November 2012 and a further three in March of this year. Four of those placed on the panel have s...More Button

I place great emphasis on ensuring that all claims are processed and reviewed in a timely manner and I’m very pleased that the Department has been able to fill these critical vacancies and to fro...More Button

Was asked: the number of unfilled positions within her Department and their titles; and the dates on which she expects to fill these positions.More Button

The Department’s Employment Control Framework (ECF) figure, set by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER), for the total number of full time equivalent posts was set at 6,610 for 20...More Button

Staff redeployment is handled in such a manner as to ensure that the Department continues to meet its functions and serves its customer’s needs in an efficient and timely manner. The Department ...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Places

Was asked: if she will provide an update on the introduction of a community employment programme for those who wish to become childcare providers; the number of places that will be available and their locatio...More Button

The Department of Social Protection is improving the provision of training and work experience for CE participants on Community Employment overall. Supports for Childcare Providers are a matter fo...More Button

Was asked: if she will provide details on the operation of the proposed local authority community employment scheme; if she will provide the timetable for its roll out; and if she will make a statement on the...More Button

The Government, as part of the Budget package for 2013, announced a number of initiatives focused on providing work opportunities for those currently unemployed. One element of this package is the...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Waiting Times

Was asked: the average waiting time for finalisation of cases in the SWAO; the number of applicants during each of the years between 2008 and 2012 who waited for the finalisation of their case more than three...More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that the current average times taken to process appeals decided by summary decision is 27.1 weeks and 36.4 weeks for those requiring an oral hearin...More Button

Was asked: the average length of time taken to process appeals for means-tested or health-related social welfare payments in each of the past three years to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The average time taken to process appeals for means-tested or health-related social welfare payments in each of the past three years to date is given in the following Table. These processing times...More Button

Proposed Legislation

Was asked: the date on which she will introduce the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare and Pensions (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2013 will provide for amendments to the social welfare code arising from Budget 2013 and from policy, administrative, operational and...More Button

Social Welfare Eligibility

Was asked: if she will provide figures for the number of persons who have had their unemployment assistance and unemployment benefit cut because her Department was not satisfied that sufficient effort was bei...More Button

A jobseeker claim can be disallowed where the customer fails to meet the conditions of the scheme, including the requirement to be available for full-time work and genuinely seeking work. Continue...More Button

Child Care Services Provision

Was asked: her views on whether a Scandinavian model of childcare could be adapted to an Irish context; her plans to develop same; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that I believe the provision of adequate childcare is essential to support parents and especially those parenting alone to take up employment. Employment offers the best p...More Button

The rate of subsidy for the scheme is €35 per week rate of subvention and a parental contribution of €20 per week per child. During school holidays the subvention rate will increase to €100 per w...More Button

Social Welfare Rates

Was asked: the extent to which she expects to be in a position to meet the budgetary requirements of her Department without the imposition of extra curtailments in respect of payments to social welfare recipi...More Button

Thee Estimates for the Department of Social Protection as published in the 2013 Revised Estimates (REV) provides for expenditure of €20.243 billion on schemes, services and administration in 2013. ...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware Ireland is in the final year of the EU-IMF Programme of Financial Support. The references to financial targets in the agreement relate to the overall fiscal consolida...More Button

In relation to Budget 2014, the Deputy will be aware that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's Expenditure Report 2013 published by Government last December provides for additional n...More Button

Rural Social Scheme Applications

Was asked: if she will outline the maximum duration that a participant can stay in rural social scheme employment; her views on situations that have now developed whereby participants are on such schemes inde...More Button

The rural social scheme provides income support for farmers and those engaged in fishing who have an entitlement to specified social welfare payments. Participation on the scheme is not intended t...More Button

National Internship Scheme Placements

Was asked: the date on which she will publish the evaluation report on the JobBridge scheme.More Button

Was asked: her plans to ensure that a host organisation benefiting from free labour through the JobBridge scheme makes a financial contribution to the weekly payments made to participants; the date on which t...More Button

Was asked: following the Indecon Report into the JobsBridge scheme which revealed that 240 of the 7,300 companies surveyed admitted to availing of the scheme to displace paid jobs, the reason that only 12 com...More Button

Was asked: the number of persons who have participated in the JobBridge scheme in the private sector; the number of those persons who remained in employment within the company in which they completed a JobBri...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21, 27, 30 and 31 together.More Button

Since it commenced on 1st July, 2011, Jobbridge has made good progress. As at 18 April, 2013, 16,545 jobseekers had commenced internships since the scheme was launched. Currently there are c 6,...More Button

Indecon’s interim report, published last year, found that 61% of interns secured employment either with their host organisation or another employer within 5 months of finishing an internship. Th...More Button

Of those individuals who undertook their internships in private sector host organisations, 54.1% were in employment at the time of the research (this includes interns who had just completed their...More Button

With regard to the issue of displacement the Department has taken all reasonable steps to minimise displacement of existing paid employment by internships. The terms of the scheme prohibit the u...More Button

The Department’s own control measures are based on a combination of randomised monitoring visits/inspections with host organisations and on investigation of complaints received from interns. As ...More Button

Was asked: the time frame a person has to be in receipt of a job seeker's payment prior to being eligible for placement on an internship through the jobBridge National Internship Programme; if the same timefr...More Button

Since it commenced on 1 July, 2011, Jobbridge has made exceptional progress. At 18 April, 2013, 16,545 people had commenced internships, 5,947 individuals were on internships and 2,452 internship ...More Button

Jobbridge is limited to individuals who are in receipt of a Live claim (Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit/One Parent Family Payment/Disability Allowance) or are signing on for credits for a...More Button

JobBridge has been launched in this targeted way to allocate scarce exchequer resources to make maximum impact for long term unemployment while ensuring that it does not replace or displace the n...More Button

Child Benefit Rates

Was asked: her plans for the future of child benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Child benefit is a universal payment that assists parents with the cost of raising children and it contributes towards alleviating child poverty. The estimated expenditure on child benefit in 2013 ...More Button

Achieving a better design of the overall system of child income supports, including child benefit, raises complex issues about the effectiveness and the efficiency of the full range of income sup...More Button

This report makes important recommendations on how child benefit could be maintained as a universal payment while reforming the current system of child and family income supports so as to better ...More Button

Given the range of complex issues involved, including fiscal, operational and legal considerations, as well as the implications for reforms in terms of child poverty and employment incentive outc...More Button

Departmental Reports

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 92 of 5 March 2013, the date on which the social impact assessment of the taxation and welfare changes announced in Budget 2013 was completed; the date on whic...More Button

My department published the Social Impact Assessment of Budget 2013 on 28 March 2013. The assessment covers the main welfare and direct tax measures in Budget 2013, which generated savings/revenue ...More Button

Was asked: if her Department has conducted any research on identifying a minimum essential standard of living; if she will provide the results of this research and the methodology used; and if she will make a...More Button

The Department has not directly undertaken research on identifying a minimum essential standard of living for households. However, as part of its overall function of research into poverty and soci...More Button

  Question No. 51 answered with Question No. 12.More Button

  Question No. 52 answered with Question No. 44.More Button

  Question No. 53 answered with Question No. 42More Button

Parliamentary Questions Numbers

Was asked: if she has instructed staff in her Department to routinely request the withdrawal of Parliamentary Questions before they are officially responded to; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The practice of withdrawing Parliamentary Questions (PQs) has been in place for over 20 years and has assisted the Department to cope with the large volume of PQs it receives annually. The Departm...More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Was asked: the steps she is taking to allow self employed persons who are seeking work but ineligible for a social assistance payment to be eligible for schemes or employment when being on the live register i...More Button

Given the scale of the unemployment crisis, the key objective of activation policy and labour market initiatives is to offer assistance to those in need of support in securing work and achieving fi...More Button

It should also be noted that the State is funding over 450,000 in further education, higher education and training, namely:More Button

- 75,000 FÁS training places.More Button

- 180,000 Further Education places, 162,000 of which are full-time Higher Education places provided in Universities and Institutes of Technology across the country.More Button

- Over 40,000 training places through Skillnets, including 8,000 for the unemployed, in partnership with private employers.More Button

- The Momentum initiative provides free education and training projects for up to 6,500 long-term unemployed jobseekers.More Button

- Over 6,000 Springboard, free part-time higher education, places in 2012, with additional places to be announced for this year.More Button

Eligibility for accessing many of these interventions is not contingent on receipt of a social welfare payment or signing for credited contributions. Extension of the initiative to those not ass...More Button

Was asked: the extent to which previously the self-employed have been facilitated by way of social welfare payment and support; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Self-employed persons are liable for PRSI at the Class S rate of 4% which entitles them to access long-term benefits such as State pension (contributory) and widow's, widower's or surviving civil p...More Button

Self-employed workers may establish eligibility to assistance-based payments such as jobseeker’s allowance. They can apply for the means-tested jobseeker’s allowance if their business ceases or ...More Button

Recipients of jobseeker’s allowance can, subject to satisfying the requisite qualifying conditions, access a range of employment support measures designed to encourage and support social welfar...More Button

Youth Guarantee

Was asked: the progress she has made on implementing a youth guarantee scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the details of her implementation plan of the Youth Guarantee; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 48 together.

The EU Council Recommendation on a Youth Guarantee received political agreement at the EPSCO Council mee...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to Focus Ireland's proposal to introduce a Youth Guarantee; if she will provide education, training and support for young persons experiencing homelessness; her view...More Button

The €100 rate of jobseeker’s allowance was introduced for claimants aged under 20 in April 2009, and this rate was applied to claimants aged up to 21 from December 2009. A rate of €144 applies to c...More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Waiting Times

Was asked: if she will state for each payment issued by the schemes administered by her Department the processing time that it is currently taking to process these from the date of application to the final de...More Button

The Department is committed to ensuring that claims are processed as expeditiously as possible. The Table below provides details of processing times for each of the Department’s schemes in March 2...More Button

National Internship Scheme Administration

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the situation in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council owned Ballyogan Recycling Depot, aat which a number of persons have been taken on to the JobsBridge scheme ...More Button

The Department is in receipt of a complaint regarding the issue raised by the Deputy and is currently examining the matter. All allegations are taken extremely seriously; displacement of existi...More Button

The whole purpose of Jobbridge is to encourage job creation and to incentivise employers to offer opportunities to unemployed people. It runs counter to the logic of the scheme that it should b...More Button

- The host organisation may not provide an internship opportunity under the Scheme to an individual with whom they have an existing employment relationship More Button

- The host organisation cannot advertise internships if they have paid employment vacancies in the area of activity in which the internship is offered.More Button

- The total number of internships which may be availed of by a host organisation is limited to 1 in 10 of their workforce or, in the case of very large employers, an absolute limit of 200 staff.More Button

- Organisations must abide by a six-month cooling-off period between internships; in other words an organisation cannot ‘roll-over’ internships on a continuous basis. This limits the ability of an...More Button

- The host organisation must commit to provide coaching and mentoring to the interns and to complete monthly compliance returns to the Department of Social ProtectionMore Button

- All applications from host organisations to advertise internships are reviewed and assessed against these criteria by the Department’s National Contact Centre in Edenderry. More Button

- The Department of Social Protection proactively monitors internships on an ongoing basis. This involves the regular review of monthly compliance reports and the conduct of random monitoring si...More Button

- All complaints received from interns or members of the public are investigated. In addition to the regular monitoring regime, 275 complaints have warranted investigation since the Scheme commen...More Button

- To date 15 host organisations found to have breached the scheme criteria have been excluded from further participation in the Scheme.More Button

I am satisfied that the design of the scheme together with the intensive monitoring regime operated by the Department minimises the level of displacement and acts to protect the interests of host...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding the continuation of the JobBridge scheme for the remainder of 2013 (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Since it commenced on 1 July, 2011, Jobbridge has made exceptional progress. At 18 April, 2013, 16,545 had commenced internships, 5,947 individuals were on internships and 2,452 internship opportu...More Button

Departmental Properties

Was asked: the number and locations through which her Department operates; the amount being paid in rent for each unit for each of the past three years; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department delivers it services from approximately 970 locations throughout the country. A database which provides the locations of these offices is available on request. The payment of rent ...More Button

Redundancy Payments

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 110 of 5 March 2013, in which she stated that a person must be employed for 104 weeks before they have a reasonable attachment to employment in order to receiv...More Button

The purpose of the redundancy payments scheme is to compensate workers, under the Redundancy Payments Acts, for the loss of their jobs by reason of redundancy. Under the scheme, an eligible employ...More Button

In order to be eligible for a statutory redundancy payment, an employee must: be in employment which is insurable under the Social Welfare Acts; be over the age of 16; and have been made redundan...More Button

Was asked: the date on which her Department’s website will reinstate the practice of showing a statistical breakdown of redundancy figures based on industry, county and gender.More Button

At present, the Department is not in a position to provide a breakdown of the redundancy statistics by county, sector or gender. Work on the reporting facility of the redundancy payments system is...More Button

  Question No. 40 answered with Question No. 38.More Button

Gender Recognition

Was asked: the date on which she will introduce gender recognition legislation.More Button

The Gender Recognition Advisory Group (GRAG) was established in 2010 to advise the Government on the legislation required to give legal recognition to More Button

the acquired gender of transgender persons. The Group engaged in a public consultation exercise which provided organisations and individuals with theMore Button

opportunity to contribute their comments and proposals.More Button

The Report of the Group, which recommended a scheme for the legal recognition of transgender persons, was approved by the Government on 12 July 2011, and was subsequently published on 14 July 2011....More Button

The formal opinion of the Attorney General was received in December 2012 and is currently under consideration by officials in this Department with a view to progressing the draft Heads of the Bil...More Button

Anti-Poverty Strategy

Was asked: if she will provide an update on the implementation of the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the progress that has been made on the Programme for Government objective of eliminating poverty; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 38 and 40 together.More Button

The National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007-2016 (NAPinclusion) identifies a wide range of targeted actions and interventions to achieve the overall objective of reducing consistent povert...More Button

Following a comprehensive review in 2012, the Government revised the national social target for poverty reduction. The revised target is to reduce consistent poverty to 4 per cent by 2016 (inter...More Button

The Department recently published, for the first time, a “Social Inclusion Monitor” using the latest data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) to report on progress towards the national socia...More Button

The Deputies will appreciate that it is too early to draw firm conclusions on the extent to which poverty can be reduced over the coming years. However, the Government expects that effective and...More Button

Social Welfare Offices

Was asked: if she will outline her discussions in relation to the Office of Public Works and the advancing of her commitment to open a social welfare office in the Lucan area of County Dublin; if her attentio...More Button

Was asked: her plans to develop a one stop shop for social welfare recipients in the Clondalkin, Palmerstown and Lucan areas of County Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 42 and 53 together.

  The Department is committed to providing new Intreo Centres in these areas. The Office of Public Works (OPW) i...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Administration

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that in 2011, almost one in five decisions in social welfare appeals was overturned by getting the original deciding officer to revise their original dec...More Button

Decisions on statutory social welfare schemes are made by statutorily appointed Deciding Officers (DO). The DO must satisfy him/herself that the person:More Button

- is aware of all the information that could adversely affect his/her entitlement;More Button

- was given an opportunity to comment and to submit any facts or information to correct any inaccuracy or incompleteness in the information; andMore Button

- any comments made by the person are clearly and fully considered before a decision is made.More Button

DOs and others involved in the process will assist claimants as far as possible in making their applications but, as a matter of law, the burden of providing evidence to support a claim rests with ...More Button

Disqualifications and disallowances are issued to the customer in writing. The disallowance/disqualification reasons and grounds are outlined clearly and are sufficient to enable the appellant t...More Button

6,035 of the appeals finalised in 2011 were revised decisions made by DOs who reviewed the claim following the initial disallowance. This figure illustrates that the review process is well under...More Button

The Department processes in excess of two million claims each year and it makes payments to over one million people every week. It is important to emphasise that the staff in this Department are...More Button

  Question No. 47 answered with Question No. 12.More Button

  Question No. 48 answered with Question No. 26.More Button

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Was asked: if she will provide clarification on the situation concerning those mothers working in the home and their ability to receive a token social welfare payment which would allow them to access communit...More Button

The core eligibility criterion for CE is that the person is in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment, as defined on the Department’s website. This requirement is based on Government polic...More Button

Home Care Packages

Was asked: the status of a home care package payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

This is a matter for my colleague in the Department of Health.More Button

Respite Care Grant

Was asked: if she will reverse the 19% cut to the respite care grant and actively support the campaign by carers to give carer's a breakMore Button

The contribution that people provide in caring for members of their own family is critical for society. It was for that reason that the Government last year adopted the National Carers’ Strategy w...More Button

Carers receive significant income supports from the Department of Social Protection so that people can continue living at home as far as possible. Expenditure on carers has increased significant...More Button

I am not in a position to reverse the reduction to the respite care grant. The revised rate of €1,375 will still be more than what it was in 2006 when the rate was €1,200. The respite care grant ...More Button

The supports available to carers in Ireland are among the highest rates of income support in Europe. A person getting certain qualifying payments and also providing full-time care and attention ...More Button

Child Benefit Policy

Was asked: her plans for the future of child benefit;; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Child benefit is a universal payment that assists parents with the cost of raising children and it contributes towards alleviating child poverty. The estimated expenditure on child benefit in 2013...More Button

This report makes important recommendations on how child benefit could be maintained as a universal payment while reforming the system of child and family income supports so as to better target t...More Button

Given the range of complex issues involved, the Government has made no decision at this time on the core recommendations of the report. It is intended that the report will now contribute to a wi...More Button

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the situation regarding a carers allowance application in respect of a person (details provided) details supplied in County Cork; 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 referred to an Appeals Officer on 12 March 2013 who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on t...More Button

Was asked: when a decision will be made in relation to an appeal for carer’s allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 26 October 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

Ministerial Travel

Was asked: if she will report on her visit to Chicago; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The St Patrick’s Day period offers an unparalleled opportunity to showcase Ireland abroad, promote our political and economic interests, and demonstrate our strengths as a location for trade and in...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: if she will review a jobseeker's allowance granted to a person (details supplied) in County Cork; 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 referred to an Appeals Officer on 1 March 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on t...More Button

One-Parent Family Payment Applications

Was asked: the position regarding an application for social welfare in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned applied for One-Parent Family Payment on 11 April 2013. The application is currently with a Social Welfare Inspector for investigation and she will be notified of the outcome a...More Button

Homeless Persons Supports

Was asked: the action is being taken by her Department to provide assistance to young persons who are homeless to ensure they do not become trapped in emergency accommodation; and if she will make a statement...More Button

The €100 rate of jobseeker’s allowance was introduced for claimants aged under 20 in April 2009, and this rate was applied to claimants aged up to 21 from December 2009. A rate of €144 applies to c...More Button

I understand that the Deputy has been contacted with regard to these measures by Focus Ireland. My officials are in contact with Focus Ireland in relation to their concerns. While the primary is...More Button

Mortgage Resolution Processes

Was asked: if she will consider widening the pool of reference related to social welfare recipients in mortgage arrears to include experienced financial brokers and not solely accountants as currently propose...More Button

The Mortgage Arrears Information and Advice Service was established to provide a comprehensive and coordinated approach to assist people in mortgage distress. The approach differentiates between mo...More Button

When a lender is proposing a longer-term mortgage resolution, the lender advises the borrower to obtain independent financial advice on the proposed arrangement and that, if the borrower wishes t...More Button

There is nothing to inhibit other financial intermediaries from continuing to give advice on mortgages as required by borrowers. The advisory framework is being monitored on an on-going basis an...More Button

Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: if any of her Department’s 2012 capital expenditure allocation was used for current expenditure purposes last year, the amount used for this purpose; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if she will provide the month by month profile for her Department's 2013 capital expendiuture; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 and 128 together.

  The Department of Social Protection’s capital allocation for 2012 was not used for current expenditure purposes in 2012. ...More Button

  Question No. 129 withdrawn.More Button

International Agreements

Was asked: if there is a mutual tax/social welfare agreement between Ireland and Canada which would allow a returning emigrant to have a disability payment being paid to them in Ontario, Canada, to be paid in...More Button

A bilateral Social Security Agreement between Ireland and Canada came into force on 1 January 1992, (Statutory Instrument No. 317 of 1991). The main purpose of the Agreement is to protect the pens...More Button

One of the provisions of this agreement is that certain payments payable by the authorities in one country, can be paid even if the person concerned lives in the other country. Without more inf...More Button

Finally, if the person does not qualify under either of the above arrangements, if he returns to Ireland it would be open to him to apply for a non-contributory Disability Allowance, which is mea...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Was asked: the reason rent supplement was suspended in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; if all documentation has been received in this instances; if she will outline when payment wil...More Button

Rent Supplement was suspended as the person’s primary payment was suspended. As this suspension has now been lifted Rent Supplement is back in payment.More Button

Was asked: the maximum rent allowance to avail of rent support in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; if all arrears of rent support are up to date in this instance; and if she will mak...More Button

The maximum rent limit for the person concerned is €690 per month. Arrears are due to issue this week together with this month’s payment. More Button

  Questions Nos. 135 to 137, inclusive, withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: if she will consider increasing rent support for recipients living in areas affected by higher rent markets; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

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

Disability Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the progress that was made on a persons disability allowance appeal (details supplied) 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 27 February 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that...More Button

Was asked: if she will expedite the medical referee decision on disability benefit for 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 26th November 2012. It is a statutory requirement of the ap...More Button

Was asked: if a disability allowance will be paid to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer having fully considered all the available evidence, including that adduced at oral hearing, allowed the appeal of the perso...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 welfar...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 646 of 17 April 2013, if she will clarify a person's eligibility for rent allowance in a situation in which has left their home which is jointly owned/rented w...More Button

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

  Question No. 139 withdrawn.More Button

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Was asked: the position regarding an application for invalidity pension (details supplied)More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 2 April 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on t...More Button

Was asked: if she will provide an update on an appeal for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick and a time frame as to when a decision will be made;; and if she will ...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 2 January 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Applications

Was asked: the number of applications for various social welfare payments such as disability benefit, disability allowance, invalidity pension or other means-tested or health-related payments which have been ...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is not collated by my Department. However I include, for the Deputy’s information, a table detailing the number of means-tested or health-related payments t...More Button

Was asked: the total number of applications for disability allowance/invalidity pension approved on application, refused on application and/or subsequently awarded and/or approved on appeal in each of the pas...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is contained in the following tabular statement.

Disability Allowance

More Button

Was asked: the number of applications for health-related social welfare payments approved on application or referred to appeal in each of the past three years to date; and if she will make a statement on the ...More Button

All applications for Social Welfare payments are considered on the merits of the information supplied by the applicant. In the event of an application failing to satisfy the eligibility criteria f...More Button

Was asked: the number of applications for rent allowance refused or reduced in each of the past two years to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the total number of persons in receipt of mortgage interest supplement in each of the past two years to date; the number who have had reductions in this payment in the period in question for whatev...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 148 and 149 together.

  The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented ac...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Application Numbers

Was asked: the number of applications for domiciliary care allowance received in each of the past five years to date; the number approved, rejected or pending; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department has been accepting new claims for DCA since 1 April 2009. Statistics relating to the allowance for the period prior to April 2009 are a matter for the HSE, the previous administrato...More Button

Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: the total number of persons who have given up employment to care for a relative and who have subsequently been awarded State pension-related credits over the past four years to date; and if she wil...More Button

I can confirm that the Department does not hold records of those persons who have given up work entirely in order to care for someone nor does it hold records as to whether the carer is related to ...More Button

Social Welfare Overpayments

Was asked: the number of overpayments of a social welfare payment and or allowance wherein the overpayment that occurred was not the fault of the applicant; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

My Department categorises overpayments as fraud, non-fraud and estate cases. Fraud cases arise mainly on foot of false declarations by customers concerning their employment, income or family statu...More Button

My Department endeavours to seek the maximum level of repayments from customers in order to encourage prompt repayment of all debts. My Department is fully committed to recovering 100% of all ov...More Button

Youth Unemployment Measures

Was asked: the specific arrangements she has put in place to address the issue of youth unemployment; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Young people, typically, suffer disproportionately from job losses in recessions as they tend to have entered employment more recently, are more likely to hold temporary contracts and to be employe...More Button

Youth Unemployment Data

Was asked: the extent to which youth unemployment currently reflected in the live register is likely to be affected by her proposals to address the issue of youth unemployment; and if she will make a statemen...More Button

The latest published figures show there were some 66,552 young people under 25 years of age signing on the Live Register in March 2013. This represents a 9% decrease from twelve months previously ...More Button

The Government’s policies in relation to youth unemployment are set out in reply to a separate question from the Deputy for answer today (Ref no.19401-13).More Button

The most recently published official forecasts are that the overall unemployment rate is expected to fall to 13% by the end of 2015, which would imply a youth unemployment rate of 25-27% as compa...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Cork may expect a decision on their claim for domiciliary care allowance which is on appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from the person concerned on the 10th October 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who ...More Button

As part of the appeal process, the case has been forwarded to another of the Department’s Medical Assessors for further consideration, including a review of any new information supplied. Upon re...More Button

Illness Benefit Appeals

Was asked: when an appeal for illness benefit will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter.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 she was cap...More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that, following receipt of the grounds of appeal from the person concerned, the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the ...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 welfar...More Button

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to correspondence (details supplied ) and if there are plans to bring the State contributory pension within the standard PAYE taxing procedures; and if she will make...More Button

When State pension is awarded, officials in my Department inform the claimant in writing that the pension is regarded as taxable income for income tax purposes and that liability for tax will depen...More Button

I have noted the relevant correspondence. However, the collection of taxes is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners and any changes to current arrangements is a matter for the Minister for Finan...More Button

Was asked: if she will review criteria on which the contributory pension is awarded to self-employed people who have an outstanding PRSI liability by ensuring that the pension is awarded from the date the per...More Button

The Revenue Commissioners are the primary collection agents of the Department in relation to PRSI. Income tax and PRSI payable by a self-employed contributor is treated as one aggregate sum in ac...More Button

I have no plans to change these conditions relating to the award of pensions. The State pension is a very valuable asset and it is important, therefore, that those who claim a State pension have...More Button

The recently published Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund found that self-employed persons enjoy greater value from the payment of social insurance than employed persons, in particular...More Button

  Questions Nos. 164 to 166, inclusive, withdrawn.More Button


 

 

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