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Burton, Joan

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Household Benefits

Was asked: her view on the new Electric Ireland policy being implemented in September 2013; the way this will effect saved electrical units; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In 2013, my Department will spend an estimated €284 million on the household benefits scheme, providing some 410,000 customers with a package worth almost €700 per year. More Button

The structure of the electricity and gas allowance was changed from a unit based allowance to a cash credit which is currently €35 per month. This rate is aligned to the best average market rate...More Button

The new arrangement represents a significant improvement in the options available for customers. Customers who do not use their full entitlement each month will be able to carry forward that unu...More Button

As regards the old non-cash units, a number of customers have unused units which they have carried over from 2012. These customers may use these unused units up to the end of September, 2013. My...More Button

Was asked: if she has examined the possibility of seeking a reduction in the total cost to her Department of the free television licence scheme due to the bulk-buy nature of her Department's purchase of licen...More Button

Was asked: if her Department is currently reimbursed in circumstances where her Department discovers an overpayment which includes the overpayment of a free television licence; and will set out the arrangemen...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 223 and 224 together.More Button

There are currently 408,626 customers in receipt of the free television licence as part of the household benefits package at year end 2012, with an expenditure of €57,184,565. Payments to the De...More Button

The customer base has grown from 394,030 in 2010 to its current level of 408,626. To maintain the cap on expenditure, this Department is currently making fixed monthly payments, in line with tha...More Button

Social Insurance Issues

Was asked: the position of working proprietary directors and PRSI; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The determination of the employment status and therefore the PRSI Class applicable to working directors has been the subject of challenges, court judgments and legal advices. As a result, the De...More Button

I would hope that I would be in a position to bring forward proposals to address this complex area shortly.More Button

Carer's Allowance Applications

Was asked: if she will review an application for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow; and if she will expedite a positive reply.More Button

I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 12th of October 2012. The person concerned was refused carers allowance on the 4t...More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Carlow has had their carer's allowance for the care of their 81 year old mother suspended.More Button

I confirm that the Department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on 14 May 2012. The application was awarded on 4 of March 2013. All arrears of allowance du...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will receive arrears of carer's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I confirm that the Department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on 14 December 2011. The application was awarded on 28 November 2012 payable from 14 of June...More Button

Rural Social Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: if a person (details supplied) in County Limerick will be considered for employment under the rural social scheme; if they meet the qualifying criteria; and if he will issue an application form for...More Button

The purpose of the rural social scheme is to provide income support for farmers and those engaged in fishing who have an entitlement to specified social welfare payments. Participants are engaged ...More Button

Widow's Pension Applications

Was asked: when an application for a non-contributory widows pension will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that following an oral hearing of the case in question, the Appeals Officer has referred the case back to a Social Welfare Inspector for further i...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

  Question No. 201 withdrawn.More Button

Disability Allowance Applications

Was asked: when a decision will be made on an application for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. More Button

I can confirm that an application for disability allowance (DA) was received from the person concerned on 21 May 2012. The application was referred to a social welfare investigator (SWI) for a m...More Button

Pension Provisions

Was asked: if she will confirm that her Department accepts no liability regarding the Labour Court recommendations, LCR19293, regarding the provisions of pension benefits of supervisors and assistant supervis...More Button

The Labour Court recommended in July 2008 that an agreed pension scheme should be introduced for community employment (CE) scheme supervisors and assistant supervisors, and that such a scheme sho...More Button

The Deputy should note that FÁS, under which CE operated at that time, was not the employer of CE supervisors and such employees are not public servants. Neither was FÁS a party to the Labour Co...More Button

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Was asked: if she will approve and expedite an invalidity pension appeal in respect of 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 30th April 2013, who will make a summary decision on th...More Button

Was asked: if she will provide an update on an application for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and if she will expedite a decision on this application.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

Disability Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: the maximum duration a recipient of disability allowance may remain outside the State in order to remain entitled to their payment.More Button

There is no specific legislative provision for disability allowance to be paid to persons living outside the State. More Button

There have been some instances where, in exceptional circumstances, disability allowance has been paid to persons for periods where they were undergoing medical treatment outside the State. In ad...More Button

Disability Allowance Appeals

Was asked: if she will provide an update regarding to an appeal for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11.More Button

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

Was asked: when a decision will be made on a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (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 provide an update on the status of an application for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7; and if she will make a statement on the matter.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. The p...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Administration

Was asked: if any community welfare officers employed by her Department issued rent allowance from her Department's funds, or previously from funds from the Department of Health via the Health Service Executi...More Button

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

Under the legislative provisions governing rent supplement, the Department’s relationship is with the tenant; the tenant makes the application for rent supplement and payment is made to the tenan...More Button

There is nothing in legislation which prohibits payment of rent supplement to a tenant whose landlord is an officer administering supplementary welfare allowance. Statistics on any such cases are...More Button

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Payments

Was asked: if she will supply the names of furniture shops that received payments from those in receipt of the new accommodation grant scheme to purchase furniture and other household items; if there is a reg...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

ENPs are payable at the discretion of the officers administering the SWA scheme taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case in order to ...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: the basis on which an application for jobseeker's allowance was refused in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9; if she will provide details of the means assessment carried out in res...More Button

The person concerned applied for jobseeker’s allowance from 9 April 2013 and was assessed with means of €169.41 per week arising from his parents’ income. As these weekly means exceed the maximum w...More Button

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: when a decision will issue on a carer's allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford in view of the fact that a minor error was made on the original application; an...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 3 December 2012. 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 welfar...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

Was asked: if she will approve an application for rent supplement in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned has had Rent Supplement approved – payment is due to issue on 02/May 13.More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: the provision that exists to make rent allowance available to a person (details supplied) in County Sligo, who find themselves with their name still on a mortgage but no longer enjoying the benefit...More Button

In order to be considered for a rent supplement payment, the person in question must first be assessed by a housing authority as having a housing need. The person concerned was advised of this by t...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an application for domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application for domiciliary care allowance was received from the person concerned on the 14th December 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who found...More Button

The person concerned has now supplied additional information and an appeal will be registered in this case. As part of the appeal process, the case will be forwarded to another of the Department...More Button

Was asked: with regard to an application for domiciliary care which was received by her Department on 10 May 2012, refused and subsequently went for appeal in February 2013 (details supplied) in County Donega...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. Under...More Button

Following the submission of additional evidence the Appeals Officer has agreed to hold an oral hearing in this case which will be scheduled for the last week of May. The person concerned will be...More Button

Departmental Funding

Was asked: if she will provide a guarantee that her Department will continue providing funding for the maintenance of MABS offices nationwide; if she will further guarantee that no reduction of this funding w...More Button

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service ( MABS), under the aegis of the Citizens Information Board, provides a high quality personal service to assist people who are over-indebted and need help and ...More Button

There has been no reduction in the funding provided to the Citizens Information Board which is responsible for delivering critical elements of Government business, notably in the provision of inf...More Button

The Citizens Information Board is responsible for ensuring that all appropriate governance arrangements are in place in relation to the expenditure of these public funds. It is essential that thi...More Button

An important element of assessing accountability is through the formal agreement of Service Level Agreements. These are annual contracts between the CIB and the 96 separate companies, which provi...More Button

There had been no reduction in funding to the individual MABS services and the Citizens Information Board continues to engage with the MABS network to resolve any outstanding issues relating the ...More Button

Personal Public Service Numbers

Was asked: the reason the delays in the issuing of PPS numbers, which is now taking between ten and 12 weeks, causing enormous problems for staff in new employment who are paying emergency tax forcing them in...More Button

The Personal Public Service Number (PPS Number) is the individual’s unique reference number for all dealings with Government Departments and public bodies.More Button

A PPS Number is automatically issued in the case of children born in Ireland. In other cases PPS Numbers are issued following a controlled allocation procedure which takes approximately 20 minut...More Button

In circumstances where a person is not resident in the State, but requires a PPS Number, s/he, or someone acting on his or her behalf, must apply by post to the Department submitting the required...More Button

The vast majority of such requests are for reasons such as probate or property purchase. However some requests are from individuals who are employed outside of the State by an Irish employer and...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Was asked: in view of the non-payment of rent supplement to a landlord by a rent supplement recipient, the procedures, if any, in place whereby a landlord may recoup rent supplement owed to him or whereby the...More Button

Was asked: in view of the non-payment of rent supplement to a landlord by a rent supplement recipient, if her attention has been drawn to the number of cases where rent supplement is not passed on to the land...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 218 and 219 together.More Button

The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are currently approximately 86,000 rent...More Button

Under the legislative provisions governing rent supplement, the Department’s relationship is with the tenant; the tenant makes the application for rent supplement and payment is made to the tenan...More Button

It is open to the landlord to bring to the attention of the Department any instance where they suspect that a tenant is receiving rent supplement and is not paying their rent. Where the Departme...More Button

Farm Assist Scheme Appeals

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will receive a decision on their appeal for farm assist; 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 23rd April 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that ...More Button

  Question No. 221 withdrawn.More Button

State Pension Reform

Was asked: if she has any plans to compel employers to maintain the employment of citizens beyond the age of 65, should they choose to do so, in view of the fact that pension entitlements to this group have b...More Button

The recently published OECD report on the Review of the Irish Pension System confirms that reforms are necessary if we are to continue to put pension provision on a sustainable footing given the ch...More Button

The abolition of State pension transition and the standardisation of the pension age at 66 from 2014 is part of a series of measures aimed at improving the sustainability of pensions in the futur...More Button

Existing legislation provides that, social welfare supports, such as job seekers benefits, will continue to be available to those who meet the qualifying conditions of the schemes available. Fur...More Button

There is no statutory compulsory retirement age for employees in Ireland. In relation to the employment relationship, responsibility for setting retirement age is a matter for the employer/emplo...More Button

An interdepartmental Working and Retirement Group was initiated to consider the cross departmental policy issues arising that may support longer working and thereby improve the sustainability and...More Button

The issues under consideration are the broad range of issues impacting on the labour market participation of older workers; enterprise issues, employment and equality law issues; proposals regard...More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Was asked: if she will indicate the legislation that governs the invitation of a social welfare recipient to an interview under caution; the wording (details supplied) prescribed in law; the effort made to ad...More Button

Chapter 3 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005 provides for the appointment and duties of Social Welfare Inspectors (SWIs) and, in general terms, requires SWIs to investigate and report t...More Button

When the person attends for interview under caution they are advised at the outset that the notes of the interview will be recorded. The person is also advised that they may leave or terminate t...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Was asked: the position regarding a social welfare appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo, if it will be expedited owing to the financial difficulties the applicant is in; and if she ...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 28 February 2013. 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 welfar...More Button

Mortgage Schemes

Was asked: her plans to include mortgage brokers/financial brokers as part of a new advisory service for mortgage holders in difficulty which was announced last September; and if she will make a statement on ...More Button

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

The approach differentiates between mortgage information and mortgage advice. The first two elements involve the enhancement of the website www.keepingyourhome.ie and the establishment of a Mort...More Button

The third element of the service is the provision of independent financial advice to mortgage holders who are being presented with long term mortgage resolution proposals by their lenders. This ...More Button

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

The advisory framework has commenced with practicing accountants because they already operate within a regulatory regime which includes qualitative oversight by their regulating bodies and in the...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

Mortgage Interest Supplement Applications

Was asked: if an application for mortgage interest supplement for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15 will be expedited; the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned applied for a mortgage interest supplement on 29th November 2012; however his application was incomplete at the time. An effort was made to contact him via telephone but this...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance Applications

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 312 of 20 March 2013, when arrears will issue in respect of application for jobseeker's allowance which is now closed in the case of a person (details supplied...More Button

The person concerned made an application for jobseekers allowance on 14th December 2012.   He applied for supplementary welfare allowance while his jobseeker’s applic...More Button

  Questions Nos. 234 and 235 withdrawn.More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Numbers

Was asked: if she will provide a break down of the number of returning Irish emigrants who have applied for a social welfare payment during each of the past three years broken down by each social welfare offi...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is not available. Information relating to disallowances of returning Irish emigrants is not captured during the claim decision making process. However, infor...More Button

National Internship Scheme Eligibility

Was asked: if, the position regarding jobbridge in respect of a person in (details supplied) in County Kildare will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department has been in direct contact with the individual referred to by the Deputy since February 2013. The individual has completed one internship and is currently undertaking a second. The...More Button

In the first instance, the intern was dissatisfied with the activities assigned to him but withdrew his complaint the following day. A monitoring visit has been conducted and the Department is sa...More Button

Under current guidelines, JobBridge interns may avail of no more than two internships to maximum cumulative period of nine months. The Department is not in a position to make exceptions in this ...More Button