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Burton, Joan

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Mortgage Interest Supplement Eligibility

Was asked: with regards to mortgage interest supplement and the new legislation which was introduced in 2012 stating that in order to qualify for mortgage interest supplement that a person must be in negotiat...More Button

The purpose of the mortgage interest supplement scheme is to provide short term support to eligible people who are unable to meet their mortgage interest repayments. There are currently some 11,000...More Button

Back to Education Allowance Payments

Was asked: her plans to protect the back to education allowance against cutbacks in the upcoming budget, which would deter mature students from returning to higher education; and if she will make a statement ...More Button

The objective of the Department’s working age employment supports, including the back to education allowance, is to remove barriers to employment in order to help people to enter or remain in emplo...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's Expenditure Report, 2013 published with the Budget last December provides for additional new expenditure reduction ...More Button

The Government has finalised its consideration of the Budget having regard to all of its commitments, including the commitment in the Programme for Government to maintain welfare rates. The outc...More Button

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that some persons who have been offered third level courses are unable to accept them because of problems transitioning from receiving social welfare pay...More Button

A person wishing to pursue a course of study under the back to education allowance scheme will have to satisfy a number of conditions such as being a certain age, in receipt of a prescribed social ...More Button

The back to education allowance is essentially a social welfare replacement income which is paid in lieu of the relevant social welfare payment that qualifies the applicant for participation in t...More Button

Due to the nature of the scheme the majority of applications are made in August and September in advance of the commencement of the new academic year. Local offices prioritise these claims to en...More Button

  Question No. 141 answered with Question No. 129.More Button

European Court of Justice Rulings

Was asked: the position regarding the European Court of Justice ruling as to the Irish State’s obligation to adequately protect the pension entitlements of former Waterford Crystal employees; when the judgmen...More Button

The ruling by the European Court of Justice was in response to a reference by the High Court seeking clarification of the interpretation of European law emanating from EU Directive 2008/94EC on the...More Button

Following the ECJ ruling, the matter will now revert to the High Court for consideration. It is anticipated that the Court will set a date for the hearing of this case shortly.More Button

Legislative Programme

Was asked: when the legislation requiring mandatory naming of a child's father on a birth certificate will be brought forward.More Button

On the 19 July, 2013, the Cabinet approved the drafting of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill 2013.

  One of the proposals I am seeking to introduce in this Bill is to amend...More Button

Household Benefits Scheme

Was asked: if she will confirm that people currently with a free television licence will receive a waiver from the new broadcasting fee. More Button

Was asked: if she will confirm her commitment to protect the household benefit package as this package is of critical importance to the recipients.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 and 117 together.

  The Government finalised its consideration of the Budget having regard to all of its commitments, including the commitmen...More Button

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: if she will expedite a carer's allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied).More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 3 September 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appe...More Button

Employment Support Services

Was asked: if any steps will be taken to assist those who were previously self-employed but now are unemployed and not in a position to sign on the live register as their spouse is working and are, therefore,...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

Unemployed persons (including those previously self-employed) not in receipt of payments may also be eligible to avail of up-skilling opportunities, for example through FÁS training or through fu...More Button

Access to employment or work-experience-based programmes, involving the payment of a supplement to participants’ basic jobseekers’ payments, continues to be confined to unemployed persons who are...More Button

Youth Employment Initiative

Was asked: her plans to address high youth unemployment.More Button

Was asked: the steps she has taken to increase the number of young persons in employment since the Government came to office; and the impact these have had on the actual number of young persons employed.More Button

Was asked: the actions being taken at European level to assist young persons in obtaining employment; the way these measures will translate here; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 120, 156 and 157 together. More Button

In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle all forms of unemployment, including youth unemployment, is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promotin...More Button

The Government is also implementing a number of programmes to assist young unemployed persons and keep young jobseekers close to the labour market. There are five main approaches being taken to t...More Button

- The Youthreach programme providing 6,000 integrated education, training and work experience for early school leavers without any qualifications or vocational training who are between 15 and 20 ...More Button

- The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme scheme, which provides a range of courses to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people over 21 years of age, particularly focusing ...More Button

- The Back to Education Allowance scheme run by the Department of Social Protection provides income maintenance for unemployed people returning to further or higher education. Over 6,500 young pe...More Button

- Approximately 12,000 persons aged under 25 completed a training course with FÁS in 2012. This excludes apprenticeships and evening courses;More Button

- This year MOMENTUM, a scheme for education and training interventions, which is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs initiative, is currently being rolled out by the Department of Educ...More Button

- The JobBridge National Internship Scheme is focused on providing work experience to young people with the total number of placements of young people on JobBridge during 2012 at 2,700;More Button

- Long-term unemployed youth will also benefit from the JobsPlus initiative which is designed to encourage employers to recruit long-term unemployed people. Under this scheme the State will pay c...More Button

With regard to the expected impact of policy, the original Action Plan for Jobs sets out a target for 100,000 net new jobs to be created by 2016, many of which will be filled by young people. In ...More Button

Specifically, these targets include:More Button

1. At least 75,000 of those who were long-term unemployed in early 2012 will move into employment by 2015More Button

2. Increase the exit rate of people on the Live Register for two years or more by 50% (to 40%) by the end of 2015More Button

3. Reduce the persistence rate (the rate at which short term unemployed people become long term unemployed) to 25%.More Button

As almost 2 out of five young unemployed are long-term unemployed, these targets are pertinent to young people. More Button

The most recent statistics available from the CSO’s Quarterly National Household Survey shows the level of youth unemployment has fallen from an average of 75,000 in 2010 to 63,000 in the most re...More Button

Looking forward, in addition to current initiatives, policies to increase youth employment will be supplemented by additional measures under the Youth Guarantee which will be rolled out in 2014.More Button

While the Recommendation for an EU-wide Youth Guarantee Scheme was adopted during the Irish Presidency earlier this year, the implementation of the scheme across the EU has yet to begin. It is r...More Button

The scale and nature of any additional measures required for the implementation of a Guarantee at national level will depend on the trend in youth unemployment, and in particular the number of yo...More Button

The Department of Social Protection has set up an interdepartmental group with officials and programme managers from the Department of Education and Skills, Department of Jobs Enterprise and Inno...More Button

It is intended to produce a concrete plan for the implementation of the Guarantee for consideration by the Government in December before being transmitted to the European Commission by the end o...More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Was asked: further to Parliamentary Question No. 550 of 18 September 2013, if contact has been made with the person regarding the progress of the appeal in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Ki...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 8 August 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that th...More Button

The person concerned has been advised that her file papers have been received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office. 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 in relation to s...More Button

  Question No. 122 withdrawn.More Button

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Applications

Was asked: the progress to date in respect of an application for non-contributory State pension in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

State pension (non-contributory) is a means-tested scheme. In this specific instance, the person concerned had means exceeding the statutory limit and the person was informed of this decision. ...More Button

Disability Allowance Appeals

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an appeal of a disability allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; 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 3 October 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on...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 in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding a claim for disability allowance 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 registered in that office on 14 August 2013. 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 in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: if an appeal for disability allowance will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 4 September 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that...More Button

In order to be fair to all appellants appeals are dealt with in strict chronological order. 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 in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: when a person (details below) in County Carlow will receive a decision on their appeal for disability allowance; 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 has decided to convene an oral hearing in this case.

&nbs...More Button

Was asked: the reason a person (details supplied) in County Wicklow was refused disability allowance; and if he is entitled to any other payment. More Button

Payment of disability allowance, to the person concerned, was refused by a Deciding Officer following an assessment by a Medical Assessor of the Department of Social Protection who expressed the op...More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned by way of ...More Button

I am further advised that the person concerned has submitted additional evidence and that the Department was requested to return the file to the Social Welfare Appeals Office. The file has now be...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 in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: when an appeal hearing will be offered to a person (details supplied) in County Monaghan in respect of their appeal to her Department’s decision to refuse payment of their disability allowance clai...More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a...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 in relation to s...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the average processing time for domiciliary care allowance appeal applications; the reason there is such a backlog with cases; her plans to deal with this backlog; and if she will make a statement ...More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that the current average time taken to process domiciliary care allowance appeals decided by summary decision is 29.1 weeks and 36.1 weeks for thos...More Button

There has been a rapid and sustained increase in the number of appeals received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2009 which has placed extraordinary pressure on the office. Up to 2009,...More Button

In addition, a major programme of process redesign and modernisation is currently underway in the Department in relation to many of its scheme areas, aimed at reducing backlogs and reducing the t...More Button

These measures have led to improvements in processing times and a significant increase in the number of appeals finalised from 17,787 in 2009 to 32,558 in 2012. The Chief Appeals Officer expects...More Button

The average waiting time for appeals peaked in 2011 when the average time for an oral hearing was 52.5 weeks and for a summary decision was 25.1 weeks. In 2012 these times improved by 10.3 weeks w...More Button

These processing times are calculated from the registration date of the appeal to the date of its finalisation. They include all activities during this period including time spent awaiting any c...More Button

By its nature and because it is a quasi-judicial function, the processing of appeals takes time and reflects the fact that, by definition, the appeal process cannot be a quick one. More Button

Was asked: when a decision on a domiciliary care allowance appeal will issue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 17 September 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process tha...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 in relation to s...More Button

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

An application for domiciliary care allowance was received from the person concerned on 28th May 2013. The application was disallowed as the child was not considered to satisfy the qualifying cond...More Button

A review of this decision has been requested and additional information on this child’s condition/care needs has been supplied. The person concerned will be notified of the outcome of this revie...More Button

  Question No. 159 withdrawn.More Button

Was asked: if she will review a decision to refuse a domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; 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 26th July 2013. The application was disallowed as it was considered that the child does not meet the eli...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 the Department’s Medical ...More Button

Community Welfare Services

Was asked: the rationale behind the closure of 12 community welfare clinics in County Donegal; if she will review the decision; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Department is currently examining the operation of all services across its remit, including the Community Welfare Service. It is doing this in the context of the Pathways to Work commitments a...More Button

Overall, this will result in some re-balancing of resources across the Departments range of activities – payment processing, control and activation and the relocation of some staff to main centre...More Button

Accordingly, a decision has been taken to rationalise some Community Welfare Service clinics with effect from 30 September 2013. A number of clinics have been closed in Co. Donegal and the clien...More Button

Was asked: the way it is intended to provide community welfare services on a face-to-face basis to those who do not own motor cars, in communities that have no public transport serving them, in view of her de...More Button

The Department is currently examining the operation of all its services, including the community welfare service (CWS) in the context of the Pathways to Work commitments and the development of Intr...More Button

Overall, this is resulting in a rebalancing of resources across the Department’s range of activities including the relocation of some staff to main centres, primarily Intreo offices, which will p...More Button

Where the community welfare service has been re-structured, alternative arrangements have been put in place to ensure that customers are provided with on-going access to the supports provided by ...More Button

People claiming supports under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme generally only interact with the Department on an occasional basis, for example, when seeking an exceptional needs paymen...More Button

The staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continuously reviewed, to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources with a view to providing an efficient service to t...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Was asked: the position regarding a community employment scheme in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 8. More Button

To meet the eligibility criteria for the community employment (CE) scheme, participants are required to have been unemployed and in receipt of a social welfare payment for a 12 month consecutive pe...More Button

The services of the Local Employment Service are available to provide information to the person concerned on other employment and training opportunities, including dedicated supports and programm...More Button

General Register Office

Was asked: if the Minister, who is responsible for the General Register Office, will provide a new facility equal to the current one at the Irish Life Centre Dublin in the interest of providing family histori...More Button

Was asked: her views on the possible adverse impact on genealogical tourism from the recent move of the Public Records Office to new premises at Werburgh Street, Dublin 8; and if she will make a statement on ...More Button

Was asked: if she will provide a new facility equal to the current one at the Irish Life Centre in Dublin in the interests of providing family historians from both home and abroad with a new facility; and if ...More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 129, 141 and 148 together.

  The research rooms of the General Register Office (GRO) relocated from Irish Life Mall, Abbey Street, Dublin 1 to We...More Button

National Internship Scheme Administration

Was asked: if she will provide the names of companies or employers that have been blacklisted from the JobBridge scheme and the reason for same. More Button

Was asked: if she will provide the names of the members of the JobBridge steering committee and details of their professional background. More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 131 and 132 together.

  The Department takes the view that there is an overriding public interest in having the identity of host organisat...More Button

  Question No. 133 withdrawn. More Button

Was asked: the procedures in place to ensure that the internships being offered under the JobBridge scheme provide the interns with the experience as advertised by the employer; if the Department has duly app...More Button

The Department has a variety of monitoring and control measures in place to protect the intern and to ensure the integrity of the JobBridge scheme. An application from a host organisation must mee...More Button

As part of its management of JobBridge, the Department conducts monitoring visits of host organisations to ensure they are offering their intern the work experience, training and mentoring requir...More Button

In addition, an intern may contact the JobBridge team or their local social welfare office at any stage of their internship for advice and support and any individual who suspects that an internsh...More Button

29 companies have been disqualified from participating in the scheme due to breaches of the terms and conditions. However, over 9,000 companies have participated in the scheme across all sectors...More Button

  Question No. 171 answered with Question No. 138.More Button

Social Welfare Fraud Data

Was asked: the number of personnel employed in fraud investigation in her Department; the number at the same time in 2010; and the amount of money that has been generated from January to September 2013 as a r...More Button

The exclusive function of the Department’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is to investigate and report on fraud and abuse of social welfare schemes.  The SIU was reconfigured as ...More Button

One-Parent Family Payment Appeals

Was asked: when a decision will issue on an appeal for one-parent family payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry. More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 10 October 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based o...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 in relation to s...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Review

Was asked: her plans for the future of the community services programme; if funding to the programme is to be continued or extended; her plans to include new projects in the scheme; if so, when new applicatio...More Button

The community services programme (CSP) co-funds the services delivered by around 425 community based not-for-profit enterprises across the State. Some €45.4 million has been allocated to the progr...More Button

In general, service providers are engaged under a three year contracting arrangement until 31 December 2013. Access to the programme is by way of open call for proposals, the last in 2008, or by...More Button

I have no immediate proposals to alter the operation of the programme. More Button

National Internship Scheme Data

Was asked: the reason a JobBridge internship was terminated after two weeks in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Was asked: the number of persons taking part in the JobBridge scheme and the cost of same to the Exchequer. More Button

Was asked: the maximum number of internships allowed under the JobBridge scheme by one company or employer; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 138, 163 and 171 together. More Button

At 10 October, 2013, there were 5,918 individuals on JobBridge internships, a total of 21,842 internship placements since the scheme commenced, and there were 2,948 internship opportunities adver...More Button

Those companies with up to 10 full time employees (employed for 30 hours or more per week, i.e., on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI) are permitted to take on 1 intern, those with 11 to 20 su...More Button

JobBridge delivers valuable internship opportunities for jobseekers and independent research has demonstrated it is an effective and efficient scheme. The independent evaluation, by Indecon Econo...More Button

The Indecon evaluation clearly demonstrates that JobBridge is delivering for thousands of jobseekers by providing them with valuable opportunities to gain relevant work experience, knowledge and ...More Button

In order to be eligible to participate in the scheme a person must be in receipt of certain social welfare payments or signing for credits. The person referred to by the Deputy was in receipt of ...More Button

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Was asked: the position regarding an invalidity pension appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 3 October 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on...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 in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: when a decision on an invalidity pension appeal will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; 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 4 October 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on...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 in relation to s...More Button

Was asked: the position regarding an invalidity pension appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; when a decision will issue; 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 4th October 2013, who will make a summary decision on t...More Button

Community Work Initiatives

Was asked: her plans to introduce a Tús training budget so that persons may expand their skills to progress in the labour market while taking part in the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: if she will seek to secure on behalf of child care sector Tús programme participants the opportunity to remain on Tús until they achieve level 5 certification or to proceed to community employment,...More Button

Was asked: the number of persons taking part in the Tús scheme and the cost of same to the Exchequer.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 144, 154 and 164 together. More Button

The purpose of Tús is to maintain the work readiness of those on the live register for a period of at least 12 months by providing quality placement opportunities and other supports to help people ...More Button

Youth Guarantee

Was asked: her plans to roll out the youth guarantee scheme in local communities where unemployment is exceptionally high; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An implementation plan for national delivery of a Youth Guarantee commencing from 2014 onwards will be drawn up by the end of this year. This will be done on a balanced basis, taking into account y...More Button

Was asked: the actions that are to be taken following the one-day special summit in Berlin on youth unemployment, particularly in respect of Ireland; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The main conclusion from European Heads of State and the European Labour and Social Protection Ministers at the Berlin conference in July 2013 was that implementation of the EU Recommendation on a ...More Button

  Questions Nos. 156 and 157 answered with Question No. 120.More Button

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Appeals

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will receive a decision on an appeal on partial capacity benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Partial capacity benefit was awarded to the person concerned following an assessment by a Medical Assessor of the Department who expressed the opinion that the restriction on his capacity for work ...More Button

An appeal was registered in this case on 20 June 2013 and the Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that, in accordance with statutory requirements, the Department has been asked to provide ...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 in relation to s...More Button

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Appeals

Was asked: if a decision has been made on an appeal for a non contributory State pension payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; 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 of the available evidence, has decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned by way o...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 in relation to s...More Button

  Question No. 148 answered with Question No. 129.More Button

Jobseeker's Benefit Appeals

Was asked: the reason for the delay in determining an appeal against refusal of jobseeker's benefit in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and when the appeal will be dealt with.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 10 October 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based o...More Button

There has been a rapid and sustained increase in the number of appeals received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office since 2009 which has placed extraordinary pressure on the office. Up to 2009,...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 in relation to s...More Button

Local Employment Service Issues

Was asked: the procedures that are taken by local employment services offices when determining waiting lists for training courses; if she will outline the timeframe in which waiting lists for each course are ...More Button

Waiting lists for training courses are managed by the relevant training providers. Clients are referred to training providers by the Local Employment Service (LES) as well as the Department’s own e...More Button

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the current contributory pension allocates full contributory pension to persons who pay full contributions for ten years, yet fails to allocate a fu...More Button

The State pension is a very valuable asset and it is important, that those who receive it have made a significant contribution towards it during a working life as the State needs to ensure that it ...More Button

I understand the Deputy is referring to the current averaging system used in calculating State pension. One of the key factors when pension assessment is being made is the date of entry into insu...More Button

The average contributions test is used in calculating pension entitlement and has been in existence since 1961 when contributory pensions were first introduced. The system was designed with a vi...More Button

There can be circumstances where a person with a shorter contribution history could receive a higher pension and this is why it is planned to introduce a ‘total contributions approach’ where p...More Button

In introducing such a system, it is considered appropriate to have regard to the potential that people now have to accumulate contributions as a result of the comprehensive nature of social insur...More Button

The rate band changes for State pension, introduced in September 2012 goes somewhat towards this measure of reform where pension paid more closely reflects contributions made over a working life....More Button

The OECD Review of the Irish Pension System which was published in April 2013 also endorsed the move to a total rather than an average contributions test to determine entitlement to a State pensi...More Button

Child Benefit Eligibility

Was asked: her reasons for not accepting Deputy Denis Naughten's innovative proposal on linking child benefit payments to school attendance; if she acknowledges that such a system would help reduce the incide...More Button

Child benefit is a universal monthly payment that assists all families with in the many costs associated with raising children up to the age of 18 years. Child benefit is paid to around 606,000 fam...More Button

It is a statutory requirement that a child attends school up to 16 years of age. Consequently, all recipients of child benefit are already legally required to attend school up to this age. There ...More Button

My Department has taken a proactive approach to ensure that child benefit is only paid to eligible families. In 2008 the Department commenced issuing continuing eligibility certificates to parent...More Button

The Deputy should note that child benefit payment is classified as a family benefit under EU regulations. A key principle of the coordination system is that persons moving to different Member State...More Button

Family Income Supplement Eligibility

Was asked: her views on whether the minimum hours in employment condition of the family income supplement scheme is a barrier to those taking up low-paid employment or continuing in low-paid employment; her v...More Button

The family income supplement (FIS) is an in-work support for employees with families on low earnings, who otherwise might be at risk of financial poverty. FIS also preserves the incentive to remai...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...More Button

For low income workers with less than the minimum hours of employment for FIS and working on a casual basis up to and including 3 days per week, jobseeker’s schemes provide in-work income support...More Button

Creating jobs and reducing unemployment are key challenges facing the Government. The tax and social protection systems have a part to play in addressing these issues and in ensuring work is remu...More Button

  Question No. 154 answered with Question No. 144.More Button

Live Register Data

Was asked: the categories of payments from her Department that mean that the recipient is counted on the live register; and the number of persons in each category. More Button

Was asked: the categories of payments from her Department that mean that the recipient is officially counted as unemployed; and the number of persons in each category.More Button

I propose to take Questions Nos. 161 and 162 together.

  The official measure of unemployment is the figure for people unemployed reported by the Central Statistics Office in the...More Button

  Question No. 163 answered with Question No. 138.More Button

  Question No. 164 answered with Question No. 144.More Button

Departmental Schemes

Was asked: the number of persons taking part in the JobsPlus initiative and the cost of same to the Exchequer. More Button

JobsPlus was launched on 8th July 2013. This is a new incentive to encourage employers to recruit and employ persons who have been unemployed for long periods. It replaced this Department’s Employ...More Button

The Department had received applications from 2,414 jobseekers at the close of business on the 4th October 2013. Of these, 1,869 applications have been deemed eligible with 1,201 qualifying on t...More Button

The Department has processed applications from 1,229 employers at the 4th October. Of these 585 have been matched with eligible jobseekers and I expect grant payments to commence in respect of t...More Button

Further information regarding the scheme can be found at www.jobsplus.ieMore Button

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Expenditure

Was asked: if her Department assists with secondary school costs for twins, other than the clothing and footwear allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The back to school clothing and footwear allowance scheme provides a one-off payment to eligible families to assist with the extra costs when children start school each autumn. The Government has ...More Button

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

Community Employment Schemes Places

Was asked: her policy regarding community employment placements focusing on child care; if she has a national policy of consolidating the provision of these placements under a reduced number of dedicated chil...More Button

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) is consolidating and improving the provision of training and work experience for CE participants who wish to pursue a career in child care. More Button

For CE participants who work directly with children, a dedicated programme comprising formal learning and supervised work experience will become a mandatory part of participation. This formal le...More Button

This programme involves defined standards of achievement, a career progression path, and a structure for CE participants in Early Years Services. These changes are designed to provide a more tai...More Button

The objectives of this policy are:More Button

- to ensure that all Community Employment schemes with child care places will, in the future, operate under the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Framework and use the Síolta standards (t...More Button

- to provide CE participants on child care) places who work directly with children with quality work experience, training, a clear progression path and qualifications in the child care) sector; andMore Button

- to re-align the allocation of CE child care) places under dedicated child care) schemes with the standards outlined by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.More Button

There will be no reduction in the number of child care) places supported under CE.More Button

All CE child care) places will be co-ordinated and managed by a dedicated CE Sponsored Child care Scheme. The above improvements have been informed by consultation with the Department of Childre...More Button

Was asked: the safeguards that are in place for community employment schemes in circumstances where a scheme's child care places are redistributed to a different sponsor and this renders the original scheme n...More Button

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) is improving the provision of training and work experience for CE participants who wish to pursue a career in child care. This involves defined standards ...More Button

All CE child care places will be under the management of dedicated child care sponsoring schemes. In circumstances where this involves the transfer of child care places from one scheme to another...More Button

  Questions Nos. 174 and 175 withdrawn.More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Was asked: if domiciliary care allowance will be approved in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny.More Button

An application for domiciliary care allowance was received from the person concerned on the 18th September 2013. The application was disallowed as it was considered that the child does not meet th...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 decision to be reviewed or they may appeal the decision direct...More Button

Seirbhísí Leasa Pobail

Tá seirbhís leasa pobail Chonamara ar fáil anois ó oifigí na Roinne i gcathair na Gaillimhe agus sa Chlochán. Tá baill foirne sna hoifigí sin atá in ann seirbhís Ghaeilge a chur ar fáil agus beidh ...More Button

School Meals Programme

Was asked: the way she can justify a DEIS Band 1 school (details supplied) in County Galway receiving just €7,500 for a breakfast club, in view of the fact that the funding amount equates to just 15 cents per...More Button

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food services for disadvantaged children through two schemes. The first is the statutory urban school meals scheme, operated by...More Button