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Doherty, Regina

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. Nbr.


Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí (Atógáil) - Leaders' Questions (Resumed) (Continued)

Hear, hear.More Button

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business (Continued)

The Deputy is not saving the planet with all that paper.More Button

The irony is completely lost on him.More Button

This is a stunt.More Button

Household Benefits Scheme

Was asked: her plans to introduce a free television licence or reduction in the licence fee for legally blind persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The free television licence is received as part of the household benefits package (HHB) which also comprises the electricity or gas allowance.  The package is generally available to people living i...More Button

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Scheme Data

Was asked: the number of children attending secondary school eligible for the back to school clothing and footwear payment in 2018 and to date in 2019; the overall cost of the back to school clothing and foot...More Button

The back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA) scheme provides a once-off payment to eligible families to assist with the costs of clothing and footwear when children start or return to...More Button

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Data

Was asked: when a decision will be made on a partial capacity benefit application by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Partial Capacity Benefit allows a person who has been in receipt of Illness Benefit for six months or Invalidity Pension and who may not have full capacity for work, to return to employment and con...More Button

Carer's Allowance Data

Was asked: the status of a review for carer's allowance for a person (details supplied).More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult ...More Button

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Was asked: when a decision on an application for carer's allowance will issue to 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, decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a ...More Button

I am advised that the person concerned has submitted additional evidence and that the Appeals Officer is reviewing their case.  The person concerned will be advised when the review of their appea...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against dec...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); 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 including that adduced at the oral hearing, decided to disallow the ...More Button

I am advised that the person concerned has submitted additional evidence and that the Appeals Officer is currently reviewing the case.  The person concerned will be contacted when the review of h...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against dec...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for carer's allowance by 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 25 February 2019.   It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process tha...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against dec...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an oral hearing of the appeal of the person concerned took place on 19 June 2019 and that the Appeals Officer is now considering the appeal in...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against dec...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Was asked: the status of an appeal by 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 referred on 29th May 2019 to an Appeals Officer  who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on ...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for a pension by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 13 May 2019.  It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the ...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against dec...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.  More Button

Personal Public Service Numbers Data

Was asked: the status of the 70 plus PPS numbers provided by an organisation (details supplied) in relation to an issue that has been raised of workers being blacklisted.More Button

Scope Section of my Department undertakes investigations on foot of requests from a variety of sources, for example employees, employers or Social Welfare Inspectors.  These investigations cover a ...More Button

Working Family Payment Data

Was asked: if the decision to reduce a working family payment will be reviewed in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work payment which provides additional financial support to employees on low earnings with children.  In order to qualify for WFP a person must have at least 1...More Button

An additional child. More Button

orMore Button

In the case of a WFP recipient who is also receiving a One Parent Family Payment (OPF) where this payment is terminated on account of their youngest child reaching the relevant age threshold duri...More Button

In accordance with the governing legislation "a qualified child" for WFP is defined as a child who is under 18 years of age  or over 18 years and under 22 years who is attending full-time certifi...More Button

The person concerned was in receipt of WFP for 4 qualified children and their claim was renewed on 20 December 2018 for the period 03 January 2019 to 01 January 2020 at the appropriate rate for 3...More Button

Following an unsuccessful appeal to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO) the Department's decision of 20 December 2018 was upheld and the person  concerned was notified of the app...More Button

An Appeals Officer's decision is normally final and conclusive in the absence of any new facts or evidence.  However it may be subject to review by the Chief Appeals Officer where it is considere...More Button

In order to request a review of the Appeals Officer's decision the person concerned should enclose new facts or evidence to the SWAO or if seeking a review by the Chief Appeals Officer they must ...More Button

However the legislation also provides that a customer retains the right to request a review of any WFP decision and that this right is not time limited. Accordingly the person concerned may forwa...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

JobPath Data

Was asked: if a person can opt out of the JobPath scheme in cases in which the client has found and secured employment outside of the JobPath programme such as in a case (details supplied); if JobPath provide...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware JobPath is a case management service that provides employment counselling and advice to long-term unemployed jobseekers with a view to improving their prospects of secur...More Button

Client participation on JobPath is for one year and is mandatory for all clients selected by the Department.  More Button

As in this case, long-term jobseekers that may have left the live register to go into employment for less than a year are still considered to be long-term if they reopen their claim within that p...More Button

Should a client secure and start employment during their time with the service, the service provider is contractually obliged  to offer each client  “In-Employment” support and this can be tailo...More Button

JobPath is not a placement service and there are no barriers to the way by which jobseekers can source employment.  The service is provided to help and support clients to identify and pursue suit...More Button

I am advised that my Department has responded to this client’s correspondence through the Department’s Complaints Process on the 1 July 2019. More Button

The person was referred on 11 May 2019 and agreed a Personal Progression Plan on 23 May 2019.  Until a client has started employment and as long as they are still in receipt of a Jobseeker’s Allo...More Button

My Department has advised Turas Nua of the client's request that contact ceases once he has started in employment.More Button

Within the terms of the JobPath contract, a JobPath provider may submit a fee for any client who gains employment of over 30 hours per week and maintains it.  Payments are made at intervals of th...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: if a matter will be addressed regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

JobPath is an employment activation service that supports people who are long-term unemployed, including those working part-time and those at risk of becoming long-term unemployed, to secure and su...More Button

Customers referred to JobPath who are also working part-time will have all activities including meetings with their personal advisor scheduled around their work commitments and the JobPath contra...More Button

The customer in question had completed a year with the JobPath service last November.  In the intervening period of six months they had not found sustainable full-time employment, and had not bee...More Button

Seetec have stated that an error was made when scheduling an initial appointment after the client had informed the service provider of their work days.  A complaint was submitted directly to the ...More Button

This matter has now been rectified and appointments will only be scheduled for days on which the client is not working.  The incorrect appointment and follow on letter have been removed from the ...More Button

JobPath provides an intensive personal service which focuses on the skills and the experience of the individual.  As this client is already in part-time employment the focus will be to secure sus...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Was asked: the social protection schemes or measures that have sunset clauses; the annual cost of these measures; the dates in which these measures are set to expire; and if she will make a statement on the m...More Button

I am advised that the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) (Amendment) (No. 10) (Assessment of Means) Regulations 2019 and the Social Welfare (Consolidated Supplementary Welfa...More Button

These Regulations provide that, for the purposes of certain means-tested schemes operated by my Department, the net cash value of meals, accommodation and related services provided by the Departm...More Button

Officials in my Department are engaging with counterparts in the Department of Justice and Equality to assist that Department with the introduction of new arrangements which are expected to be in...More Button

Otherwise, there are currently no schemes or measures operated by my Department where a sunset clause is in effect.More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Was asked: the status of a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based payment, made to a person who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that le...More Button

It is payable for a maximum of 104 weeks for each person being cared for. This may be claimed as a single continuous period or in any number of separate periods up to a total of 104 weeks. Whi...More Button

They may also need to submit evidence to show that their care recipient will require full-time care and attention for the duration of the expended period. CARB was awarded for a period 5 July 20...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Defined Benefit Pension Schemes

Was asked: her plans to protect workers who are members of defined benefit schemes in which the scheme is solvent and the company is highly profitable; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

Defined Benefit (DB) schemes are voluntary tri-partite arrangements between employers, employees (or their representatives) and trustees.  Responsibility rests with all the parties for ensuring tha...More Button

As the Deputy will be aware, the General Scheme of the Social Welfare and Pensions Bill 2017 (now the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017) was published in May 2017 and cont...More Button

In July 2018, Government approval was obtained to draft additional provisions to be included in the Bill at Committee Stage including provisions relating to defined benefit schemes.More Button

In developing these provisions, it is essential to take account of the current pension landscape in Ireland so that a balanced, proportionate approach is developed and that unintended negative co...More Button

The provisions of this Bill will introduce a new regime into the Pensions Act 1990 which, amongst other things, will ensure that an employer cannot “walk away” at short notice from the pension sc...More Button

The defined benefit pension provisions are very technical and involve complex policy issues.  In order to achieve a resilient solution it has been necessary to consult in detail with other Govern...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

State Pension (Contributory) Data

Was asked: the progress to date in the determination of an application for an increase to an adult dependant allowance in the case of a person (details supplied); when the application will be concluded; and i...More Button

The increase for a qualified adult, payable with the state pension (contributory), is a means-tested payment, based on the means of the qualified adult, solely or jointly held.  An increase has bee...More Button

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Was asked: if self-employed persons such as farmers will be entitled to the maximum pension rate under the changes in the new total contributions approach, TCS, planned for post-2020; and if she will make a s...More Button

The introduction of a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to establishing the level of entitlement for all new state pension contributory claims was signalled by the then Government in the National ...More Button

Consultation is a very important part of the development and design of the new pension.  With this in mind, I launched a public consultation on the design of the TCA on the 28th of May 2018 to wh...More Button

Shortly afterwards, Oireachtas members were invited to a detailed briefing by my officials in Leinster House.  The consultation was open for over 3 months and the Department received almost 300 r...More Button

Having carefully examined the outputs of the consultation process, my Department is now designing the scheme and I intend to shortly bring a proposal to Government setting out that design.  When ...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: her plans to grant credits to self-employed persons who were in full-time self-employment before self-employed pay related social insurance, PRSI, was introduced for the purposes of assessing them ...More Button

The introduction of a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to establishing the level of entitlement for all new state pension contributory claims was signalled by the then Government in the National ...More Button

Consultation is a very important part of the development and design of the new pension.  With this in mind, I launched a public consultation on the design of the TCA on the 28th of May 2018 to wh...More Button

Shortly afterwards, Oireachtas members were invited to a detailed briefing by my officials in Leinster House.  The consultation was open for over 3 months and the Department received almost 300 r...More Button

Having carefully examined the outputs of the consultation process, my Department is now designing the scheme and I intend to shortly bring a proposal to Government setting out that design.  When ...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Free Travel Scheme Data

Was asked: the estimated cost of extending the free travel scheme to persons that are visually impaired or blind and are unable to obtain a driver licence (details supplied).More Button

The free travel scheme provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme.  These include road, rail and ferry services provided by companies...More Button

I am advised that my Department cannot providing an accurate projection of the cost of extending the free travel scheme to those unable to drive a vehicle on medical grounds or because they do no...More Button

The objective of the free travel scheme is to assist older people and people with disabilities in remaining active within their community. Extending the eligibility of the free travel scheme to i...More Button

Under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme (SWA) the Department of  Employment Affairs and Social Protection may award a travel supplement in any case where the circumstances of the case so...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Disability Support Services

Was asked: the estimated cost of extending the workplace adaptation grant to those that are blind and vision impaired for a second year on community employment schemes.More Button

My Department provides a range of grants and supports to assist both jobseekers with disabilities and employers to take appropriate measures to enable either a potential employee or existing employ...More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Was asked: if the Christmas bonus will be available in 2019.More Button

The Christmas Bonus payment is made to long-term social welfare recipients, such as pensioners, carers, people with disabilities, lone parents and long-term unemployed people who rely wholly or mai...More Button

As is the case every year, the payment of a Christmas Bonus is a discretionary decision made by Government in the context of the annual Budget process and available resources.  A decision to pay ...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Invalidity Pension Applications Data

Was asked: the status of an invalidity pension, IP, application by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Pensions Legislation

Was asked: her plans to ensure that the next social welfare Bill permits the full work record of a person to be evaluated in terms of social insurance for payment of jobseeker's benefit when he or she reachs ...More Button

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 provided that State pension age will increase to age 67 in 2021 and age 68 in 2028.  The purpose of these changes is to make the pension system more sustain...More Button

Jobseeker’s payments are currently paid to eligible jobseekers aged 18 to 66 years subject to the person satisfying the general scheme conditions.  Social Welfare legislation states that jobseeke...More Button

Jobseekers Benefit is normally paid for 9 months (234 days) for people with 260 or more PRSI contributions paid and for 6 months (156 days) for people with fewer than 260 PRSI contributions paid....More Button

I am also introducing a new jobseekers benefit for the self-employed later this year which I announced as part of Budget 2019.  The Social Welfare Bill 2019 will provide for the necessary legisla...More Button

There is no statutory retirement age in the State, and the age at which employees retire is a matter for the contract of employment between them and their employers.  While such a contract may ha...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. More Button

Pensions Data

Was asked: the estimated cost of awarding full State pension entitlements to each cohort of citizens when they reach 65 years of age; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

In 2019, it is estimated that this Department will spend over €8 billion on pension payments. The cost includes payments to over 650,000 pensioners and qualified adults who are aged 66 and over as ...More Button

According to the CSO’s Population and Labour Force Projections for 2018, and taking account of various assumptions, the number of people aged 65 and over resident in Ireland is estimated to range...More Button

It should be noted that this does not include the cost of increasing pension payments to pensioners living abroad who are entitled to a contributory pension and those under 66 who currently recei...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Was asked: the reason there is a different means test for the disability pension as opposed to the blind pension; and if this will change.More Button

The social protection system includes a variety of social assistance payments with different rules in relation to means testing, reflecting the different contingencies under which payments are made.More Button

The blind pension is a means-tested payment paid to blind and visually impaired people. It is unique in the social protection system as it is a payment provided to people with a specific physical...More Button

The capital means test for disability allowance is also unique in the social protection system, in that it disregards €50,000 of capital completely, compared to €20,000 for most other social assi...More Button

Subject to meeting the qualifying conditions, a person with significant visual impairment on blind pension may, instead, apply for disability allowance. More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the estimated amount it would cost to link income and the income and earning disregard means test to the income of national minimum wage for social protection payments that have an income and earni...More Button

The information requested by the Deputy is currently being compiled by my officials and will be provided to the Deputy as soon as possible.More Button

Carer's Allowance Applications

Was asked: if a carers allowance will be granted to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult ...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application for carer’s allowance (CA) was receive from the person concerned on 2 October 2018.   The application was referred to a local social welfare inspector (SWI) to assess ...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied).More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult ...More Button

Was asked: the status of a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's Allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level...More Button

Was asked: the status of a carer's allowance 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 11 March 2019.   It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that t...More Button

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against dec...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Was asked: the status of a carer's allowance appeal by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an oral hearing of the appeal of the person concerned took place on 25 June 2019 and that the Appeals Officer is now considering the appeal in...More Button

Was asked: the status of a carer's allowance for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult ...More Button

Was asked: the status of a carer's allowance for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult ...More Button

Was asked: if an application for carer's benefit by a person (details supplied) County Kildare will be expedited in view of the circumstances; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based payment, made to a person who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that le...More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for carer's allowance by 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 the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who has decided to hold an oral hearing in this case on 17 July 2019.  ...More Button

Carer's Support Grant

Was asked: when a carer's support grant will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Carer’s Support Grant is an annual payment made by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to full-time carers.

  The person concerned was paid the 2018 gr...More Button

Treatment Benefit Scheme Data

Was asked: the number of self-employed persons who have availed of the extension of the treatment benefit scheme to the self-employed by county, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. More Button

The number of treatment benefit claims made in respect of self-employed contributors in 2018 and 2019 (to date) is outlined in the following tables, categorised under the Dental, Optical and M&...More Button

Invalidity Pension Data

Was asked: the number of self-employed persons who have availed of invalidity pension since its extension to the self-employed by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Jobseeker's Benefit Eligibility

Was asked: the number of persons expected to benefit as a result of the roll out of jobseeker’s benefit to the self-employed by county in tabular form; when she expects the new scheme to be operational; and i...More Button

It is planned that the new scheme of jobseekers benefit for the self-employed which I announced as part of Budget 2019 will be introduced from November this year. The Social Welfare Bill 2019 will ...More Button

As with any new demand led scheme it is difficult to forecast the numbers that will apply and qualify. Factors such as labour market conditions and the prevailing economic conditions will affect ...More Button

I trust that this information is of assistance to the Deputy.More Button

Invalidity Pension Applications

Was asked: if an application for an invalidity pension by a person (details supplied) will be expedited.More Button

Was asked: the status of an invalidity pension for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's Allowance Payments

Was asked: when a first payment will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult ...More Button

Was asked: the status of a carer's allowance payment for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Firstly, may I offer my condolences to the person and his family on the loss of a loved one.

  The carer’s support grant (CSG) is an annual payment for carers who look after a p...More Button

Disability Allowance Payments

Was asked: if the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Departmental Advertising Expenditure

Was asked: the amount spent on digital marketing in each of the past eight years; the items on which funds were spent; the criteria by which target audiences were selected; the amount of the digital spend tar...More Button

For this response, I interpret ‘digital marketing’ as digital advertising, which includes both social media and online advertising.

  My Department administers over 70 separate s...More Button

Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Was asked: if a community employment scheme placement will be extended in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry.More Button

Requests for extending participants on Community Employment Schemes are only considered by this Department at the request of the Project Sponsor; however, a request for an extension for this partic...More Button

Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

Was asked: if arrears of exceptional needs or rent supplement payment will issue to help cover arrears of rent in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The person concerned made an application for rent supplement in September 2018.  The Community Welfare Officer requested documentation to support their application; as the documentation requested w...More Button

Bereavement Grant

Was asked: the estimated cost of restoring the bereavement grant.More Button

It is worth noting that there are a range of supports available for people following bereavement which provide more significant support than the grant.  These include weekly-paid widow's, widower's...More Button

Under the Supplementary Allowance scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expe...More Button

The number of bereavement grant claims in 2013 was 23,716, and this represented an increase of approximately 4% on 2012.  Based on a similar yearly increase each year since 2013, it is estimated ...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Departmental Expenditure

Was asked: the costs paid to companies (details supplied) for projects for which each was engaged by her Department in the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the reason each was engaged;...More Button

The Department did not engage any of the companies in question for a capital or ICT project in respect of the years in question.   The companies were engaged to provide consultancy s...More Button

Was asked: the costs paid to a company (details supplied) for projects on which each was engaged by her Department in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the reason it was eng...More Button

Details of the total payments made by year to the company in question are set out in the following table.  The expenditure relates to all payments made from 2015 to date, primarily for technical ex...More Button

Was asked: the amount spent on tribunals, commissions of investigation and statutory inquiries in each of the years 2009 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by inquiry, tribunal or commission; and if she will make a...More Button

There were no commissions of investigation or statutory inquiries in the period of time outlined by the Deputy.More Button

Early Childhood Care and Education Staff

Was asked: the number of early years sector staff that signed on to the live register for the summer months each year for the past five years; the cost of such claims for each year; and if she will make a sta...More Button

I am advised by my Department that it is not possible to provide the information requested by the Deputy, as Early Years Education workers are not separately identifiable from other Education Secto...More Button

Departmental Staff Data

Was asked: the number of staff working within the State pension section; the number in each area within the section; and when staff were last taken on in the section.More Button

Irish state pension schemes are centrally administered from the Department’s office located at College Road, Sligo.  Staffing figures as at the end of June are set out in the table below; there are...More Button

Disability Allowance Applications

Was asked: when an application for a disability allowance will be processed for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: when a decision will be made on an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of a disability allowance for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for a disability allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for a disability allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for a disability allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Social Welfare Fraud Data

Was asked: the number of allegations of social welfare fraud that were investigated in 2017 and 2018; the number of such allegations that were unfounded; the savings arising from allegations which were upheld...More Button

Reports from members of the public on their suspicions of social welfare fraud or wrongdoing are an important element in my Department’s overall efforts to prevent and detect fraudulent activity.  ...More Button

Invalidity Pension Reviews

Was asked: if a review of an invalidity pension claim by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be expedited in view of their illness benefit ceasing in August 2019; and if she will make a stateme...More Button

School Meals Programme

Was asked: if the provision of a third school meal being provided to schools in Ballymun can be extended to include schools (details supplied) in response to the closure of clubs in the schools.More Button

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children at a total cost of €57.6 million in 2019 representing ...More Button

The scheme provides funding for a breakfast or snack for all children and lunch for up to 90% of children in DEIS schools for the entire school year from September to June. Funding, for third and...More Button

The three schools identified by the Deputy are DEIS schools and are currently being funded for a breakfast/snack for all children and a lunch for up to 90% of children based on the enrolment figu...More Button

Changes to increase the funding of the scheme, to provide a third food club in DEIS schools, would have to be considered in a budgetary context.More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter.More Button

Employment Rights

Was asked: if her attention has been drawn to recent studies which highlight the bogus self-employment of pilots operating for airlines registered here; if her attention has been further drawn to the fact tha...More Button

I am on record as stating very clearly that I am committed to tackling the issue of false self-employment. I believe the deliberate mis-classification of a worker as a self-employed contractor, in ...More Button

Firstly, it denies the worker full protection under the Social Welfare Act, which means he or she is deprived of entitlements such as short-term illness and disability benefits.More Button

Secondly, it deprives the worker of protection under labour law which means the a worker is left without any redress if they are unfairly dismissed, made redundant, or are not paid minimum wage r...More Button

Thirdly, this form of non-compliance by employers deprives all taxpayers in the form of reduced returns to the Social Insurance Fund.More Button

I have assigned my officials the task of modernising the Code of Practice on employment status. This is a vital tool for employers and employees so they can be clear when a worker is genuinely se...More Button

The new Guidance will be put on a statutory footing, to ensure it becomes central to the decision-making process in employment status cases.More Button

I believe that enforcement of PRSI compliance is paramount and I want strong enforcement activity to complement the new Guidance provisions. My Department's inspectors have commenced a campaign o...More Button

Anyone who has a query or concern about how their employment has been classified by an employer to contact Scope Section of my Department. Scope Section will commence an investigation, which can ...More Button

A good deal of progress has been made by my officials in developing a number of legislative proposals that strengthen the protections for workers in situations of false self-employment. These inc...More Button

There is no easy solution to the issue of deciding employment status – if there were, the Courts would have ruled on it years ago. There are complex legal aspects to it and each case rests on its...More Button

Work is ongoing to finalise the Guidance document and the legislative proposals and I hope to progress these as soon as possible.More Button

I am advised that case involving an airline was investigated and decided upon and it is currently on appeal with the Social Welfare Appeals Office. It would therefore not be appropriate for me to...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Jobseeker's Transitional Payment

Was asked: the estimated amount it would cost to extend jobseeker's transition from when the youngest child is 14 to 18 years of age.More Button

My Department provides a number of options for income support to lone parents once their entitlement to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) ceases.  These include the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payme...More Button

Was asked: the estimated amount it would cost to allow those on jobseeker's transition to receive both the jobseeker's transition payment and the working family payment; and if she will make a statement on th...More Button

My Department provides a number of options for income support to lone parents once their entitlement to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) ceases.  These include the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payme...More Button

The concurrent payment of JST and WFP contradicts the policy goals of the changes to the OFP scheme, which are to tackle long-term social welfare dependency - and its associated poverty risks - t...More Button

It would be very difficult to estimate the cost of such a proposal with any accuracy as the Department would have to consider the potential inflows into WFP where JST lone parents increase their ...More Button

Working Family Payment

Was asked: the estimated amount it would cost to reduce working family payment qualification criteria of 19 hours to 15 hours a week.More Button

The Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work support which provides an income top-up for employees on low earnings with children. WFP is designed to prevent in-work poverty for low paid workers w...More Button

For low income workers with less than the minimum hours of employment for WFP and working on a casual basis (that is, up to and including 3 days per week) the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) scheme pr...More Button

Apart from the jobseeker schemes if a person cannot meet the 19 hours WFP threshold or if their hours vary significantly from week to week, the Department offers a number of other schemes which c...More Button

Further reducing the “hours worked” requirement would have potentially significant expenditure implications which are difficult to quantify. The number of families working between 15-18 hours and...More Button

It is crucially important that WFP does not inadvertently subsidise unsustainably low earnings or encourage employers to offer minimal hours of employment.  The longer term goal of WFP, as an inc...More Button

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Direct Provision System

Was asked: the estimated amount it would cost to introduce a weekly allowance for children living in direct provision in line with the rate for a qualified child including the higher rate for children over 12...More Button

In Budget 2019, I was pleased to increase the rate of Daily Expenses Allowance to the rates recommended in the McMahon Report on Improvements to the Protection Process.  This included a €8.20 per w...More Button

Child Benefit Eligibility

Was asked: the estimated amount it would cost to reinstate child benefit for children living in direct provision.More Button

It is estimated that the full year cost of introducing child benefit for children who live in direct provision is €2.84 million.

  Any introduction of child benefit for children ...More Button

Jobseeker's Allowance

Was asked: the estimated amount it would cost to restore the full adult rate to persons under 26 years of age on jobseeker's allowance.More Button

The estimated full year cost to pay the full adult rate of €203 per week to persons under 26 years of age on Jobseeker's Allowance is €59.9 million.  This costing includes increasing the €112.70 qu...More Button

Pension Provisions

Was asked: her plans to address the concerns raised by former ESB workers in relation to pension issues (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

The Deputy will appreciate that I am unable to comment or intervene on issues relating to a particular pension scheme.  More Button

My Department has no role in setting the level of pension increases received by members of occupational pension schemes.  Pension increases are entirely a matter for the scheme trustees and the s...More Button

Trustees of occupational pension schemes have duties and responsibilities under the Pensions Act 1990, as amended, under trust law and under other relevant legislation.  The duties of pension sch...More Button

Any questions relating to access to the State's industrial relations mechanisms is a matter for the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

State Pension (Contributory)

Was asked: the number of pensioners contacted to date in relation to pension changes applied in 2012; the number that received arrears; the number that have seen their pensions increase; the number that have ...More Button

Since late September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension...More Button

Reviews commenced from 13 February 2019, the day after I signed the necessary Regulations which, together with provisions in the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registrations Act 2018, allows ...More Button

Where an increase is due, the person's rate of payment is adjusted without delay and arrears issued backdated to 30 March 2018, or the person's 66th birthday if later.More Button

Outcomes will continue to issue to individuals as soon as their reviews are completed.  It will take a number of months to complete the reviews due to the numbers involved and the individual natu...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. More Button

Was asked: if the pension of a person (details supplied) is under review; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Since late September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension...More Button

The person concerned was awarded a reduced rate State pension (contributory) in 2015.  Following an assessment of a claim for state pension (non-contributory),  their state pension (contributory)...More Button

In June 2019, the person concerned submitted an application for HomeCaring periods, with the  maximum permissible number of HomeCaring periods (1,040, as set out in legislation) being awarded.   ...More Button

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.  More Button

JobPath Programme

Was asked: if she will report on the supervision over services operated by Seetec; if quality assessment is carried out by her Department; if she will report on reviews carried out of customer experience; and...More Button

There are a number of key features which enables my Department to monitor all aspects Seetec's performance and ensure contract compliance.More Button

Every participant is provided with a service guarantee - a baseline level of service covering frequency of engagement, personal progression planning, geographic accessibility and in-employment su...More Button

On-site inspections are carried out as part of the monitoring of JobPath contractor performance. As at end of June 2019, a total of 50 on-site inspections have been carried out at Seetec  service...More Button

The inspections monitor compliance with the service level agreement and the contract generally, including, for example, the suitability and standard of accommodation, staffing levels, Irish langu...More Button

As part of their contractual obligations, the provider is required to have a comprehensive Complaints Process and this is advertised in all Seetec office locations.  The process contains various ...More Button

Should a customer remain dissatisfied having exhausted the contractor's Complaint Process, they can request my Department to carry out a review.  In this way it can be established if the complain...More Button

As at end of June 2019, approximately 126,000 Jobseekers have engaged with the service provided  by Seetec, with 311 complaints received in total, 0.25 per cent.  I am advised that my Department...More Button

To ensure that services are being delivered satisfactorily from the customers perspective, my Department has commissioned regular Customer Satisfaction Surveys, the latest of which was completed ...More Button

It is important to note that underperformance identified through audits and inspections or resulting from client feedback and satisfaction with the level of service offered by the Contractor or a...More Button

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.More Button

Carer's Benefit Applications

Was asked: when a person (details supplied) in County Sligo will receive a decision on their application for an extension to carer's benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Carer’s benefit (CARB) is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention.

  A person can be considered ...More Button

Illness Benefit Applications

Was asked: the status of an illness benefit application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

An application for Illness Benefit from 13 December 2018 was received from the person concerned on 15 January 2019.

  One of the qualifying conditions for Illness Benefit is tha...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Was asked: the status of a domiciliary care allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for a domiciliary care allowance by a person (details supplied).More Button

Climate Change Policy

Was asked: if her Department has ceased the purchase and use of single-use plastics; the public bodies and agencies under her remit to which she has issued an instruction to cease the purchase and use of sing...More Button

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the agencies under its remit are no longer purchasing single-use plastics.  More Button

The Department provides purchasing facilities for the Social Welfare Appeals Office, Social Welfare Tribunal and the Labour Market Council agencies whilst the Citizens Information Board and Pensi...More Button

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the status of an application for a domiciliary care allowance by a person (details supplied); statement; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Was asked: the status of an application for a domiciliary care allowance by a person (details supplied); statement; and if she will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Disability Allowance Appeals

Was asked: the status of a disability allowance appeal by a person (details supplied).More Button