Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

Questions (414)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

414. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Social Protection if an application for rent supplement will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15; the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8338/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

There is no record of a rent supplement application in respect of the person concerned. If the person concerned wishes to apply for rent supplement she should complete an application form and return it to the Central Rents Unit, PO Box 11758, Dublin 24.

Farm Assist Scheme Eligibility

Questions (415)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

415. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Social Protection if a farmer or fisherperson in receipt of farm assist and fish assist has to be available for employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8339/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Farm assist is a statutory, stand-alone means tested scheme which provides an income supplement to farmers. There is no requirement for farm assist customers to be available for other work outside of farming. The term ‘fish assist’ is used to describe a feature of the jobseeker’s allowance scheme and refers to the means assessment which applies to certain categories of self-employed fishermen within that scheme. To qualify for jobseeker’s allowance, a self-employed fisherman must satisfy all of the scheme conditions, including the requirement to be available for work.

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Questions (416)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

416. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress to date in respect of a review of a rent supplement payment in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8346/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The rent supplement review process will continue once the documentation requested from the person concerned is returned to the Department.

Disability Allowance Payments

Questions (417)

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

417. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider opening up more schemes to those on disability payments including the new social employment scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8398/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Government, as part of the Budget package for 2013. announced a number of initiatives focused on providing work opportunities for those currently unemployed. The key elements of this package are to add an additional 2,500 places to JobBridge; 2,000 places on community employment; 2,500 to Tús – the community work placement initiative - and the development of a new initiative with local authorities to provide 3,000 opportunities in 2013. Development work on this new initiative has commenced with local authorities and I hope to be in a position to agree a number of pilot projects to inform the design of this important initiative in the coming weeks. The focus of this new scheme will be on those on the live register for 24 months or more.

People with disabilities and on related disability payment schemes from the Department of Social Protection are eligible to apply for a number of schemes, the details of which are available on the Department’s website – www.welfare.ie. In addition, there are also a number of practical supports and allowances available to employers to proactively assist the participation of people with a disability in the workforce. Funding can be provided to employers who wish to retain an employee who has acquired an impairment or illness and to employ a person with a disability. The Department also funds the EmployAbility service nationwide, which is designed to enable jobseekers with a disability to secure open labour market employment with assistance of tailored individual supports provided by job coaches. Given the opportunities that currently exist, I have no plans to consider opening up more schemes to those on disability payments.

Exceptional Needs Payments

Questions (418)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

418. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if an exceptional needs payment will issue in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8415/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department has no record of a recent application for an exceptional needs payment from the person concerned.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Questions (419)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

419. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress to date in respect of an application for invalidity pension in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Offaly; when the application is likely to be awarded; if he will outline exactly the stage this application is at and the stages yet to be proceeded with; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8422/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The department received a claim for invalidity pension from the person concerned on 27 September 2011. The medical evidence provided by the claimant in support of his claim was examined by a medical assessor who was of the opinion that the person concerned is not eligible for invalidity pension as he does not satisfy the medical criteria. The claim for invalidity pension was disallowed by a deciding officer. The person in question was notified of this decision and the reason for it on 09 December 2011.

The person concerned subsequently submitted further medical evidence in support of his claim. Following this review the claimant was found medically suitable for invalidity pension.

The case was referred to a social welfare inspector on 29 June 2012 for investigation regarding self-employment. Unfortunately, the file was mislaid however, the investigation has now been completed and the report has been returned to invalidity pension section. In order to decide entitlement my department has been in touch with the person in question explaining the situation and requesting that he complete and submit a duplicate claim form and signed declaration. On receipt of the duplicate signed claim form and declaration a decision claim will be awarded.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (420)

Tom Fleming

Question:

420. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue on a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8445/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 6th February 2013, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Pension Provisions

Questions (421)

Peter Mathews

Question:

421. Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Social Protection if an information campaign will be launched to make persons aware of the changes to the transition pension from 2014 onward; the steps those who are unprepared take; if there will be any discretion given to persons who must retire at 65 years and will have no income until 66; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8446/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The State pension transition (SPT) is paid for a maximum of 12 months and is available to people who are retired from work on reaching age 65 years provided they satisfy the necessary PRSI contributions. In December 2012, there were approximately 14,400 customers in receipt of SPT.

The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 provided for changes to State pension age. From 1st January 2014 the abolition of SPT will standardise the age for payment of a State pension to 66 years. In addition, the age at which State pension (contributory) (SPC) will be payable will increase to 67 years from 2021 and to 68 years from 2028.

The abolition of SPT removes the retirement condition which acts as an incentive for people to leave the workforce and has been widely criticised as a barrier to older people remaining in employment. There is no retirement condition attached to the SPC. A person who retires from work on reaching age 65 may apply for another social welfare payment, depending on their individual circumstances.

In February 2012, my Department held meetings with the representative groups for older people to outline the changes to SPT and SPC. Feedback was sought from these groups and included in an information pack that was prepared to further publicise the changes to the scheme. The finalised information pack was published in early March 2012 on the Department’s website, www.welfare.ie and was also made available through the Citizens Information Board website www.citizensinformation.ie. A link to the information pack was also tweeted to the Department's followers on Twitter. It was widely circulated to customer representative groups including those representing older people, working age groups, farming groups, trade unions, employer groups, accountancy bodies etc. It was also forwarded to all members of the Oireachtas. Presentations on the introduction of these changes were also made at the Department’s regular briefings with customer representative groups and to members of the public over the course of the year. A further information campaign is planned for quarter 2, 2013 to continue to raise awareness of the changes.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (422)

Michael McGrath

Question:

422. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an invalidity pension appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork. [8453/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who proposes to hold an oral hearing in this case. Every effort is being made to hear the case as quickly as possible and the appellant will be informed when arrangements have been made. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Question No. 423 withdrawn.

Farm Assist Scheme Applications

Questions (424)

Seán Fleming

Question:

424. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue on the current application for farm assist in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Laois; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8518/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all the evidence, disallowed the appeal of the person concerned by way of summary decision. Under Social Welfare legislation, the decision of the Appeals Officer is final and conclusive and may only be reviewed by the Appeals Officer in the light of new evidence or new facts. Following the submission of additional evidence the Appeals Officer has agreed to review the case. The person concerned will be contacted when the review of his appeal has been finalised. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (425)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

425. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue on an appeal for invalidity pension in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8519/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer having fully considered all the available evidence allowed the appeal of the person concerned by way of summary decision. The person concerned was notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Question No. 427 withdrawn.

Questions (426)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

426. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue from the social welfare appeals office in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8613/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer is now considering the appeal of the person concerned in the light of all the evidence submitted, including that adduced at the oral hearing. It is anticipated that a decision will issue in this case within the next two weeks. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Question No. 427 withdrawn.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Question No. 429 withdrawn.

Questions (428)

James Bannon

Question:

428. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will provide an update on an application for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Longford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8626/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 13th July 2011. This application was disallowed on medical grounds on 16th February 2012 and the person was notified accordingly. The person in question subsequently submitted further evidence in support of the application on the 11th April 2012 and on the 26th June 2012. However, this information did not alter the opinion of the medical assessor and the deciding officer has confirmed the decision to disallow carer’s allowance in this case.

Question No. 429 withdrawn.

Disability Support Services Provision

Questions (430)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

430. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she has examined the budgetary requirements of the employability service in County Kildare which handles the administration and placement of employment for people with a particular or special needs requirement in the context of their employment, if her attention has been drawn to the need for continuity of funds for the provision of the services required with particular reference to the changeover from FÁS-Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment to her Department; if she will arrange to liaise with the service providers with a view to contract update and renewal and the need for dependability and reliability of the backup funding service now the responsibility of her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8693/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I am very much aware of the valuable service provided by the EmployAbility Services, including Kildare EmployAbility, in supporting people with disabilities into employment. I can confirm that contracts and budget allocations for the current year have now been finalised for each of the twenty-three Employability companies and the relevant staff in the Department are arranging for the completion of the necessary formalities with the individual companies throughout the country. I wish to reassure the Deputy that the issues around the annual renewal of the EmployAbility company contracts are being examined in my Department with a view to ensuring that short-term problems – such as those encountered in Kildare – do not arise in the future.

Carer's Allowance Payments

Questions (431)

Pat Breen

Question:

431. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision on a carer's allowance will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8699/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 3rd May 2012. The application is with a deciding officer for a decision. Once processed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Question No. 433 withdrawn.

Questions (432)

Pat Breen

Question:

432. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision on a review of carer's allowance will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8701/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 2nd December 2011. This application was disallowed on medical grounds on the 2nd November 2012 and the person in question was notified accordingly. The person in question subsequently submitted further medical evidence for review on 20th December 2012. The medical evidence was forwarded to the Department’s medical assessors for further consideration. This medical evidence is awaiting medical assessment. Once the review is completed in this case the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Question No. 433 withdrawn.

Jobseeker's Allowance Appeals

Questions (434)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

434. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will review a decision to discontinue jobseeker's allowance to a person (details supplied) as participation in a FÁS community employment scheme is contingent on being in receipt of this payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8706/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned together with the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal were received by that office on 01st February 2013. The case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing. The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions on social welfare entitlements.

Illness Benefit Applications

Questions Nos. 436 and 437 withdrawn.

Questions (435)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

435. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the entitlement to illness benefit in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8709/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The person concerned does not satisfy the qualifying conditions for illness benefit because he has not paid any pay related social insurance contributions (PRSI) at classes A, E, H or P since 1985/86. In order to qualify for illness benefit a claimant must have at least 104 weeks of PRSI contributions (at classes A,E, H or P) paid since he first started work and have at least 39 weeks PRSI contributions paid or credited in the relevant contribution year (a minimum of 13 weeks must be paid contributions). The relevant contribution year is the second last complete contribution year before the year in which the claim is made.

Where for any two complete consecutive contribution years there are no employment contributions paid or credited in respect of an insured person, an employment contribution shall not be credited to such a person until 26 employment contributions have been paid. The person concerned has no reckonable PRSI contributions paid or credited since the 1985/86 contribution year and therefore he has no current entitlement to credited PRSI contributions. If the means of the person concerned are not sufficient to meet his needs or the needs of his household, he may wish to consider applying for supplementary welfare allowance. In this regard, he should contact the Department of Social Protection representative at his local health centre, who will advise him of possible entitlement to this allowance.

Questions Nos. 436 and 437 withdrawn.