Social Welfare Code Review

Questions (346)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

346. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection when she received the Mangan Report on child benefit. [9960/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I received the report of the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare on family and child income supports on 28 March 2012. Since receiving the report I have been considering the Group’s findings and have held discussions with my Ministerial colleagues on the issues raised in the report.

The Advisory Group’s report was subsequently published on 20 February and will now contribute to the policy debate on proposals to reform the structure of child and family income support payments, including the balance between income supports and services, such as childcare. Further consideration of the issues involved is required, taking into account developments in terms of further work by the Advisory Group on social protection and taxation supports for working age persons as well as more general developments in the budgetary and fiscal situation. To this end and to ensure that the Advisory Group’s report is considered within the broader public debate on this issue, the report will be considered by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Question No. 348 withdrawn.

Questions (347)

John McGuinness

Question:

347. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an application for domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and if she will expedite same. [9992/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

An application for domiciliary care allowance was received on the 24th April 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who found that the child was not medically eligible for the allowance. A letter issued on the 12th June 2012 advising of the decision.

In the case of an application which is refused on medical grounds the applicant may submit additional information and/or ask for the case to be reviewed or they may appeal the decision directly to the Social Welfare Appeals Office within twenty one days. No correspondence requesting a review of the decision has been received and no appeal has been registered against the decision in this case.

Question No. 348 withdrawn.

National Internship Scheme Data

Questions (349, 350)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

349. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of young persons under 25 years who have participated in the JobBridge scheme to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10003/13]

View answer

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

350. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of young persons under 25 years who have participated in the JobBridge scheme to date and who were on the live register for 12 months or more; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10004/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions 349 and 350 together.

As the Deputy is aware JobBridge is a targeted labour market activation measure intended to assist jobseekers to break the cycle where they are unable to get a job without experience, to provide those seeking employment with the opportunity to gain work experience, maintain close links with the labour market and to enhance their skills and competencies through an internship opportunity, thereby improving their prospects of securing employment in the future. The scheme gives individuals a real opportunity to gain valuable experience to bridge the gap to the beginning of the rest of their working lives.

The JobBridge Scheme has made very impressive progress since it came into operation on the 1st July, 2011. As of 21st February 2013 14,888 internships had commenced, 5,790 participants were on an internship and 2,241 internship opportunities were being advertised on www.jobbridge.ie .

In respect of the specific aspect of JobBridge to which the Deputy refers, I can say that, as of 14th February, 2013, 29% or 4,173 of those who have participated in JobBridge internships are under 25 years of age. The independent research found that, of those aged under 25 years, 24.2% had been unemployed for 12 months or more prior to commencing their internship.

Community Employment Schemes Data

Questions (351)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

351. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the total number of young persons under 25 years participating in community employment schemes and the most recent total number of participants in community employment schemes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10005/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The number of persons under 25 on Community Employment (CE) as at 25th February is 354. The total number on CE at the same date is 22,458, of whom 1,383 are Supervisors. The standard entry age for CE is 25 but exceptions are made for certain categories such as persons with a disability, Travellers, stabilised drug misusers, refugees, offshore islanders and ex-offenders.

Employment Support Services

Questions (352)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

352. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the total number of young persons under 25 years participating in the Tús initiative and the most recent total number of participants in the Tús initiative; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10006/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

There were a total of 4,446 participants in the Tús initiative at the 31st of January 2013 of which 549 (12.3%) were young persons under the age of 25 years.

Back to Work Allowance Application Numbers

Questions (353)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

353. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the total number of young persons under 25 years receiving the back to work enterprise allowance initiative and the most recent total number of recipients of the back to work enterprise allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10007/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The number of recipients of the back to work enterprise allowance initiative is collated by age on an annual basis for inclusion in the Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services report. I am informed that at the 31st of December 2012 there were a total of 10,810 recipients of the allowance of which 312 (2.9%) were young persons aged under 25 years.

Back to Education Allowance Applications

Questions (354, 355, 356, 357)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

354. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the total number of young persons under 25 years receiving the back to education allowance and the most recent total number of recipients of the back to education allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10008/13]

View answer

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

355. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of young persons under 25 years receiving the back to education allowance to pursue a second level qualification and the number receiving the back to education allowance to pursue a third level qualification; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10009/13]

View answer

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

356. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the total number of young persons under 25 years receiving the back to education allowance who were unemployed for 12 months or more prior to participating on the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10010/13]

View answer

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

357. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the total number of young persons under 25 years receiving the back to education allowance who were unemployed for 24 months or more prior to participating on the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10011/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 354 to 357, inclusive, together.

The information requested by the Deputy in respect of unemployment duration prior to commencement on the back to education allowance is not available. I am however informed that there were a total 24,914 recipients of the allowance at the 31st of January 2013 of which 6,585 were young persons under the age of 25 years.

A breakdown of the number of under 25’s by qualification level is contained in the following tabular table.

Number of Recipients of Back to Education Allowance at end of January, 2013

 

Total Recipients

Under 25 years

Under 25 year olds as a percentage of Total Recipients

Second Level Qualification

8,717

3,715

42.6%

Third Level Qualification

16,197

2,870

17.7%

Back to Education Allowance

24,914

6,585

26.4%

Youth Unemployment Data

Questions (358, 359)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

358. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the top 20 districts with the highest level of youth unemployment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10012/13]

View answer

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

359. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the top 20 districts with the highest level of long-term youth unemployment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10013/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 358 and 359 together.

The Social Welfare Offices with the highest numbers of young people registered as unemployed are listed in the tabular statement:

Number of persons under 25 on the Live Register by duration and the top 20 DSP Local Office by level of Youth Unemployment

Live Register

<1 year

>1year

Total

Cork

1,857

991

2,848

Limerick

1,322

903

2,225

Tallaght

1,353

825

2,178

Waterford

1,246

645

1,891

Clondalkin

1,020

694

1,714

Galway

1,158

523

1,681

Newbridge

942

514

1,456

Dundalk

882

470

1,352

Letterkenny

848

437

1,285

Drogheda

803

464

1,267

Bishop Square

820

431

1,251

Wexford

822

420

1,242

Blanchardstown

778

421

1,199

Finglas

703

398

1,101

Kings Inns Street Local Office

677

404

1,081

Tralee

728

282

1,010

Cavan

622

375

997

Coolock

626

322

948

Navan Road

582

352

934

Maynooth

659

251

910

Pensions Reform

Questions (360)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

360. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress on the OECD review of pensions policy; when she expects to receive a report from the OECD; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10014/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

Secure and adequate finances are one of the fundamental components of a happy and active retirement. The sustainability of the pension system is a particular concern because of the demographic challenges Ireland faces, the associated increases in pension (and other age related) costs, and the deterioration in the public finances. This means that, in the future, the task of financing increased pension spending will fall to a diminishing share of the population as demographic projections indicate the ratio of working age to older people will decrease from 5.3 to 1 at present to 2.1 to 1 by 2060. Life expectancy in Ireland is also increasing and whilst this is very welcome development, it also presents very real and obvious public policy challenges.

Discussions on long term pension policy identified the need for a short and focussed examination on the direction of policy to ensure a modern, sustainable, and adequate pension system taking into account the impact of the economic downturn. It was in this regard that the OECD was commissioned to review long term pension policy in Ireland.

The particular aspects being considered by the OECD include:

- the sustainability of the pension system in the light of demographic and investment challenges;

- the adequacy and coverage levels, in order to ensure adequate income in retirement with a particular focus on the lower and middle income group;

- the modernity of pension systems to ensure flexibility in the labour market and supporting mechanisms for longer working;

- equity within the pension system.

The review was initiated in April 2012. Since then, the OECD has engaged extensively with a range of Government departments, the social partners, older groups and representatives from the pensions industry. A consultation forum including a wide range of stakeholders was held in Farmleigh House in September 2012.

It is anticipated that the final OECD report, which will be used to inform government decisions in this area, will be presented to me in the coming weeks. Following consideration, I will then bring the report to Government before publishing it.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Questions (361)

Michael Creed

Question:

361. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will expedite a decision on a domiciliary care allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10027/13]

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, including that adduced at oral hearing, allowed the appeal in this case. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer 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.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (362)

Paul Connaughton

Question:

362. Deputy Paul J. Connaughton asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will be made on a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10031/13]

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 05th 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.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (363)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

363. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of hours of care required to qualify for carer's allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10036/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I confirm that the department received an application for carer’s benefit from the person in question on the 13th March, 2012. A letter issued on the 31st May 2012 refusing the benefit on the grounds that the caree in question was not medically eligible for carer’s benefit and also that the level of care provided was not adequate for the provision of full-time care and attention as set out in the carer’s benefit legislation. In order to qualify for carer’s benefit, a person must be providing full-time care and attention to a relevant person.

The person in question subsequently appealed this decision. The outcome of the appeal was that while it was allowed on medical grounds it was disallowed on the provision of full time care and attention. Consequently, the claim remains disallowed. The outcome of the appeal and the reasons for it were communicated to the person concerned in a letter dated 24th January 2013.

An appeals officer’s decision is final and conclusive except in the following circumstances:

- in the light of new evidence coming to notice since the decision was made;

- it may be appealed to the High Court but only on a point of law;

- the Chief Appeals Officer may revise any decision where it appears that a mistake was made in relation to the law or the facts. In making a request for such a review, the appellant must state the reasons why they believe a mistake was made regarding the law or the facts.

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility

Questions (364)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

364. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the extent of increase of means in net parental income in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in view of the obvious deterioration of the family's finances; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10047/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The increase in parental income was due to an increase in net earnings from employment of €66.79 per week and the inclusion of net rental income from property of €134.73 per week. The rental income was not disclosed by the person concerned when he made his jobseeker’s allowance claim.

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Applications

Questions (365)

Noel Harrington

Question:

365. Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for community welfare allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork while waiting for their application for disability allowance to be processed; if she will provide an update on the disability allowance application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10053/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I confirm that the Department is in receipt of an application for disability allowance from the person concerned. On completion of the necessary investigations on all aspects of the claim a decision will be made and he will be notified directly of the outcome.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that a supplementary welfare allowance appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 07th January 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 21st January 2013 and 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.

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Eligibility

Questions (366)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

366. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 440 of 19 January 2013, if she is implying that a community welfare officer can use their discretion as to whether to continue payment if a person has to leave the country more than once; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10095/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

Payment of any allowance under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme (SWA) is governed by legislation. The relevant legislation is relation to the payment of SWA is Section 189 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 which states

Subject to this Act, every person in the State whose means are insufficient to meet his or her needs and the needs of any qualified adult or qualified child of the person shall be entitled to supplementary welfare allowance.”.

There is no exemption within the supplementary welfare allowance legislation to allow for payment to continue to persons outside the State and I have no plans to change the conditions under which SWA is payable.

Unemployment Levels

Questions (367)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

367. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of persons registered as unemployed at the Blanchardstown social welfare office, Dublin, in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10096/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The following are figures in tabular form for the number of persons on the Live Register in Blanchardstown Social Welfare Local Office at the end of each of the last 6 years and the figures for 2013 to date. In line with the clarification provided to officials the figures relate to the end of the indicated month.

Year

Month

Register

2007

December

3,436

2008

December

6,128

2009

December

8,280

2010

December

8,801

2011

December

8,562

2012

December

8,272

2013

January

8,443

The full Intreo service will also be launched at Blanchardstown Local Office in the next couple of weeks and this will lead to provision of tailored responses amongst those signing on the Live Register. In addition there will continue to be provided a wide range of education and training opportunities available through my Department, the Department of Education and Skills and FÁS to enable jobseekers to strengthen their qualifications and skills base and to thus maximise their chances of meeting the requirements of the modern labour market and gaining employment.

My Department is, for example, working closely at present with training and education providers under the Momentum programme to match jobseekers in the Dublin 15 with the available courses. In this regard a special Information Day is being run at the Blanchardstown Centre on 28th February from 12.00 noon until 7.00pm. Officials from my Department and a range of training providers will be present on the day to advise, inform and recruit as many eligible jobseekers as possible onto an appropriate programme.