Departmental Staff Rehiring

Questions (169)

Joan Collins

Question:

169. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the number of public sector workers who have retired in the past three years within his Department or any office or body under his aegis who have been reinstated; if he will provide details on the pay rates they are receiving; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10997/13]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

In my Department the reappointment of one former Assistant Principal post was sanctioned for the period 25/10/12 – 31/7/13 in connection with Ireland’s Presidency of the EU. The post is sanctioned at the first point on the Assistant Principal scale and the total cost to my Department for the period of the reappointment is €51,856.69. During this time, the pension normally paid to the individual in question is abated and this results in savings to the Exchequer.

Staffing of the Agencies under the auspices of my Department, is a day to day matter for the agencies concerned. I have asked the Agencies to respond directly to the Deputy.

Youth Unemployment Measures

Questions (170)

Tom Fleming

Question:

170. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to address youth unemployment in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10682/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The 2011 Census provides the most recent statistics on the youth population in Kerry. According to the Census, there were some 16,300 young persons (aged 15-24) in Kerry in 2011, which represents 14% of the population (aged 15 and over).

There were 2,559 persons under 25 on the Live Register in County Kerry in January 2013, down 7.6% on the same month last year.

Young people, typically, suffer disproportionately from job losses in recessions as they tend to have entered employment more recently, are more likely to hold temporary contracts and to be employed in cyclically sensitive industries than older workers.

In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle youth unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth. Past experience suggests that youth unemployment, which tends to rise relatively rapidly in a downturn, can be expected to fall relatively rapidly during the recovery.

In addition to promoting economic recovery, the Government recognises the need for interim measures to support the young unemployed and keep young jobseekers close to the labour market. There are five main approaches being taken to tackle youth unemployment: education, training, job search assistance/guidance, work experience, and encouraging job creation. These actions range across a number of Departments and Agencies. These initiatives are being rolled out in all areas across the country including Kerry. Details of these initiatives have already been outlined in earlier PQs relating to youth unemployment policies at the national level.

There are some programmes specific to Kerry that are also being run. FÁS provides a training course in Tralee, Deciding Your Future, which targets young unemployed clients from RAPID areas. Employment Services in Kerry provide school briefing services where they meet with schools/students who request their services on an annual basis to provide them with an overview of services available. The Mentor Project runs out of the Kerry Diocesan Youth Service (KYDS) in Tralee and provides a mentoring service for early school-leavers who have re-engaged in training with the Leaving Cert Applied in the KDYS, Community Training Centre in Monavalley and Youthreach/Transforum Alley (funded by Kerry Education Service). Clients (aged under 21) who are coming off these programmes are met on a one-to-one basis and provided with career guidance and referral services.

Job Initiatives

Questions (171)

Tom Fleming

Question:

171. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection the plans she has in place to address long-term unemployment in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10686/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

In January of this year, there 16,825 persons signing on the Live Register in Kerry, of which 36% (5,983) were long-term registrants.

Long-term unemployment is a primary focus of the Government’s activation policy both in Kerry and nationally. In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle long-term unemployment is to create the environment for a strong economic recovery by promoting competitiveness and productivity. Economic recovery will underpin jobs growth, thus reducing unemployment.

In addition to promoting economic recovery, the Government recognises the need for interim measures to support the long-term unemployed and keep jobseekers close to the labour market. These initiatives are being rolled out in all areas across the country including Kerry. Details of these initiatives have already been outlined in answers to earlier Parliamentary questions relating to long-term unemployment policies at the national level.

With regard to specific initiatives for the long-term unemployed in Kerry, North Kerry employers have recently been invited to a Business Breakfast organised by DSP to be held in Tralee on Wednesday March 13. An event in Killarney, for South Kerry Employers will follow at a later date.

During this initiative, employers will be provided with information on Government initiatives, existing and newly announced in the Action Plan for Jobs. This will include information on incentives available to encourage employers recruit from the pool of long term unemployed claimants.

This Business Breakfast will brief Employers and Employers Representatives in order to overcome any previous lack of knowledge of incentives for employers to recruit long-term unemployed, and in particular, the recently announced JobsPlus initiative, which will replace Revenue Job Assist and the Employers PRSI Exemption scheme in the second half of this year.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Questions (172)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

172. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Social Protection the reasons for the disparity in the decision of the appeals officer to disallow an appeal in respect of a person (details supplied), while the appeal of another person, whose circumstances were similar to that of the first person, was upheld; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10446/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all the evidence, including that adduced at the oral hearing, disallowed the appeal of the person concerned (Constituent A)

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 Deputy Chief Appeals Officer agreed to review both cases of the constituents concerned, both of which followed oral hearings. The Deputy Chief Appeals Officer noted that in the case of constituent B, far more substantial level of evidence was presented which was not available to the Appeals Officer’s in constituent A’ case.

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that the Deputy Chief Appeals Officer having fully considered all the new evidence adduced in the in the case of constituent A as to the nature and de facto nature of the contact, revised the decision and allowed the appeal of constituent A by way of summary decision. The person concerned was notified of the Appeals Officer decision on 19th December 2012

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.

Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

Questions (173)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

173. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Social Protection if urgent attention and assistance can be given to a rent allowance claimant (details supplied) in Dublin 15; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10498/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

In January 2012 the rent supplement limit for the family size of the person concerned was set in legislation as €825.00 in accordance with S.I. 412 of 2007, Part 3, Article 9, 2 (i) (iii), wherein it is stated that rent supplement shall be awarded on condition that "the rent payable by the claimant is just and proper having regard to the nature, character and location of the residence..." As is standard practice, the person concerned was given 13 weeks in which to either negotiate a reduction in rent or source alternative accommodation. This period was extended for a further month until 31st August 2012.

However she presented herself as homeless on 5th September 2012 and she and her family were assigned to the Sunnybank Hotel which is a reputable premises used by both my Department and Dublin City Council to house homeless persons in temporary accommodation. Dublin City Council which has the responsibility for the provision and standard of emergency accommodation carry out regular checks of the premises.

The person concerned is in receipt of one parent family payment from my Department and I understand currently resides at her mother’s address. I am informed that there are adequate suitable accommodations within the above rent limit in that area Should she source rented accommodation and her circumstances remain the same she may be entitled to receive a rent supplement from my Department and she should contact the local Community Welfare Office.

Departmental Expenditure

Question No. 175 withdrawn.

Questions (174)

Jim Daly

Question:

174. Deputy Jim Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 415 of 12 February 2013, if she will compile and provide an approximate estimate of the cost per annum of means testing individuals for various welfare benefits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10501/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Estimates for the Department published on Budget day provides for expenditure of €20.257 billion on schemes, services and administration in 2013. Of this, just under €595 million or 2.9% of total estimated expenditure will be spent on administration.

My Department operates a range of means tested schemes and these schemes, including the means testing elements, are administered through a network of local and central offices.

Means testing is an integral part of the administration process to decide if a person has an entitlement to a payment or a continuing entitlement to a payment and the amount of that payment for the following schemes: Jobseeker’s allowance, one parent family payment, widows / widowers / surviving civil partners non-contributory pension, deserted wife’s allowance, basic supplementary welfare allowance, farm assist, pre-retirement allowance, back to work allowance, back to education allowance, disability allowance, blind pension, carer’s allowance, family income supplement and back to school clothing and footwear allowance. In addition there is a means testing element to determining entitlement to an increase for a qualified adult and qualified child as well as the fuel allowance for social insurance schemes.

The main components of workflow in the department’s processing sections are claim processing, maintenance, control activity and dealing with enquiries. Means testing is just one aspect of the process. The means of a claimant where required are established following an assessment of the claimant’s financial position. This may be carried out at the relevant scheme office and, in some cases, may involve referral to a Social Welfare Inspector/Community Welfare Officer to carry out a home visit. The means are determined by the Deciding Officer/Designated Person and as appropriate are used to adjust the amount of the payment, if any; a claimant will receive, subject to all the other conditions of the scheme being satisfied.

The Department’s administration processes are supported by shared infrastructure and IT systems. These systems support various aspects of claim processing, including means assessment.

For the reasons outlined above it is not possible to disaggregate the specific administration costs relating to means testing as it forms just one element of determining entitlement to a specific payment and, in many cases, the staff who administer these schemes in Social Welfare Offices or as part of the Departmental Inspectorate are also simultaneously administering other schemes, including schemes which are not means tested.

Question No. 175 withdrawn.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (176)

Pat Breen

Question:

176. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision on an invalidity pension will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10512/13]

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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 on 25th February 2013.

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 (177)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

177. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress to date in respect of an appeal for invalidity pension in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; when the appeal will reach a conclusion; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10530/13]

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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 31st January 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.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (178)

Noel Harrington

Question:

178. Deputy Noel Harrington asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the refusal of application for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10532/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The person concerned applied for disability allowance on 13 June 2012. The application based upon the evidence submitted, was refused on medical grounds and the person was notified in writing of this decision on 3 December 2012.

The person submitted further medical evidence in support of her claim and a review of his application is underway. Once a decision is made on this review the person will be notified of the outcome.