Rural Social Scheme Applications

Question No. 180 withdrawn.

Questions (179)

Michael Lowry

Question:

179. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans for the rural social scheme for 2013 and 2014; and if she will provide a guarantee that this scheme will be continued in its current form. [10533/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The rural social scheme provides income support for farmers and those engaged in fishing who have an entitlement to specified social welfare payments. Participants are engaged for 19½ hours per week to provide certain services of benefit to rural communities. The scheme currently provides work opportunities for around 2,600 participants and 130 supervisory staff. The funds allocated for 2013 amount to €45m, which should enable the scheme to continue as in previous years but does not allow for the recruitment above the numbers stated above. Allocation levels in 2014 will be determined as part of the annual budget process. The Department of Social Protection has recently published a review of employment support schemes which, together with the outcome of the focussed policy assessment of the RSS which the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has indicated it intends to conduct this year, will inform future policy developments of the scheme.

Question No. 180 withdrawn.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Questions (181)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

181. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue on an appeal for domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; the delay in processing same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10636/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received on the 19th June 2012. This application was referred to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors who considered that the child was not medically eligible for DCA. A letter issued on the 7th August 2012 outlining the decision to refuse the allowance. The person concerned subsequently lodged an appeal against this decision. As part of the appeal process, the case has been forwarded to another of the Department’s Medical Assessors for further consideration, including a review of any new information supplied. Upon receipt of the Medical Assessor’s opinion, the case will be further examined and allowed or forwarded for consideration by the Appeals Office.

Job Initiatives

Questions (182)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

182. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will assure participants on jobs initiative programmes that there is no change to the programme; her views on the future of the scheme; and the enhancements to the scheme, if any, she plans to implement to the jobs initiative scheme this year. [10652/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Job Initiative (JI) scheme was launched in 1996. The Job Initiative programme initially provided three years full-time employment for people who – on entry to the scheme – were 35 years of age or over, unemployed for 5 years or more, and in receipt of social welfare payments over that period. In November 2004 the then Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment decided to allow those already on the programme to remain until retirement age (at 66). Further recruitment onto the scheme was also halted from that date.

A stakeholder conference was held on the 18th of February to consider the recommendations made in the Review of Employment Support Schemes including Job Initiative, published by this Department in November 2012. The conference provided stakeholders with the opportunity to debate the issues raised. Further consideration will now be given to the recommendations made over the next number of months.

Family Income Supplement Applications

Question No. 184 withdrawn.

Questions (183)

Jack Wall

Question:

183. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an application for family income supplement in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10654/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The family income supplement (FIS) is designed to provide support for people with families who are on low earnings. The person concerned made a first time application for FIS on 18 October 2012. As part of an application for FIS applicants are required to enclose their most recent payslips along with their latest P60, in order that their average net assessable earnings can be determined. When the application of the person concerned was examined these documents were outstanding. Accordingly she has been requested to supply them. Once received, a decision will be made on the entitlement to FIS of the person concerned and they will be notified directly of the outcome.

Question No. 184 withdrawn.

One-Parent Family Payment Appeals

Questions (185)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

185. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress made to date in the determination of an application for one parent family payment in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10662/13]

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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 will be 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.

Departmental Correspondence

Questions (186)

Micheál Martin

Question:

186. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Social Protection if she has dealt with correspondence dated 18 January 2013 from the South Dublin County Partnership, raising concerns regarding the Tús programme; if she appreciates the need for action; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10672/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The correspondence referred to by the Deputy was received by my department on 31st January 2013 and concerns matters raised by Dublin based local development companies delivering Tús, the community work placement initiative, on the application of changes with respect to PRSI introduced as part of Budget 2013. A written response was issued by the Department on 12th February 2013 setting out the current position regarding the application of the tax and PRSI situation to payments made in respect of the Tús initiative.

Community Employment Schemes Review

Questions (187)

Robert Dowds

Question:

187. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Social Protection the financial consideration that is given to community employment scheme sponsors that entered contracts with suppliers prior to the reduction of the materials grant in order to allow them to fulfill the terms of the contracts. [10683/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

An extensive review of the expenditure requirements of Community Employment (CE) schemes was carried out in 2012 as part of the CE Financial Review. A majority of all CE schemes reviewed fell within the €500 - €1,000 per place per year funding requirement bracket with the remainder requiring less than €500 per year. The outcome of the Review permitted the Department of Social Protection to meet what was considered the essential costs of scheme sponsors in delivering the Community Employment Programme for 2012. Some flexibility was allowed for CE schemes who incurred eligible costs prior to the reduction in budget, where operations continued into the budget year of 2012. At the same time, the Department achieved a budget reduction in 2012 of approximately 30% on materials/training expenditure for 2011.