Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (295)

Finian McGrath

Question:

295. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of hours a person on a welfare payment may work per week without losing their benefits. [12312/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The number of hours a person may work to qualify for a social welfare payment varies depending on the particular scheme.

Jobseeker’s Benefit/Allowance

For jobseeker’s benefit/allowance the number of hours a person works is not the determining factor to qualify for a payment, but a person must be unemployed for 4 days within a 7 day period. Other factors also apply e.g. for jobseeker’s allowance a means assessment applies.

One-Parent Family Payment

For One-Parent Family Payment OFP) the number of hours a person works is not the determining factor to qualify for a payment. OFP is a payment for men and women under 66 who are bringing children up without the support of a partner. To get this payment you must meet certain conditions, you must satisfy a means test and you must have earnings of €425 or less per week.

Farm Assist

For farm assist the number of hours a person works is not the determining factor to qualify for a payment. To qualify for it other criteria also applies, one of which is a means assessment.

Part-time Job Incentive

To qualify for Part-time Job Incentive a person must work less than 24 hours per week. Other criteria also apply to qualify for the scheme.

Invalidity Pension

A person may not work while in receipt of invalidity pension. In certain circumstances, exemptions to this rule are given to people who wish to undertake voluntary work or a course of study or training generally for no more than 19.5 hours per week. Those who are in receipt of invalidity pension and who wish to take up or resume open labour market employment are directed to Partial Capacity Benefit, although some recipients are still availing of a finite duration exemption from the "no work" rule for open labour market work of 19.5 hours per week or less. Once the exemption period expires, the recipient is directed to Partial Capacity Benefit if s/he intends to continue working. Invalidity pension recipients may participate in community employment (CE) schemes.

Disability Allowance

A person may work while in receipt of disability allowance and there is no hours limit. However, the income from the employment is assessable as means subject to the regulations for the scheme.

Carer's Allowance

Recipients of carer's allowance must be providing full-time care and attention to a relevant person. However, they may participate in work outside the home for a maximum of 15 hours per week. In such cases, adequate arrangements for the care of the relevant person must be put in place while the carer is working. The income from employment is assessable as means subject to the regulations for the scheme.

Carer's Benefit

Recipients of carer's benefit must be providing full-time care and attention to a relevant person. However, they may participate in work outside the home for a maximum of 15 hours per week. In such cases, adequate arrangements for the care of the relevant person must be put in place while the carer is working. The maximum amount a recipient can earn is €332.50 net per week.

Disablement Benefit/Pension

This is a payment to insured persons who suffer a loss of faculty of more than 15% due to an occupational injury or disease. A person may work for unlimited hours while in receipt of disablement benefit.

Incapacity Supplement

Incapacity Supplement is an increase to Disablement Benefit/Pension where a person is considered to be permanently incapable of work as a result of an occupational accident/disease and does not qualify for another social welfare benefit such as Illness Benefit, Invalidity Pension or Disability Allowance. Recipients are not permitted to do work unless it is work in respect of which his/her earnings do not, on average, exceed €33 per week. However a recipient may, with the prior written permission of the Department, be exempted from the "no work" rule for any period during which s/he is undergoing a course of training with a view to taking up some other occupation or s/he is engaged in part-time work for less than 20 hours a week which is in the nature of rehabilitation or occupational therapy.

Family Income Supplement

This is a support for people working on low wages who have children and who are employed for at least 19 hours per week or 38 hours per fortnight.

Illness Benefit

A person in receipt of illness benefit who wishes to work has the option of applying for the new Partial Capacity Benefit (PCB) scheme, if they have been on Illness Benefit for longer than 6 months. The PCB scheme provides an opportunity for people to have their capacity for work assessed and to receive an on-going income support payment based on this assessment. There is no restriction on earnings or number of hours worked.

A person in receipt of illness benefit may apply for permission to train or attend a course of education. There is no restriction in these instances on the number of hours of attendance. Persons in receipt of illness benefit for more than two years may apply for the Back to Education Allowance to pursue a recognised course of study.

Partial Capacity Benefit

There is no restriction on earnings or number of hours worked.

Occupational Injury Benefit / Medical Care

Persons in receipt of occupational injury benefit or medical care may not work while in receipt of these payments.

Respite Care Grant

Having first cleared it with the Department, the carer may attend an educational or training course or take up voluntary or community work for up to 15 hours a week, or work outside their home for up to 15 hours a week, or a combination of both, provided that the total combined does not exceed 15 hours a week.

State Pension (transition)

It is a social insurance payment payable from age 65 to applicants who have retired from insurable employment, and who satisfy certain contribution conditions. It is not a means tested payment. An applicant need not give up employment completely. They may still be eligible for this pension from age 65 if they earn less than €38 per week from part-time employment (paying PRSI at Class J), irrespective of the number of hours they work per week, or if they earn less than €5,000 per year from self-employment. The retirement condition ceases to apply when they reach age 66 whereupon they are automatically transferred to a State pension contributory.

State Pension (contributory)

It is a social insurance payment payable to applicants aged 66 and over, who satisfy certain contribution conditions (or who had been in receipt of State pension (transition) up to the date of their 66th birthday). From age 66, the earnings conditions outlined above no longer apply, and a person awarded a State pension (contributory) may commence full-time employment/self-employment and be entitled to receive this pension. Their State pension (contributory) entitlement and rate of weekly payment is not affected by the level of their earnings or by the number of hours they work per week.

Widow(er)’s and surviving civil partner’s contributory pension

It is a social insurance payment for people who satisfy certain qualifying conditions. Entitlement is assessed on the basis of the applicant’s PRSI record or that of their late spouse or civil partner. It is not a means tested payment. If a person is awarded this pension, and is employed/self-employed, their weekly rate of pension payment is not affected by the level of their earnings or by the number of hours they work per week.

State Pension Non-Contributory

There is no limit on the number of hours a person may work. The payment is means tested.

Deserted Wives Benefit/Allowance & Widows Non Contributory Pension

There is no limit on the number of hours a person may work. Both Deserted Wives Allowance and Widows Non Contributory pension are means tested payments.

Blind Pension

There is no limit on the number of hours a person may work. This is a means tested payment.