Jobseeker's Allowance Appeals

Questions (116)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

116. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal against refusal of jobseeker's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; if she will expedite same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21677/13]

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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 registered in that office on 27th February 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 10th April 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.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (117)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

117. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) [21680/13]

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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 9 April 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.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (118)

Martin Ferris

Question:

118. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Kerry will have their appeal heard regarding invalidity pension. [21690/13]

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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 25th April 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.

Social Welfare Code Issues

Questions (119)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

119. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection if applicants for social welfare who have been recipients of compensation relating to time spent in industrial schools, that was not awarded through the forum of the redress board, will have these compensation payments exempted from means testing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21691/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Social welfare legislation provides for the disregard of certain compensation awards when assessing the means of a person for social assistance purpose. The compensation awards disregarded include awards made by the Residential Institutions Redress Board. Awards made otherwise than through the Residential Institutions Redress Board in respect of periods spent in residential institutions are assessed in the normal way.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (120)

Michael Creed

Question:

120. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the concern amongst persons with a disability in Cork who have been dependent on Cork Accessible Transport Limited for transport services which were co-funded by her Department and Pobal and if she will ensure that an appropriate service is retained for these persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21694/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Access to transport services for persons with mobility impairments is primarily as matter for the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sports and the Health Services Executive. In a number of instances nationally, my Department, through the community services programme has been able to support the provision of services by community companies. Cork Accessible Transport Limited has provided services to people with mobility impairment for a number of years and has been supported under the community services programme, now funded and operated under the aegis of my Department. My Department has recently been informed that the company plans to terminate the provision of services in Cork City from the middle of 2013 due to its board’s concerns around the continued viability of the service and other operational challenges. The Department is prepared to consider proposals from an alternative community based provider to deliver this service. As with all such proposals, questions of capacity to deliver, eligibility, financial viability, and a range of other factors, including compliance with the evolving regulatory requirements, will need to be determined before any new service provider could receive funding support from the community services programme.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Review

Questions (121)

Robert Dowds

Question:

121. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an update on the review of domiciliary care allowance and disability allowance in the 16 to 18 age group. [21698/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Government fully recognises that the domiciliary care allowance (DCA) scheme represents a very important support to parents and guardians who live with, and care for, children with a disability. Likewise, the disability allowance (DA) represents an important income support to people who are unfit for work.

DCA is now in payment in respect of 26,000 children, an increase of over 3,000 since the Department took over responsibility for the scheme from the HSE in April 2009. Spending on the scheme and the respite care grant, which is automatically paid to all recipients, has increased from €138 million to €145 million between 2010 and 2012. In 2012, DA was in payment in respect of 120,000 customers at a cost of €1.09 billion.

The Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare was established in line with commitments contained in the Programme for Government, with the aim of harnessing expert opinion and experience to examine a number of specific issues relating to the tax and social welfare systems. Following Budget 2012, I requested the Advisory Group to examine and report on the policy objectives underpinning the budgetary proposals relating to disability allowance (DA) and domiciliary care allowance (DCA), which included a measure to increase the minimum age for new DA claimants from 16 to 18 years of age with a corresponding extension in the age of entitlement for DCA from 16 to 18 years of age. The Group’s report on this issue was published on 10 April 2013.

At the same time, the report of the Review Group on the operation of the DCA scheme was published. Both of these reports make a number of policy recommendations, which make a valuable contribution to the policy debate in relation to young people with disabilities. My colleagues in Government and I will consider these findings, taking into account future developments in terms of the budgetary and fiscal situation as well as other work underway.

The administrative recommendations made in the report of the Review Group on the operation of the DCA scheme will result in an improvement in the level of service provided to our customers and will assist in ensuring that those people who meet the qualifying conditions for the payment receive it in a timely manner. It is my intention that the administrative improvements will be implemented quickly.

Jobseeker's Allowance Applications

Questions (122)

Finian McGrath

Question:

122. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will be made on an application for jobseeker's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal. [21711/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The person concerned was refused jobseeker's allowance on the basis that he was not residing at the stated address when the social welfare investigator called. He has since addressed this issue and provided the Department with an explanation for his absence. A decision in relation to his entitlements will be made in the coming days and the person in question will be notified of the outcome.