National Internship Scheme Data

Questions (128)

John Deasy

Question:

128. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide details of the number of persons who have entered the JobBridge national internship scheme in each of the past three years. [26493/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, came into operation on 1 July, 2011. The Scheme has made very significant progress in a relatively short period of time. I wish to advise the Deputy that 3,748 internships had commenced as at year end 2011. An additional 9,725 internships commenced in 2012. An additional 4,136 internships have commenced so far in 2013. In total 17,609 internships have commenced to-date.

Youth Unemployment Measures

Question No. 130 withdrawn.

Questions (129)

John Deasy

Question:

129. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection her strategy to tackle long-term youth employment. [26495/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The official labour market figures published by the CSO indicated that the number of young unemployed at the end of 2012 was 59,000, of whom 27,300 were long-term (over one year) unemployed. The number of young long term unemployed represented a fall of 8,300 on the figure of 35,600 at the end of 2011.

In the first instance, the Government’s primary strategy to tackle all forms of 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.

The Government is also implementing a number of programmes to assist young unemployed persons 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 and includes the Youthreach programme providing 6,000 integrated education, training and work experience for early school leavers without any qualifications or vocational training who are between 15 and 20 years of age. The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme scheme provides a range of courses to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people over 21 years of age, particularly focusing upon early school leavers. The Back to Education Allowance scheme run by the Department of Social Protection provides income maintenance for unemployed people returning to further or higher education. Over 6,500 young people participated on this scheme in the last academic year.

Approximately 12,000 persons aged under 25 completed a training course with FÁS in 2012. This excludes apprenticeships and evening courses. This year MOMENTUM, a scheme for education and training interventions, which is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs initiative, is currently being rolled out by the Department of Education. MOMENTUM will support the provision of free education and training projects to allow 6,500 long term jobseekers to gain skills and to access work opportunities in identified growing sectors. Over 1,250 of these places are assigned specifically for under 25s.

The JobBridge National Internship Scheme is focused on providing work experience to young people with the total number of placements of young people on JobBridge during 2012 at 2,700. Long-term unemployed youth will also benefit from the JobsPlus initiative which is designed to encourage employers to recruit long-term unemployed people. Under this scheme, the State will pay circa €1 of every €4 it costs the employer to recruit a person from the Live Register.

In the December Budget, funding was secured for an additional 10,000 places this year across a range of programmes, including JobBridge, TÚS and Community Employment. About a quarter of these places are expected to be taken up by unemployed young people.

With regard to the expected impact of policy, the original Action Plan for Jobs sets out a target for 100,000 net new jobs to be created by 2016, many of which will be filled by young people. In this context, the Department of Finance anticipates that the overall unemployment rate will fall from 14.7% in 2012 to 12.3% in 2016. This could be expected to see youth unemployment fall from over 30% in 2012 to 24% or less in 2016.

In addition, the Action Plan for Jobs 2013 includes the Pathways to Work initiative’s targets for increasing the number of people who are long-term unemployed moving into employment and reducing the average length of time spent on the Live Register. Specifically, these targets are that at least 75,000 of long-term unemployed people will move into employment by 2015 (starting 2012); to inncrease the exit rate of people on the live register for two years or more by 50% (to 40%) by the end of 2015; and to reduce the persistence rate (the rate at which short term unemployed people become long term unemployed) to 25%. As two out of five young unemployed are long-term unemployed, these targets are pertinent to young people.

A new recruitment incentive, JobsPlus, has also been developed by my Department and was approved by the Government as part of the Action Plan for Jobs, and is aimed specifically at the long-term unemployed. This incentive will cover the cost of c. €1 in every €4 of an employer’s wage costs and will be launched for availability by July 2013. Young people are likely to be major beneficiaries of this initiative as employers tend to hire young people when there is a recovery in employment.

Following from the formal adoption of the EU Recommendation on Implementing a Youth Guarantee, the Government will review the current range of youth employment and training policies in Ireland to assess what measures will need to be taken to commence the gradual implementation of the guarantee. This will include the identification of what would be the appropriate timescale for implementation in Ireland's current employment and budgetary circumstances.

The scale and nature of the measures required will depend on the trend in youth unemployment, and in particular the number of young people likely to experience periods of unemployment of more than four months under current policies. In this context, it is to be hoped that the favourable developments in the number of young unemployed seen in 2012 is the beginning of a sustained downward movement in youth unemployment as the economy recovers.

Even so, the implementation of a guarantee will almost certainly require an expansion in the range of opportunities currently on offer to young people in the form of further education, training, internships, subsidised private-sector recruitment, and supports for self-employment. It is to be hoped that any measures taken by government in relation to the implementation of the youth guarantee will see youth unemployment fall even further than is already anticipated on the basis of existing policies.

Question No. 130 withdrawn.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Questions (131)

Pat Deering

Question:

131. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Carlow will receive a decision on a review they sought for an exceptional needs payment; and if she will expedite an answer. [26310/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The person concerned will have a decision on the review next week.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (132)

Jack Wall

Question:

132. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26316/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the person concerned was assessed by a Medical Assessor of the Department of Social Protection who was of the opinion that she was capable of work. She appealed this decision on 13 May 2013 and the relevant Departmental papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer who made the decision have been sought. On receipt of the Department’s response the appeal of the person concerned will be referred to an Appeals Officer for consideration.

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.

National Internship Scheme Issues

Questions (133)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

133. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide a breakdown on a county basis of the total number of participants who have successfully completed a JobBridge internship; the success rate of JobBridge participants in subsequently finding employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26319/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The JobBridge Scheme has made exceptional progress since it came into operation on 1 July 2011. A recent independent evaluation conducted by Indecon Economic Consultants found that 61% of interns progress to paid employment after completing their internship. The 61% progression rate for JobBridge is among the best in Europe, where progression rates for similar internship schemes average just 34%.

The Indecon evaluation clearly demonstrates that JobBridge is delivering for thousands of jobseekers by providing them with valuable opportunities to gain relevant work experience, knowledge and skills in a workplace environment. JobBridge is a key instrument which is delivering on the Government’s Pathways to Work agenda.

A breakdown of internships by county and region as at 16 May 2013 is set out in the following table:

Region

Finishers

as at 16/5/13

Current

Internships

as at 16/5/13

Total Placements 

as at 16/5/13

Dublin

3986

1945

5931

Dublin Total

3986

1945

5931

Mid Leinster

CARLOW              

142

80

222

KILDARE          

396

178

574

WICKLOW          

268

117

385

Mid Leinster Total

806

375

1181

Mid West

CLARE         

243

137

380

LIMERICK         

556

320

876

Mid West Total

799

457

1256

Midlands North

WESTMEATH         

280

144

424

ROSCOMMON           

78

48

126

MEATH               

227

149

376

LONGFORD            

90

41

131

Midlands North Total

675

382

1057

North East

MONAGHAN          

161

120

281

LOUTH             

268

162

430

CAVAN             

128

86

214

North East Total

557

368

925

North West

SLIGO 

220

106

326

DONEGAL             

355

203

558

LEITRIM 

51

23

74

North West Total

626

332

958

West

GALWAY            

722

413

1135

MAYO              

229

166

395

West Total

951

579

1530

Midlands South

KILKENNY            

173

94

267

LAOIS              

158

84

242

OFFALY       

131

72

203

TIPPERARY

352

198

550

Midlands South Total

814

448

1262

South East

WATERFORD    

382

212

594

WEXFORD            

326

198

524

South East Total

708

410

1118

South West

KERRY               

300

181

481

CORK COUNTY                

324

216

540

South West Total

624

397

1021

Cork Central

CORK CITY                   

781

383

1164

Cork Central Total

781

383

1164

Grand Total

11,327

6,076

17,403

Rent Supplement Scheme Issues

Questions (134)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

134. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection if she has received a submission from the Simon Community regarding the review of rent supplement limits; if so, the action she will take regarding same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26333/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term income support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. There are approximately 86,000 recipients of rent supplement for which the Government has provided over €403 million in 2013. As the Department funds almost 30% of the private rented sector it is essential that State support for rents are continually kept under review and reflect current market conditions.

The recent rent review process involved the Department seeking submissions from a number of organisations, including the Simon Community. A submission has been received from the Simon Community and was considered as part of the review.

I previously committed to a review of maximum rent limits by June with new limits in place from July. However, I plan to advise the results of the review to my Government colleagues within the next week with new rent limits expected to be in place in June.

Back to Work Allowance Eligibility

Questions (135)

Finian McGrath

Question:

135. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding the back to work allowance and the taxi industry. [26339/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) encourages unemployed people and those receiving other social welfare payments to develop a business while allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of their qualifying social welfare payment, and possibly secondary benefits, over two years -100% of existing social welfare entitlement in the first year and 75% in the second year. In general a person must be 12 months on a qualifying social welfare payment to qualify.

An eligible person wishing to commence a business as a Taxi Driver may apply and will be subject to the eligibility criteria for BTWEA as will any individual who applies for the scheme. A qualifying business must be approved in advance by an Integrated Development Company (IDC) or a Case Officer of the Department. It must be deemed genuine and viable, and not displace an existing business. In assessing viability, cognisance is taken of the demand for, and supply of, the particular product or service at local level.

Detailed breakdown by occupation or the nature of the self-employment of recipients on this scheme is not readily available from records held centrally. While a specific cost benefit analysis has not been completed, the scheme as with all similar activation schemes, are monitored on an on-going basis. A review of employment support schemes including the BTWEA was published by the Department in January 2013. The review process was supplemented and enhanced by a stakeholder forum on all review recommendations which the Department found very useful as it now moves to the implementation phase.

In relation to Action 1 the Department has an extensive legal structure to support the sharing of data for the purpose of controlling the entitlement and payment of benefits. In recent years the National Transport Authority have supplied data to this Department information on active taxi/ hackney licences issued which is used to identify any taxi and hackney licence holders who are in receipt of social welfare payments. Relevant cases are reviewed to determine if they have declared the fact that they are licence holders, and whether they are using the licence or have income from the licence that may impact on their payment. In instances where they are not using the licence efforts are made to determine who is driving the vehicle. The investigations have resulted in a number of social welfare payments being disallowed or suspended. However the vast majority of people were receiving the entitlement due to them.

In addition to enhance information exchange online access has been granted to a number of nominated individuals within DSP which allows data to be viewed via the online National Transport Authority register. The information requested by the Deputy in relation to PRSI class is not currently collated by my Department.

Illness Benefit Appeals

Questions (136)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

136. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress made in respect of determination of an appeal in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26359/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Payment of illness benefit, to the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer following an examination by a Medical Assessor of the Department who expressed the opinion that he was capable of work. An appeal was registered on 8 May 2013 and the Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that, in accordance with statutory requirements, the Department was asked for the documentation in the case and the Deciding Officer’s comments on the grounds of the appeal. In that context, an examination by another Medical Assessor will be carried out. The person concerned will be notified when arrangements for the examination have been put in place.

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.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Questions (137)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

137. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Social Protection when a determination will be made in an appeal for a domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26362/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from the person concerned on the 20 May 2011. 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 on16 August 2011 outlining the decision to refuse the allowance. An appeal against the disallow decision was registered on 14 November 2012. As part of the appeal process, the case was reviewed by a second Medical Assessor who confirmed the opinion that the child was not medically eligible for the allowance. The file was forwarded to the Social Welfare Appeals Office on the 28 May 2013 to have the appeal processed.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (138)

Barry Cowen

Question:

138. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Offaly may expect a decision on an application for carer's allowance. [26372/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I confirm that the Department received an application for carer's allowance from the person in question on 27 February 2013. An information request was made to the person in question on 26 April 2013 requesting statements from financial institutions which had been omitted from the original application. In accordance with normal procedure, the person concerned was told that if the information was not submitted within 21 days that her application would be considered withdrawn. As the information requested was not submitted within the time allowed, a letter was issued on 27 May 2013 notifying the person in question that her claim for carer’s allowance had been withdrawn. If the person in question submits the requested information her application may be re-opened and processed or a new application will be opened, as appropriate to the particular circumstances.