Employment Support Services

Questions (161, 163)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

161. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection the facilities that are in place to assist family carers to avail of education and employment opportunities during their caring years and help them re enter the workforce when their caring role ends. [34031/13]

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Terence Flanagan

Question:

163. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection the measures in place to support family carers so that they can avail of training and employment opportunities during their caring years to help them prepare to re-enter the workforce when their caring role ends; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33606/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 161 and 163 together.

The contribution that people provide in caring for members of their own family is critical for society and it was for that reason that the Government last year adopted the National Carers’ Strategy – with a view to giving greater public recognition to carers and their work. In recognition of supporting carers to maintain a link to the workforce, carers can work or engage in training for up to 15 hours a week outside the home. When the carer’s caring responsibilities come to an end, staff in the department’s local offices is available to discuss options such as further education and training opportunities.

Family Income Supplement Appeals

Question No. 163 answered with Question No. 161.

Questions (162)

Heather Humphreys

Question:

162. Deputy Heather Humphreys asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a family income supplement appeal in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33587/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that there is no record of any appeal by the person concerned having been registered by that office. 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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Question No. 163 answered with Question No. 161.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (164)

Tom Fleming

Question:

164. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will examine a disability allowance appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33613/13]

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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 27 March 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought from the Department of Social Protection. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 4 July 2013 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on 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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Questions (165)

John McGuinness

Question:

165. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for domiciliary care allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; and when a decision will be made. [33623/13]

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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 of the available evidence, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision. 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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions Nos. 167 and 168 withdrawn.

Questions (166)

Pat Deering

Question:

166. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Carlow will have a final decision on their application for disability allowance; and if she will expedite the matter. [33627/13]

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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 24 June 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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Questions Nos. 167 and 168 withdrawn.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (169)

Michael Creed

Question:

169. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will be made on an invalidity pension appeal by a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33696/13]

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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 of the available evidence, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision. 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 in relation to social welfare entitlements.

Social Insurance Issues

Questions (170)

Arthur Spring

Question:

170. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person who paid class S stamps while self-employed is entitled to pay PRSI contributions on unearned income derived from letting of farm land, having retired on the early retirement scheme; the benefits the PRSI payments will provide to the person; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33702/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

A farmer who retired on the early retirement scheme and has reckonable income (including income from the letting of the farm land) over €5,000 is liable for Class S PRSI contributions on that income, provided the person is under pensionable age (currently 66) and no tax exemptions apply to the rental income from the farm. Where tax exemptions apply to the rental income from the farm then the income threshold at which Class S PRSI contributions are due may be higher. The Office of the Revenue Commissioners applies tax exemptions where exemptions are due.

The benefits of Class S PRSI payments are Maternity Benefit, Adoptive Benefit, Bereavement Grant and long-term benefits such as State Pension (Contributory) and Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Pension (Contributory). Compulsory PRSI deductions are not made from payments under the Early Retirement Scheme. A farmer who retired on the early retirement scheme and is not liable for Class S PRSI contributions on unearned income could, subject to certain conditions, opt to pay voluntary contributions up to age 66, in order to qualify for the State Pension (Contributory).

Social Insurance Issues

Questions (171)

Arthur Spring

Question:

171. Deputy Arthur Spring asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person who previously had paid class S stamps while self employed is entitled to receive full PRSI credits towards a contributory pension when reclassified to class M due to a reduction in income; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33703/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Class M PRSI relates to people with a nil contribution liability (such as employees under age 16, people aged 66 or over (including those previously liable for Class S), persons in receipt of occupational pensions or lump-sum termination payments and public office holders with a weekly income of less than €100 a week). PRSI credited contributions are an integral part of the social insurance system. For the most part they are linked to having an underlying entitlement to a social welfare payment while temporarily detached from the labour force or having entitlement to statutory leave e.g. parental or maternity leave. The primary purpose of PRSI credits is to secure social welfare benefits and pensions of employees by covering gaps in insurance where they are not in a position to pay PRSI such as during periods of unemployment, illness, etc.

The class at which a contributor paid his or her last PRSI contribution determines entitlement to credited contributions. Credits are usually awarded at the same rate as your last paid PRSI contribution. For example, Class A PRSI contributions may entitle a person to all insured DSP benefits, provided they satisfy the qualifying conditions. Credits are not available to a person who has only Class S contributions.

People who cease to be covered by compulsory social insurance, may opt to protect their existing long-term social insurance pension entitlements by becoming insured on a voluntary basis and paying voluntary contributions. Payment of voluntary contributions does not provide social insurance cover for short term benefits such as jobseeker’s benefit. A person who wishes to become a voluntary contributor must satisfy certain contribution conditions and must apply to become a voluntary contributor within 12 months after the end of the contribution year in which he/she was last compulsorily insured. A person cannot be a voluntary contributor while also an employed contributor or in receipt of credited employment contributions.