Community Employment Schemes Eligibility

Questions (127)

Gerry Adams

Question:

127. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will provide an update on any proposed changes to the community employment scheme programme; if there is a maximum time that a participant can avail of a CE scheme; the way it is determined that a participant is eligible to renew their place for the upcoming year within a specified scheme in which they are already engaged; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42631/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

There are currently two options for participation on Community Employment (CE) based on the length of time a person is in receipt of CE-qualifying social welfare payments:

- Part-time Integration Option (PTI) which is a one-year programme of CE for those who have generally been in receipt of qualifying social welfare payments for 52 continuous weeks or more.

- Part-time Job Option (PTJ) which is a three year programme of CE subject to annually renewable contracts for those who have generally been in receipt of qualifying social welfare payments for 156 continuous weeks or more.

With effect from 3 April 2000, lifetime cumulative participation on CE by an individual will be limited to:

- 3 years (156 weeks) for persons under 55 years of age.

- 6 years (312 weeks) for persons of 55 years of age up to and including 65 years of age.

- Eligible persons in receipt of a qualifying disability-linked Social Welfare payment will be eligible for one additional year on CE over the standard maximum participation caps, i.e. 4 years cumulative maximum time on CE for those under 55 years of age (Part-Time Job Option only), and 7 years cumulative maximum time for those between 55 and 65 (Part-Time Job Option only). Participation on CE prior to 3 April 2000 is not counted. Offshore island residents are exempt from this participation cap, subject to the availability of places on island-based CE schemes.

In terms of extending a participant's time on CE for another year under the Part-Time Integration Option, the CE Sponsor must submit a proposal for the re-engagement of participants to the Department officials at least 8 weeks before the participant’s annual contract is due to expire. In the application for re-engagement the Sponsor must identify the circumstances for the re-engagement of each participant, in line with the following criteria:

(i) Where the participant would benefit from continued participation in terms of additional development and training by clearly outlining his/her specific continued engagement within their Individual Learner Plan or,

(ii) Where completion of a project has been delayed for a short time for reasons outside the control of the Sponsor,

Criterion (i) above will be the main basis on which re-engagements will be considered, criterion (ii) is to be treated as exceptional. A maximum of 10% of current Part-Time Integration participants on a project can apply for re-engagement for a further year. This does not apply to Part Time Job Option participants.

For Part-Time Job Option participants, the Sponsor must again supply the details in writing at least 8 weeks before the project year ends, or the participant’s annual contract is due to expire. Persons considered “job-ready” by their Supervisor at their contract renewal time will not be extended into a further year. The operating procedures for Community Employment are kept under review and updated regularly. All amendments are notified to Department staff and CE Sponsors at each new release.

Family Income Supplement Expenditure

Questions (128)

Nicky McFadden

Question:

128. Deputy Nicky McFadden asked the Minister for Social Protection if the family income supplement scheme will continue to be administered in order to provide financial support to those on low wages; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42644/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The family income supplement (FIS) provides income support for employees with families on low earnings, who otherwise might be at risk of financial poverty. FIS also preserves the incentive to remain in employment in circumstances where the employee might only be marginally better off than if he or she were unemployed and claiming social welfare. Expenditure on FIS for 2012 was of the order of €224 million in respect of some 32,000 families. The estimated expenditure for 2013 is expected to be €229 million.

To qualify for payment of FIS, a person must be engaged in full-time insurable employment which is expected to last for at least 3 months and be working for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight or 19 hours per week. Furthermore, the average family income must be below a specified amount which varies according to the number of qualified children in the family. The applicant must also have at least one qualified child who normally resides with him/her or is supported by him/her.

Creating jobs and reducing unemployment are key challenges facing the Government. The tax and social protection systems have a part to play in addressing these issues and in ensuring work is remunerative. To this end, I established an Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare with the aim of harnessing expert opinion and experience in order to address a number of specific issues. These include making cost-effective proposals for improving employment incentives and achieving better poverty outcomes. The Group is currently examining the issue of working age supports, including in-work supports such as FIS.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Appeals

Questions (129)

Robert Troy

Question:

129. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will expedite a domiciliary care appeal in respect of a person (details supplied). [42648/13]

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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.

Rent Supplement Scheme Applications

Questions (130)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

130. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an application for rent allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42661/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The rent supplement claim for the person concerned has been awarded.

National Internship Scheme Administration

Questions (131)

Denis Naughten

Question:

131. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Social Protection if any exception exists for the JobBridge scheme to allow a sole trader to take on an intern where there is no other full-time member of staff (details supplied); the reason this rule exists; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42670/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The company size/employment thresholds which are used for the purpose of determining the maximum number of interns which an organisation may host is set out in the table. The requirement that an organisation must have a minimum of 1 full time employee who is employed for 30 hours or more per week, is on the payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI, applies to all host organisations. The rationale for this requirement is twofold. First it is designed to limit the potential for internships to displace existing or new paid roles in an organisation. Second the purpose of internships is to offer jobseekers experience of a work environment where they can learn from, and be mentored by, work colleagues. The Department takes the view that a host organisation requires at least one other employee to provide the necessary workplace environment to support mentoring of, and the acquisition of workplace skills by, interns.

Appendix: Employment Size Thresholds for Internships.

Number of Full Time Employees*

Number of Internships

1-10 employees

1 internship place

11-20 employees

3 internship places

21-30 employees

4 internship places

30 + employees

20% of the workforce to a maximum of 200 internships whichever is the smaller

* Who is employed for 30 hours or more per week (i.e. on payroll and subject to PAYE and PRSI)

Live Register Data

Questions (132)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

132. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Social Protection the total number of persons who have left the live register in the past 12 months; of those, the total number who found full-time employment; the number who found part-time employment; the number who moved onto a State sponsored employment scheme; the number who transferred to another social welfare payment; the number who left the country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42673/13]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

A total of 407,207 live register claims were closed during the period October 2012 to September 2013. Information relating to the total number who found full-time employment; the number who found part-time employment; the number who moved onto a State sponsored employment scheme; and the number who left the country is not available in my Department. However, the breakdown of closure reasons as offered by people when they signed off is set out in the attached tabular statement.

Live Register Claim Closures October 2012 to September 2013

Reason

Closures

Percentage of Total Closures

Found Work

135,689

33.3%

No Longer Entitled to Unemployment

145,190

35.7%

No Reason Stated

48,964

12.0%

Other

20,367

5.0%

Took up Educational, Training or Employment Placement

28,204

6.9%

Transferred to other DSP Schemes

28,793

7.1%

Total

407,207

100.0%

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (133)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

133. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision will issue on an invalidity pension appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42683/13]

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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 22 August 2013. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When these have been received from the Department, the case in question 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 appeal 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.