Departmental Staff Expenses

Questions Nos. 102 and 103 withdrawn.

Questions (101)

Clare Daly


101. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the protocol in relation to assistant principals and principal officers using their private cars and claiming unvouched expenses when official cars are available in his Department; if he has received any complaints regarding same; and the oversight that is in place to deal with same. [14845/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The Travel Policy operating in my Department fully accords with the requirements of Department of Finance and Department of Public Expenditure and Reform circulars and Revenue Commissioner guidelines.

My Department does not have an official car for staff travel purposes.

The Department’s Travel Policy places a duty on all Heads of Units to ensure that only essential travel on official business is undertaken. All travel on official business must be approved by an officer’s superior in advance.

Officers are encouraged to make maximum use of public transportation options for official travel where possible. Staff are authorised to use their own cars on official business only where no suitable public transport is available or where public transport is available only at equal or greater expense or where the use of public transport would result in the loss of official time which it is necessary to avoid. Where the use of an officer’s private car is approved for official duties, travel expenses are paid in accordance with the motor travel rates sanctioned by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

The Department encourages the use of car-pooling to minimise costs if a number of officers are travelling to the same location for official purposes.

As regards oversight, the Department’s Travel Policy requires that Authorising Officers, when approving an officer’s travel claim, must ensure that:

(a) the travel undertaken was approved in advance and was planned in such a way as to minimise costs;

(b) the expenses claimed have actually and necessarily been incurred in relation to the performance of the officer’s official duties;

(c) the claim conforms to the regulations in force on travel and subsistence expenses;

(e) the claim form has been completed correctly and the appropriate mileage rates (if any) have been used.

In addition the Department’s Finance Unit separately verifies that the various travel rules and rates have been correctly applied and that the claim has been completed properly and authorised at the appropriate level in advance of making payment in respect of any travel/expense claim.

Travel and expenses claims are periodically reviewed by the Department’s Internal Audit Unit as well as being open to examination by the Comptroller and Auditor General on an annual basis.

Questions Nos. 102 and 103 withdrawn.

Social Welfare Code

Question No. 105 withdrawn.

Questions (104)

Michael Colreavy


104. Deputy Michael Colreavy asked the Minister for Social Protection if after a death of a relative, their next-of-kin can continue to claim their payment for a period of six weeks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14261/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Social welfare legislation provides that the payments listed below may continue for a maximum of six weeks after death in a number of different circumstances.

Where a social welfare customer dies while in receipt of a payment which includes an increase for a qualified adult, or where each of the couple was claiming one of the payments in their own right, the payment may continue to the surviving spouse, civil partner or cohabitant for a period of six weeks after death.

Where the deceased person was a qualified adult on the pension, benefit or allowance of a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, payment will continue at the current rate (including the increase for the deceased qualified adult) for a period of six weeks following the death of the qualified adult provided the surviving spouse, civil partner or cohabitant is in receipt of one of the payments listed below.

The spouse or civil partner of a deceased person should apply to the Department for a widow’s, widower's or surviving civil partner’s pension which, if awarded, would be payable from week seven.

Where a qualified child dependant dies, the parent or guardian of the deceased child who was in receipt of a qualified child increase in respect of the child will continue to receive it for a period of six weeks following the child's death. This provision also applies to recipients of widow’s, widower’s or surviving civil partner’s (contributory) pension.

Where a person is in receipt of one-parent family payment by virtue of one qualified child and that child dies, the total weekly one-parent family payment will also continue for a period of six weeks.

Where a carer was in receipt of a carer's allowance or carer's benefit (and where the care recipient was not a spouse or partner) and the care recipient is now deceased, payment of the carer's benefit or carer's allowance continues to be made for a period of six weeks after the date of death of the care recipient.

Also, it should be noted that the period may be less than six weeks in certain cases. For example, if a surviving spouse or parent/guardian is in receipt of illness benefit and returns to work before the end of the six week period, the benefit is no longer payable.

The relevant payments are as follows:

- Blind pension;

- Carer's allowance;

- Carer's benefit;

- Death benefit under the injury benefit scheme;

- Disability allowance;

- Farm assist;

- Illness benefit;

- Incapacity supplement;

- Injury benefit;

- Invalidity pension;

- Jobseeker's allowance;

- Jobseeker's benefit;

- One-parent family payment;

- Pre-retirement allowance;

- State pension (contributory);

- State pension (transition);

- State pension (non-contributory);

- Supplementary welfare allowance.

Question No. 105 withdrawn.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Question No. 107 withdrawn.

Questions (106)

John McGuinness


106. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an application for disability allowance now under appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny; if it will be expedited [14277/14]

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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 11 March 2014. 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.

Question No. 107 withdrawn.