Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (262)

Michael McNamara

Question:

262. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Social Protection how many letters were sent to social welfare recipients in 2014 offering them the possibility of having their payment lodged directly into a bank account or building society account; how many such letters issued in 2013; how such recipients were selected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [14805/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department does not compile statistics on the precise nature of letters issued to clients. Revised arrangements were announced as part of Budget 2014 to apply to older jobseeking clients. The measures provide for these clients to continue to avail of Departmental supports on a voluntary basis should they wish to return to work, training or education. In addition, provision is made for these clients to receive their payments directly into an account in a financial institution if they so wish. I understand that some 17,000 letters were issued to such clients between late 2013 to date. These letters, which were issued predominantly in 2014, are designed to ease the transition from working age to retirement. Some additional one hundred clients in receipt of rent supplement, who already receive their primary income support by EFT, were contacted advising them of the option to have the rent payment paid directly into an account. The Department does not maintain statistics on the total number of clients who took up this option.