Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Questions (399)

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

399. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will arrange to have the issue of a community employment supervisor being recruited by an organisation (details supplied) resolved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22512/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Liberties Recycling is funded as a Community Employment (CE) scheme. The contract for this project is for a total of 46 CE places, with 34 allocated to referred client places (drugs rehabilitation) and 12 allocated to support CE places. Currently there are a total of 35 places filled on the project consisting of 26 referred client places (drugs rehabilitation) and 9 support CE places.

One of the CE supervisors with the scheme has resigned. Before a replacement supervisory post can be advertised for recruitment, it is normal practice that the level of supervision is reviewed by Departmental officials, in order to confirm that the number of supervisory posts is in line with the required ratios of supervisors to participants, and the 9 point agreement for Special Drugs CE schemes. This review is ongoing at present, and the review and its outcomes will form part of further discussions with project representatives.

There will be no reduction in numbers of participants approved to participate on the scheme with the number of funded places remaining at 46.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Questions (400)

John McGuinness

Question:

400. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Social Protection if appeals for social welfare payment under the occupational disablement benefit scheme and the invalidity pension scheme will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny. [22523/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The application for invalidity pension, by the person concerned, was disallowed by a Deciding Officer following an assessment by a Medical Assessor of the Department who expressed the opinion that he was not permanently incapable of work. The case was reviewed by a second Medical Assessor who also expressed the opinion that he was not medically suitable for invalidity pension.

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an invalidity pension appeal was opened and in accordance with statutory requirements that Office contacted the person concerned asking him to set out the complete and up to date grounds of his appeal. For this purpose, a form SWAO1 was issued on 17th June 2013. The person concerned failed to respond and, consequently, his appeal could not be progressed and was deemed to be withdrawn on 5th September 2013.

With regard to the disablement benefit claim of the person concerned I am also advised by the Appeals Office that an appeal was registered on 10th April 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.

Free Travel Scheme Administration

Questions (401)

Clare Daly

Question:

401. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to restrict the free travel scheme in terms of the services and times that citizens can avail of same; and her plans to introduce a charge for this entitlement. [22531/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The current free travel scheme provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme. These include road, rail and ferry services provided by companies such as Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, as well as Luas and services provided by almost 90 private transport operators. There are currently over 780,000 people in receipt of free travel.

Funding for the free travel scheme was capped by the previous Government as outlined in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014. During this period it has not been possible to accept additional routes or providers within the scheme.

Given the increasing number of recipients and the funding pressures, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and I established a working group with representatives from the two Departments, as well as the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the National Transport Authority to review the free travel scheme. The purpose of this review is to examine and report on the current operation and future development of the free travel scheme. The work of this group is expected to conclude shortly.

I appreciate the importance of the scheme and the value it provides to the hundreds of thousands of mostly elderly people who use it.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (402)

Sandra McLellan

Question:

402. Deputy Sandra McLellan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will expedite an invalidity pension application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22536/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who has decided to hold an oral hearing in this case on 29th May 2014. The person concerned has been notified of the arrangements for the 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.

Carer's Benefit Eligibility

Question No. 404 withdrawn

Questions (403)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

403. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person in receipt of carer's benefit can qualify for parental leave; if he or she can maintain his or her carer's benefit while on parental leave; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22554/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Entitlement to Parental Leave is governed by the Parental Leave Act 1998 and the Department with responsibility for the governing legislation is the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform.

In relation to a person in receipt of carer’s benefit, a person retains entitlement while on parental leave provided they are continuing to provide full–time care and attention to a person who needs it. Carers’ benefit is paid for a period of up to 104 weeks.

The carer must have been employed in full-time employment for at least eight weeks, either consecutive or not, in the 26 week period immediately prior to the commencement of the carer's benefit claim.

Full-time employment in this context is defined as insurable employment for at least 16 hours per week or 32 hours per fortnight.

This condition does not need to be satisfied on a second or subsequent claim where a person was in receipt of carer's benefit within the previous 26 weeks.

Persons who have been on Annual/Maternity/Adoptive/Parental or Term-time leave immediately prior to becoming a carer will be eligible for Carer's Benefit. The leave period will be disregarded so that the 26 week period to be assessed (to find 8 weeks of remunerative full-time insurable employment, whether consecutive or not) will be the period prior to that leave.

Question No. 404 withdrawn.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Question No. 406 answered with Question No. 348

Questions (405)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

405. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Cork; when a decision will issue on same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22583/14]

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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 referred to an Appeals Officer on 15th April 2014, 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.

Question No. 406 answered with Question No. 348.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (407)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

407. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if an appeal against decision to refuse disability allowance has been received in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22637/14]

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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 8th May 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.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Questions (408)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

408. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the progress to date in respect of an appeal for carer's allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22641/14]

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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 2nd April 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.

Disability Allowance Payments

Question No. 410 answered with Question No. 348

Questions (409)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

409. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if and when arrears will issue in respect of disability allowance payment in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22643/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Arrears of disability allowance, due to the person concerned, will issue by cheque in the next few days.

The Department regrets the delay in issuing the arrears which is due to high volumes of applications being received and cleared at present.

Question No. 410 answered with Question No. 348.

Labour Activation Measures

Questions (411)

Derek Nolan

Question:

411. Deputy Derek Nolan asked the Minister for Social Protection the rationale behind JobPath; the results it has delivered to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22661/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

JobPath is a new programme of employment activation aimed specifically at the long-term unemployed and those most distant from the labour market with the primary objective of assisting such persons to gain sustainable employment. The allocation of additional resources to the activation of long term unemployed people was the focus of an updated “Pathways to Work” policy statement published in July 2013 (PTW 2013). Having examined various resourcing and contracting options, and taking note of recommendations by the OECD among others, it was decided to procure additional capacity from providers with expertise and experience in the provision of employment supports or related services. This additional capacity will augment the Department’s own activation capacity as well as that already contracted through Local Employment Services (LES) providers. It is not intended that it will substitute for or replace any of the services currently offered by the Department. The Department is currently in the process of evaluating tenders for the provision of the service.

Farm Assist Scheme Appeals

Questions (412)

Tom Fleming

Question:

412. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will expedite a farm assist review in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22673/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned together with the relevant Departmental papers were received by that office on 14th May 2014 and that the case 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 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.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (413)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

413. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding an appeal for disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22699/14]

View answer

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 1st May 2014, 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.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (414)

Dan Neville

Question:

414. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Social Protection if a disability allowance application will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [22708/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The application for disability allowance from the person concerned is currently being processed. Additional information regarding the means of the person concerned has been requested recently.

A decision on eligibility for disability allowance will be made upon the receipt of the above requested information.

Persons awaiting a decision on a social welfare payment are entitled to apply for a supplementary welfare allowance payment pending the outcome of their social welfare application.

Birth Certificates Administration

Questions (415)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

415. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection the changes her Department has made in respect of information to be included on a birth certificate regarding single parents or adoptions or both; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22711/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I understand that this question relates to the compulsory registration of father’s names in the Register of Births.

On the 19 July, 2013, the Cabinet approved the drafting of the Civil Registration (Amendment) Bill.

One of the proposals I am seeking to introduce in this Bill is to amend the Civil Registration Act, 2004 by making it an obligation in the birth registration process to include the father’s particulars on a birth certificate so as to ensure that the child will have a record of their father.

Compulsory joint registration of a birth so as to include the father’s name on the birth certificate was recommended by the Law Reform Commission, in its 2010 report on Legal Aspects of Family Relationships.

The Department is currently working with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to the Government on the drafting of the Bill which will be published in the coming weeks.