Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (416)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

416. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will review the decision to not award disability allowance in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22717/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The application, based upon the evidence submitted, was refused on medical grounds and the person concerned was notified in writing of this decision on 7 May 2014

If the person wishes to submit further medical evidence her application will be reviewed and she will be notified directly of the outcome. She also has the right to appeal the decision to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (417)

Dan Neville

Question:

417. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a review of a carer's allowance application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [22718/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I confirm that the Department received an application for carer’s allowance from the person in question on the 22nd October 2013. The person concerned was refused carer’s allowance on the grounds that the care recipient is not so disabled as to require full time care and attention as prescribed in regulations.

The person in question recently submitted additional medical evidence in support of their application. However, following review, this information did not alter the decision and it remains unchanged. The person in question was notified of this decision on the 23rd May 2014, the reason for it and of her right of appeal.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Eligibility

Question No. 420 withdrawn

Questions (418, 419)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

418. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection the percentage and number of domiciliary care allowance applications in the past three years that were initially refused by her Department; the percentage and number of applications that were subsequently granted on appeal; if the results suggest there is a policy of blanket refusal of initial applications within her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22742/14]

View answer

Brendan Griffin

Question:

419. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Social Protection if it is departmental policy to refuse domiciliary care allowance in respect of children with autism; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22743/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 418 and 419 together.

The number of domiciliary care allowance (DCA) applications processed and the outcomes for the last three complete years are detailed in the following table.

Year

Applications fully processed in year

Applications allowed by DO incl. on review

Allowed or partly allowed on appeal

Total awarded and as % of all processed claims

2011

5,396

2,502 (46%)

835

3,337 (61%)

2012

4,680

2,204 (47%)

903

3,107 (66%)

2013

4,404

2,444 (55%)

808

3,252 (73%)

Total

14,480

7,150 (49%)

2,546

9,696 (67%)

As can be seen from these statistics, approximately 50% of applications are successful on assessment by a deciding officer, with a further 18% awarded on appeal. In many cases applications are successful at appeal due to the provision of additional information or medical evidence on the care needs of the child, which was not available to the deciding officer (DO) at the earlier stage. The statistics show that there is no policy of a blanket refusal of initial applications.

Eligibility for DCA is not based on the disability but on the level of additional care required by the child because of that disability. Autistic Spectrum Disorder is treated in the same manner as any other disability or condition under the scheme. The Department undertook an assessment of applications that had been processed over a two year period, which indicated that while an overall average of 49% of applications were approved by a deciding officer at assessment stage some 55% of applications in respect of children on the Autistic spectrum were awarded. This statistic would indicate that children with Autism are not treated in a manner that would disadvantage their application for the payment.

It should be noted also that the administrative recommendations made in the report of the review of the DCA scheme relating to changes to the application, decision and appeal processes have been implemented from the 7th April 2014. The application form has been redesigned to allow the detail of the child’s care needs to be more comprehensively documented by the parent/guardian. Also, an additional medical information form can be completed for children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders, such as Autism. This additional medical information, which will be supplied by the specialist attending the child, will ensure that the appropriate information is available to assist in the decision making process. It is hoped that having as much information as possible on the child’s care needs available at the initial assessment stage will allow the correct decision to be made at the earliest opportunity possible and reduce the need for further examination and for recourse to the appeals process.

Question No. 420 withdrawn.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Question No. 422 withdrawn

Questions (421)

Pat Deering

Question:

421. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Social Protection when a reply to an application for carer's allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) will issue. [22749/14]

View answer

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 5th December 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 16th April 2014 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.

Question No. 422 withdrawn.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (423)

Dan Neville

Question:

423. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [22757/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The application was initially disallowed on medical grounds and the decision of the Appeals officer in this case related solely to that aspect of the claim. In order to determine the person’s weekly means her application was forwarded to a social welfare inspector. I understand the inspector requested further information from the person in relation to her means.

A final decision on entitlement to disability allowance will be given on receipt of the social welfare inspector’s report and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Jobseeker's Allowance Applications

Question No. 425 answered with Question No. 348

Questions (424)

Dan Neville

Question:

424. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a jobseeker's application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick. [22758/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The person concerned made an application for Jobseeker’s Allowance on 28 April 2014. The person’s means are currently under investigation and a decision on the claim will be made shortly.

Question No. 425 answered with Question No. 348.

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Eligibility

Questions (426)

Mary Mitchell O'Connor

Question:

426. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) who is receiving invalidity pension has to come off same when a job offer comes up, and if it does not work out has to wait six to 12 weeks to be put back into the system; the reason is takes four to six weeks to be put on partial capacity in the interim period and in the meantime the person loses out on the job offer; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22762/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

Partial capacity benefit (PCB) is a social welfare scheme which allows a person to return to employment if they have a reduced capacity for work and to continue to receive an illness related payment from this Department. Applicants for PCB must first be in receipt of either illness benefit (IB) for at least 6 months or invalidity pension (IP).

Entry to the Scheme is subject to medical assessment and as part of the application process the customer is required to complete an application form, including a detailed medical report from their doctor. When these forms are returned to the Department they are considered by a medical assessor who assesses the restriction on the person’s capacity for work and this assessment is available to the Department’s Deciding Officer.

When a customer makes an application for PCB and has a job lined up with a start date, the PCB section will fast track the application. As far as possible the Department tries to dovetail the end of the IP/IB payment with the commencement of the PCB payment.

Situations where PCB is awarded and the customer subsequently ceases work and wishes to return to their original scheme are also facilitated as quickly as possible. The Department requires documentary evidence that the customer has ceased work (i.e. a P45 or letter from employer and a declaration from the customer). In such cases the PCB payment remains in place until the full IP or IB payment can be reinstated. The full IP or IB payment is backdated to the date that the customer ceased working, where applicable.

The person concerned is currently receiving IP. On 22nd April, 2013 he requested PCB application forms. He did not proceed with his application for PCB and returned a declaration to the Department dated 11th June, 2013 that he would not work while in receipt of IP. He requested PCB forms a second time in December, 2013 and once again did not return the forms, and signed a further declaration, on 16th December, 2013, stating that he would not work while in receipt of IP. On 23rd April, 2014 he has again requested PCB forms which have been issued by the Department, but not, as yet, returned.

Once a claim form is returned for the person concerned, the Department will be able to process his claim further.

Social Welfare Overpayments

Questions (427)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

427. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason payments of €10 per week are not acceptable in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22790/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

Invalidity pension (IP) is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the contribution conditions.

It is the department’s policy to pursue all debts with the aim of recouping the money owed within the shortest possible timeframe. To this end, the department may withhold any arrears due to the customer and/or implement weekly deductions of up to 15% of the personal rate payable to the customer.

When determining a recovery plan, the general approach is that the recovery amount proposed will be the maximum repayment that the person can afford in order to recover the overpayment as quickly as possible. Due consideration is given to any case made by the person regarding the method of recovery. Currently, the department does not apply interest or penalties on the amounts owing.

Correspondence issued to the person concerned on 17 January 2014 advising him of the outstanding overpayment amount €12,755.79 and a proposed method of recovery of the overpayment. This letter proposed to recover his debt to the department by withholding arrears of IP of €4,401.99 due to him and to recover the balance of the debt through weekly deductions of €29.00 from his IP payment.

As part of this standard letter, the person concerned was offered the opportunity to comment on the proposal and to provide relevant facts and circumstances that he wished to be considered prior to a recovery plan being implemented. A letter issued to the person concerned on 29 April 2014 advising him that the proposed repayment plan as outlined in 17 January correspondence would be implemented within 7 days if there was no response received from him regarding his overpayment and proposed method of recovery.

To date, the person concerned has not contacted the department regarding proposed weekly deductions nor provided any relevant information pertaining to his current financial circumstances. Therefore no grounds have been put forward for the Department’s consideration to justify a reduced level of repayment.

On 08 May 2014 a letter issued to the person concerned advising him that the Department’s proposed repayment plan was being implemented, consisting of the withholding of arrears of IP and weekly deductions of €29.00 commencing 15 May 2014.

It is still open to the person concerned to contact the department regarding the proposed weekly deductions with evidence of his financial circumstances.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Question No. 429 withdrawn

Questions (428)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

428. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection when invalidity pension will be awarded in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22791/14]

View answer

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 12th June 2014. The person concerned will shortly be advised 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.

Question No. 429 withdrawn.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Question No. 431 withdrawn

Questions (430)

Noel Coonan

Question:

430. Deputy Noel Coonan asked the Minister for Social Protection when an application for a carer's allowance appeal will be finalised in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22795/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an oral hearing of the appeal of the person concerned took place on 6th May 2014 and that the Appeals Officer is now considering the appeal in the light of all of the evidence submitted, including that adduced at the oral hearing. The person concerned will be notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision when the appeal has been determined.

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. 431 withdrawn.