Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (331)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

331. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application by a person (details supplied) for a carer's allowance will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12465/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My department received an application for Carer's Allowance (CA) from the person concerned on 30 November 2018.

One of the qualifying conditions is that the means of the person concerned must be less than the statutory limit.

Following an investigation it was determined that the means of the person concerned were above the statutory limit and that she was therefore not entitled to CA.

The person concerned was notified on 11 February 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (332)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

332. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12467/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned is in receipt of carer’s allowance (CA) for one care recipient since 5 May 2016.

An application for CA in respect of a 2nd care recipient was received on 15 May 2018.

It is a condition for receipt of a CA that the person being cared for must have such disability that they require full-time care and attention.

This is defined as requiring from another person, continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily functions or continual supervision in order to avoid danger to him or herself and likely to require that level of care for at least twelve months.

The evidence submitted in support of the application was examined and the deciding officer decided that this evidence did not indicate that the requirement for full-time care was satisfied.

The person concerned was notified on 24 September 2018 of the decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

The department was notified on 23 November 2018 that the person concerned had appealed this decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO). A submission in support of the decision along with the file was sent to the SWAO on 8 March 2019 for determination.

Once a decision is made on the appeal, the SWAO will notify the person concerned of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (333)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

333. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied) for a carer's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12472/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

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 27 March 2019. The person concerned has been notified of the arrangements for the hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Funding

Questions (334)

Denis Naughten

Question:

334. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the funding her Department or agencies under the remit of her Department have provided to projects in County Galway in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12509/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department provides funding to local communities through work scheme projects such as Community Employment (CE), Rural Social Scheme (RSS) and Tús. These schemes cater for the long-term unemployed jobseekers and those most distant from the labour market.

CE schemes provide part-time temporary work in their local communities, including opportunities for training and development as a stepping-stone back to employment, for people in receipt of a range of social welfare payments, including those on a long-term jobseeker’s payment. The Tús initiative is a community work placement scheme providing short-term working opportunities for unemployed people. The RSS provides income support for farmers and fisherpersons who are currently in receipt of specified social welfare payments and the scheme helps to provide certain services of benefit to rural communities.

The annual budget provided to CE schemes includes an amount to cover the cost of training, materials, participant and supervisor wages, which are necessary for the effective operation of the scheme. The materials grant is available towards the cost of all materials necessary for the effective operation of the project such as insurance, audit fees and protective clothing. All scheme expenditure is approved by my Department, at Divisional level, in line with the contract agreement.

The RSS and Tús initiatives are being delivered nationally through the network of 47 Local Development Companies nationally and Údarás na Gaeltachta in Gaeltacht areas, collectively known as Implementing bodies (IBs). Each IB is paid an annual service fee for the administration and delivery of the work schemes in the geographic area covered by its operation.

The information requested is currently being compiled by my Department and will be provided to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Funding

Questions (335)

Denis Naughten

Question:

335. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the funding that her Department or agencies under the remit of her Department have provided to projects in County Roscommon in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, respectively; if the funding has been allocated; if it has been drawn down in each case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12526/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department provides funding to local communities through work scheme projects such as Community Employment (CE), Rural Social Scheme (RSS) and Tús. These schemes cater for the long-term unemployed jobseekers and those most distant from the labour market.

CE schemes provide part-time temporary work in their local communities, including opportunities for training and development as a stepping-stone back to employment, for people in receipt of a range of social welfare payments, including those on a long-term jobseeker’s payment. The Tús initiative is a community work placement scheme providing short-term working opportunities for unemployed people. The RSS provides income support for farmers and fisherpersons who are currently in receipt of specified social welfare payments and the scheme helps to provide certain services of benefit to rural communities.

The annual budget provided to CE schemes includes an amount to cover the cost of training, materials, participant and supervisor wages, which are necessary for the effective operation of the scheme. The materials grant is available towards the cost of all materials necessary for the effective operation of the project such as insurance, audit fees and protective clothing. All scheme expenditure is approved by my Department, at Divisional level, in line with the contract agreement.

The RSS and Tús initiatives are being delivered nationally through the network of 47 Local Development Companies nationally and Údarás na Gaeltachta in Gaeltacht areas, collectively known as Implementing bodies (IBs). Each IB is paid an annual service fee for the administration and delivery of the work schemes in the geographic area covered by its operation.

The information requested is currently being compiled by my Department and will be provided to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Carer's Benefit Payments

Questions (336)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

336. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason half-rate child dependant allowance is not applied to carer’s benefit claimants for foster children for the first six months while it is paid to other claimants of social welfare payments immediately; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12536/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's Benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based payment made to a person who leaves the workforce to care for a child or an adult in need of full-time care and attention. An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

A recipient of CARB is entitled to claim an increase for a qualified child (IQC) where:

- the child normally resides with them and

- the child is aged less than 18 or is aged between 18 and 21 and attending full-time day education and

- where there is a spouse, civil partner or cohabitant, their gross income is less than €400 per week

There is no distinction between a recipient who is a birth parent, an adoptive parent or a foster parent. An IQC is payable on CARB from the date that the child becomes a qualified child for that parent or the date that CARB commences, whichever is the later.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Child Benefit Eligibility

Questions (337)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

337. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason child benefit is not paid to foster parents for the first six months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12537/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Child Benefit is a monthly payment made to families with children in respect of all qualified children up to the age of 16 years. The payment continues to be paid in respect of children up to their 18th birthday who are in full-time education, or who have a disability. Child Benefit is currently paid to almost 622,900 families in respect of almost 1.2 million children, with expenditure of more than €2 billion in 2018.

The rules for determining the person with whom a child resides for the purposes of the payment of child benefit are set out in Article 159 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 142 of 2007). These rules were amended in 2007 by the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 859 of 2007).

These amending regulations contain an additional rule, which provides that where a child is placed in foster care, or with a relative by the HSE, payment of child benefit will transfer to the foster parent after a period of six months of foster care. The rationale behind this change is that the purpose of child benefit is to assist toward the ongoing cost of child rearing. However, when introducing the change, it was considered inappropriate to withdraw payment from a parent in respect of short periods of foster care. Furthermore, it was recognised that the immediate withdrawal of child benefit may have an adverse financial effect on the mother who may, regardless of the duration of the foster care, maintain some level of contact with the child.

It should be noted that discussions with the Health Service Executive and the Irish Foster Care Association at the time of the making of these Regulations, established that the HSE considers the vast majority of foster care arrangements to be short-term placements. I understand from my Department that in view of this and in light of the fact that legislating for all possible scenarios would be impractical, it was decided that six months represents a reasonable ‘lead-in’ time before the transfer of child benefit.

While these arrangements are kept under constant review, any changes to the payment of child benefit to foster parents would have to be considered in the overall budgetary context.

Fuel Allowance Data

Questions (338)

John Brady

Question:

338. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons who received the fuel allowance for the 2018 to 2019 season; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12546/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Fuel Allowance is a payment made to people who are dependent on long-term social welfare payments and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs. Budget 2019 provided for the extension of the fuel allowance season by one week, thus extending the season to 28 weeks. The additional week of Fuel Allowance will be paid at the end of the current fuel season in April 2019.

The current fuel season commenced on 1 October 2018. The average number of Fuel Allowance recipients was 373,438 from October 2018 to December 2018. The 2019 Revised Estimates for the remainder of the fuel season from January to April 2019 provides for an average of 371,485 recipients.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Questions (339)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

339. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a domiciliary care allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12547/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an oral hearing of the appeal of the person concerned took place on 6 February 2019 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. It is expected that the Appeals Officer's decision will be issued in the near future.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Questions (340)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

340. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a domiciliary care allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12552/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

An application for Domiciliary Care Allowance was received from the person concerned on the 11th October 2018. The application was not allowed as the child was not considered to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the allowance. A letter issued on the 4th January 2019 setting out the decision of the deciding officer to refuse the allowance.

An appeal of the decision was registered by the Social Welfare Appeals Office on the 28th January 2019. As part of the appeals process the application will be re-examined by a deciding officer and a revised decision will be made if warranted. Alternatively, the case will be referred for consideration by the Social Welfare Appeals Office. The person concerned will be notified of the outcome of the deciding officer's review as soon as possible.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.