Citizens Information Services

Questions (1264)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

1264. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of community employment workers and volunteers working in citizen's information centres and services; the number of advocacy cases dealt with in citizens' information centres in 2018 that did not relate to social welfare or housing appeals; the number of staff that will be employed by the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities in 2019; the salary range involved; the number of staff employed at salaries equivalent to grade 8 in the HSE; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13225/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is the statutory body responsible for supporting the provision of information, advice (including money and budgeting advice) and advocacy services to citizens on a wide range of public and social services. The nationwide network of Citizens Information Services (CIS), is funded and supported by the CIB, and provides information, advice and advocacy services to the public. CIS supports clients, including those who may have a disability, to act on their own behalf wherever possible (self-advocacy) and also advocate directly on behalf of clients, where required.

CIS has an overall paid staffing of 285 employees ( equating to 193 Whole Time Equivalents (WTE's). The network is also currently supported by 201 employment scheme workers (equating to 109.5 WTE's); and 990 volunteers (equating to 112 WTE's).

In 2018, the total number of representative advocacy cases dealt with by the Citizens Information Services was 2,638. The majority of these cases related to social welfare and housing issues. Of the total, the number of cases that did not relate to social welfare or housing was 871. These cases related to a variety of issues such as health, money and tax, employment etc.

The CIB also funds and supports the National Advocacy Service for People with Disabilities (NAS), which provides an independent, confidential and free advocacy service that works exclusively for adults with disabilities.

Current staffing in NAS stands at 54 (52.5 WTE's). The number is due to increase to 56 staff ( 53.5 WTE's )during the course of 2019. Pay scales in the organization range from €24,407 (point 1 Administrator scale) up to €84,877 (top point of the National Manager scale). There is only one staff member who is paid at the equivalent to Grade VIII in the HSE.

NAS has recently been awarded the contract for the provision of a new independent Patient Safety Advocacy Service, funded by the Department of Health. This new service will support those wishing to make a complaint about their experience of the public health service; and provide support to patients who may have been affected by a patient safety incident. Plans for the establishment of the new service are underway between NAS and the Department of Health and it is anticipated that the service will become operational in the second half of 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory)

Questions (1265)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

1265. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a matter will be addressed regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13230/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Since late September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension contributory entitlement based on post Budget 2012 rate-bands. These payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pension calculation which includes provision for homecaring periods.

My Department has written to pensioners in Quarter 4 2018 to explain the review process to them. That letter also informed pensioners that wherever possible the Department would use information already held to complete their review and where additional information was required, it would be requested in writing. In January 2019, almost 24,000 requests for additional information were issued.

The person concerned has been reviewed using information already held by the Department. A review outcome has issued to the person concerned, outlining their increase in rate of pension payment. Arrears of payment backdated 30 March 2018 will issue shortly.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Job Initiatives

Questions (1266)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

1266. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address concerns for the privacy of individual jobseekers that may arise when her Department organises events such as public jobs fairs, community employment, Tús information events or Turas Nua related events; her views on whether this method of engagement is totally unsatisfactory from a protection of privacy point of view; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13302/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The key objective of activation policy and labour market initiatives is to offer assistance to those most in need of support in securing work and achieving financial self-sufficiency. As a Public Employment Service, Intreo offers the full range of Intreo services to all citizens of working age including income supports and activation services.

Entitlement to a jobseeker’s payment is conditional on a jobseeker being available for and genuinely seeking work. Jobseekers are supported in their efforts to secure employment through the Department’s Intreo service and other supports. In turn, jobseekers commit to take reasonable steps to avail of opportunities to improve their prospects of employment.

The jobseekers activation process includes a range of approaches including referral to job vacancies, education and training supports and nomination to JobPath, Local Employment Services and direct employment schemes such as TUS and Community Employment.

Entitlement to jobseeker payments is dependent on participation in the activation process.

The majority of engagements with jobseekers take place on a one to one basis. However, it has also been found that active marketing and promotion of opportunities and communication of wider employment and training options can play a valuable role in supporting jobseekers. Intreo Job Week and aligned initiatives that are run throughout the year showcase these opportunities and provide the opportunity for large numbers of jobseekers and others to meet recruiting employers. At these events employers can meet, inform and interview potential applicants, while job seekers get the chance to ask questions, identify opportunities for upskilling and make important connections. Career fairs are excellent networking opportunities for people to meet those already working in their preferred industry and to identify options for education and training.

Invariably, these events are always well attended, reflecting the very high levels of interest in them. The feedback for attendees at these events has been very positive; for example, of the 450 who evaluated the recent event in Tipperary Town, 90% gave positive feedback and made particular mention of the level of information and support available to Jobseekers at the event.

Every effort is made by Departmental staff attending those events to provide for confidentiality and privacy of persons making enquiries. The nature of these events is such that personal and confidential issues are not discussed. Where an individual has an enquiry relating to their own particular circumstances, staff will always deal with these in a sensitive manner. Where the enquiry cannot be dealt with on the day or it would be inappropriate to do so, arrangements are made to contact the customer as soon as possible thereafter. Equally employers and other third party organisations attending at these events are expected to be professional and sensitive to ensure personal privacy is respected.

Invited jobseekers who are uncomfortable with attending these events for reasons of privacy can contact their case officer in advance to discuss if the need arises.

I trust that this clarifies matters for the Deputy.

Public Services Card

Questions (1267)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1267. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if concerns raised in correspondence (details supplied) about the public services card will be addressed; her plans to extend acceptance in this instance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13330/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Under current legislation, a Public Services Card (PSC) cannot be requested by any public or private body or person that is not designated as a specified body in Schedule 5 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 (as amended). The PSC can only be used by public bodies specified in this legislation when conducting a public transaction with the person concerned.

One of the provisions set out in Section 5 of the Social Welfare, Pensions, and Civil Registration Bill 2017 would, if enacted, enable citizens to volunteer their PSC where they wish to use it as a form of proof of identity and/or age. However, it is important to note that a non-specified body could not request or demand the production of a PSC. It simply gives individuals the option to use their PSC if they wish, as proof of identity and/or age, in transactions with non-specified bodies.

The Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2017 proposes a number of amendments to the Social Welfare Acts, the Pensions Act 1990 and the Civil Registration Act 2004 in addition to the provisions relating to PSC use.

The amendments to the Pensions Act contain a number of key measures relating to Defined Benefit pension schemes. It is intended that these measures will act to support existing provisions in the Pensions Act by providing for further protection for scheme members’ benefits and enhancing employer responsibilities for their schemes. These provisions in particular are very technical and involve complex policy issues. In order to achieve a resilient solution it has been necessary to consult in detail with other Government Departments and obtain numerous legal advices from the Office of the Attorney General on various aspects of the provisions. When these matters have been resolved and amendments approved by Government, an early date for Committee Stage will be requested.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Administration

Questions (1268)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

1268. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter regarding community employment schemes (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13358/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Community Employment National Monitoring Committee, which is made up of representatives of the Social Partners and DEASP staff, meet at regular intervals to ensure that Community Employment (CE) projects do not lead to the displacement or replacement of workers/employees.

At present, the Social Partners for the CE programme comprises of two trade unions namely SIPTU and Forsa (formerly Impact).

If there are other Trade Unions seeking authority to approve CE projects, it is open to them make a case to become a representative on the monitoring committee to my Department.

State Pension (Contributory)

Questions (1269)

Bríd Smith

Question:

1269. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the processing of reassessment of pensions; the reason some persons receive increases a few days after they apply online and others wait weeks; the way in which they are assessed; and the length of time it should take. [13421/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Since late September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension contributory entitlement based on post Budget 2012 rate-bands. These payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pension calculation which includes provision for homecaring periods.

Wherever possible reviews will be processed using information already held by my Department. In some cases additional information is being requested to ensure people receives the best rate possible. Approximately 25,000 requests for information have issued to date. It is important that prompt responses are received to those requests so that the reviews can be completed as quickly as possible.

Reviews commenced from 13 February 2019, the day after I signed the necessary regulations which together with provisions in the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registrations Act 2018, allows the increased payments to be made. The most recently available figures show that as at week ending 22 March 2019, 8,367 reviews have been completed.

It will take a number of months to complete all the reviews due to the number involved and the individual nature of social insurance records. Over 100 temporary staff have been recruited to help with this work. Outcomes will issue to all pensioners in writing when their review is complete.

Regardless of when a review is conducted, where an increase in payment is due, the person's rate of payment will be adjusted without delay and arrears issued backdated to 30 March 2018, or the pensioner’s 66th birthday if later. Where a person's rate does not increase following a review, the person will continue to receive their existing rate of payment.

Given the scale (90,000 pensioners) involved, the fact that each case requires close individual examination and that some cases are more complex than others, it would not be reasonable to expect all to be processed immediately. While this work will take a number of months to complete, it will continue until all pensioners have been notified of the outcome of their review in writing.

Where possible, reviews will be processed based on information already held by the Department. For the majority of pensioners the next letter they receive from the Department (after the first letter) will be a review outcome letter. Where additional information is required to complete the review, a written request is being sent to the pensioner directly. Almost 24,000 requests for information issued in January and another 11,000 will be issuing to customers in the coming weeks. I would urge anyone who has yet to provide additional requested information to the Department to do so as soon as possible so that their review can be processed.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Questions (1270, 1274, 1276)

John Brady

Question:

1270. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons aged from 18 to 25 years of age in receipt of a jobseeker's payment. [13423/19]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

1274. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons aged from 18 to 25 years of age who are engaged in job activation schemes in tabular form. [13427/19]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

1276. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons aged from 18 to 25 years of age who are in receipt of the back to education allowance. [13429/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1270, 1274 and 1276 together.

The information requested by the Deputy is provided in tabular form. The figures supplied refer to February 2019.

Age

Jobseeker's Allowance

Jobseeker's Benefit

Back to Education Allowance

18

1518

-

24

19

2332

13

105

20

2562

67

195

21

2438

222

320

22

2415

343

332

23

2395

556

356

24

2309

666

349

25

2788

713

442

Activation Programmes

Age

Back to Work schemes

Part-time Job Incentive

TÚS

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme

Community Employment Schemes*

SOLAS full-time training for the unemployed

Youth Employment

Support Scheme

18

-

-

-

8

30

423

9

19

-

-

30

29

69

410

23

20

1

-

104

39

92

335

25

21

2

-

109

127

176

230

20

22

10

-

130

97

234

190

19

23

16

1

105

93

276

161

14

24

22

-

111

85

287

174

14

25

28

1

56

70

287

147

1

* excluding Supervisors

Youth Employment Initiative

Questions (1271)

John Brady

Question:

1271. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the progress of the youth employment support scheme; the number of persons aged from 18 to 24 years of age who have signed up to the scheme; the number of businesses and-or organisations that have signed up to provide placements; the amount spent on the scheme since its introduction; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13424/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) was introduced on Monday 1st October 2018 and has been open to applications since that date.

YESS is targeted at young jobseekers aged between 18 and 24 who are long-term unemployed or who face barriers to employment. The scheme aims to provide jobseekers with the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment while on a work placement. The scheme provides a supportive structure for participants, including case worker support for both Placement Hosts and jobseekers.

Since the scheme's launch, a total of 172 jobseekers have accepted and benefited from a YESS placement. 341 YESS vacancies have been offered by more than 290 organisations. The Department is continues to work with these employers to fill the remaining vacancies.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Supplementary Welfare Allowance Data

Questions (1272)

John Brady

Question:

1272. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons aged from 18 to 25 years of age who have sought assistance through the supplementary welfare allowance in each of the years from 2009 to 2018 and to date in 2019. [13425/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme provides assistance to eligible people in the State whose means are insufficient to meet their needs and those of their dependants and who do not qualify for payment under other State schemes. The Government has provided €106.5 million for basic SWA payments in 2019.

Statistics are maintained on the number of applications awarded under the SWA scheme, however they are not maintained on the number of applications or the outcome of those applications.

There are currently some 2,200 persons aged under 26 who have been awarded a basic SWA payment. The number was 2,250 at the end of 2018 and 2,355 at the end of 2017. Equivalent statistics are not available for years prior to 2017. However, the annual statistical reports published by the Department contain age categorisations of basic SWA recipients for those years, and are available on the Department's website, www.welfare.ie.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Question No. 1274 answered with Question No. 1270.

Questions (1273)

John Brady

Question:

1273. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the stage the review and report into the reduced jobseeker's rates for persons aged from 18 to 25, which was due to be published in the second quarter of 2016 is at; when it will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13426/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

In line with other EU and OECD jurisdictions where such measures feature in their social welfare systems, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) age related reduced rates were introduced on a phased basis to tackle high youth unemployment. Receiving the full adult rate of a jobseekers payment at 18 years of age, without a strong financial incentive to engage in education or training, can lead to welfare dependency from a young age. The reduced rates for aged 18 and 19 JA recipients were first introduced in April 2009 and extended to jobseekers aged 20 to 24 from December 2009. The reduced rates were further extended to 25 year olds in Budget 2014.

A key feature of the introduction of the JA rate reductions was that subsequent participation in full-time education and training would lead to an increased rate in payment. As a result, if a young jobseeker on a reduced JA payment participates on an education or training programme they receive the maximum weekly personal payment, currently €198. Budget 2019 increased the rate of JA weekly rates by €5 which means that JA customers under 26 years of age will also benefit from an increase of €5 in their personal rate of payment from 25th March 2019.

Under Pathways to Work 2016-2020, the Department committed to review and report on the impact of the reduced rates for JA recipients aged 18 to 25. The National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM) undertook research which examined the effectiveness of the reduced rates in encouraging young jobseekers to avail of education, training and employment. My Department did not commission this research but allowed the NUIM access to the data from the Jobseeker’s Longitudinal Database to undertake this research. The University examined data for 18 and 19 year olds as the reduced rates were first introduced for this cohort. The NUIM published its findings in December 2018 which found positive results noting a significant reduction in unemployment durations.

My Department's officials recently met with the authors of the NUIM publication and have used their detailed findings as an input into my Department’s own review of the impact of the reduced JA rates. The review is a stand alone report which will be completed shortly.

Question No. 1274 answered with Question No. 1270.

Rent Supplement Scheme Data

Question No. 1276 answered with Question No. 1270.

Questions (1275)

John Brady

Question:

1275. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons aged from 18 to 25 years of age who are in receipt of rent supplement. [13428/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Rent supplement continues its important role in housing families and individuals, with the scheme supporting approximately 22,600 recipients for which the Government has provided €132.4 million for 2019.

The total number of recipients of those not yet 26 years of age (aged 18 to 25 years of age) is 556, which is approximately 2.5% of the total number of rent supplement recipients currently in receipt of support.

Since January 2017, young people who are on age-related-reduced benefits pay less towards the cost of their rent supplement. The minimum personal contribution of young people from 18 to 24 years receiving age-related-reduced social welfare support is €10 per week, and for those who are 25 years of age, €20 per week. There are also reduced rent supplement minimum contributions expected for couple categories receiving age-related-reduced social welfare support. For all other categories, i.e., those not receiving age-related-reduced social welfare payments, single persons are required to provide €30 weekly minimum contribution towards their accommodation and €40 for couple categories.

Rent Supplement continues its withdrawal from the provision of long term housing within the private rented sector. The aim of the “Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness (July 2016), reiterated in the “Housing First National Implementation Plan 2018-2021” (September 2018), is to provide 87,000 flexible housing supports through the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rental Accommodation Scheme between 2016 and 2021.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 1276 answered with Question No. 1270.

Working Family Payment

Questions (1277)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

1277. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding a working family payment in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare. [13455/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work weekly payment which provides additional financial support to employees on low earnings with children.

An application for WFP was received from the person concerned on 23 August 2018.

Their application was referred to a local Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for further clarification. The SWI has confirmed that the case has been prioritised for inspection.

On receipt of the completed SWI report, their WFP application will be processed without delay and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Questions (1278)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

1278. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a carer’s allowance application will be processed for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13485/19]

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.

An application for carer’s benefit was received from the person concerned on 12 February 2019.

The application was awarded to the person concerned with effect from 31 January 2019 when her carer’s leave commenced. The first payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 21 March 2019.

Arrears of benefit due from 31 January 2019 to 20 March 2019 will also issue to her bank on 21 March 2019.

The person concerned was notified on 14 March 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 Delays

Questions (1279)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

1279. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the processing times for carer's allowance applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13486/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed and that decisions on entitlement are made as quickly as possible.

In general, social welfare schemes with a number of complex qualifying conditions can take longer to process. Before a decision can be made on entitlement to CA, evidence must be provided in respect of the care recipient’s care requirement, the level of care the carer provides and the carer’s means.

The re-assignment of staff from other areas of the Longford Centralised Schemes Office to claims processing in October has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of claims awaiting decision and the processing time has already started to improve from an average of 17 weeks at the end of December 2018 to an average of 15 weeks currently.

I expect the average processing time to further reduce over the coming months.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Questions (1280)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

1280. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on the application of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal for an invalidity pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13487/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The lady referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 29 November 2018. Payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 04 April 2019. Any arrears due from 29 November 2018 to 03 April 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue as soon as possible. The lady in question was notified of this decision on 15 March 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Applications

Questions (1281)

John McGuinness

Question:

1281. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if carer's allowance and domiciliary care allowance will be backdated to cover the period of time the benefits would have been due to a person (details supplied) prior to the application being made. [13498/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or adult who has such a disability that as a result, they require that level of care.

Where CA is applied for in respect of the provision of full-time care and attention to a child aged less than 16 years of age, in addition to all other conditions, it is a statutory condition that domiciliary care allowance (DCA) must be in payment in respect of that child.

In this case, DCA was awarded from 1 September 2017. Accordingly, CA could only be awarded after that date.

On 11 January 2019 CA was awarded to the person concerned with effect from 7 September 2017. The first payment issued on 17 January 2019 and arrears of allowance from 7 September 2017 to 16 January 2019 also issued.

The person concerned was notified on 11 January 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.

Social Welfare Benefits Payments

Questions (1282)

John McGuinness

Question:

1282. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) has had illness benefit payments cut from €198 to €155 per week; and the reason the household benefits package has been refused in view of the fact that the only income to the family is social welfare. [13517/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned is currently in receipt of Illness Benefit at a rate of €155.10 per week. She was previously in receipt of an increase for her spouse on her Illness Benefit claim at a rate of €44.60, making her total weekly amount €199.70. The payment of this increase ceased from the 15th December 2018 as her spouse began claiming State Pension (Contributory) in his own right.

The Department has no record of receiving an application for the Household Benefits Package from the person concerned. An application was received from her spouse on the 18th January 2019 and he was asked to provide information relating to her means on 1st February 2019. When this information was not provided, the application was refused on 18th February 2019.

The request for information has re-issued to the spouse of the person concerned and on receipt of a reply, his entitlement to the Household Benefits Package will be re-examined.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1283)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1283. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13521/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance with effect from 30 January 2019. The first payment will be made by his chosen payment method on 27 March 2019.

Arrears of payment due will issue as soon as possible once any necessary adjustment is calculated and applied in respect of any overlapping payments.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory)

Questions (1284)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

1284. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an assessment will be made on the pension of a person (details supplied). [13528/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Since late September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension contributory entitlement based on post Budget 2012 rate-bands. These payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) pension calculation which includes provision for homecaring periods.

My Department has written to pensioners in Quarter 4 2018 to explain the review process to them. That letter informed pensioners that wherever possible the Department would use information already held to complete their review and where additional information was required, they would receive a written request.

In January 2019, person concerned received a request for additional information together with details of how to access my Department’s online service to provide the requested information. The person responded online, confirming that they had no HomeCaring periods to claim.

As the person concerned already qualifies for an 85% rate of pension (under the existing yearly average method), it is more financially beneficial for them to remain on their existing rate of payment. A review outcome letter has issued to the person concerned.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.