Invalidity Pension Appeals

Questions (581)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

581. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an invalidity pension appeal by a person (details supplied). [16173/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

On receipt of additional medical evidence submitted in support of the appeal of the lady in question, a review of the claim was carried out by a deciding officer and she has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 04 October 2018.  As a result, the appeal is no longer necessary.

Payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 18 April 2019.  Any arrears due from 04 October 2018 to 17 April 2019 less any overlapping social welfare payment will issue as soon as possible.  She was notified of this decision on the 03 April 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pensions

Questions (582)

Seán Fleming

Question:

582. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons who have been contacted and the number yet to be contacted in respect of the proposal to allow pensioners affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pension entitlement calculated on their total contributions basis; when all persons will be contacted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16175/19]

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.

Towards the end of 2018, around 80,000 letters were issued to inform pensioners that they were included in the review and explain the process to them.  They were notified that wherever possible, reviews will be processed based on information already held by the Department and that where additional information is required about gap periods in a person's social insurance record, a written request will issue.   To date, over 36,900 requests for information have issued.  

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.  As at 2 April 2019, 13,915 reviews have been completed and review outcomes issued.  The remaining 76,000 outcomes will issue as individual reviews are completed.  

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 person'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. 

Reviews will continue until all identified pensioners receive their review outcome. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Illness Benefit Payments

Questions (583)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

583. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a person (details supplied) will receive an illness benefit payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16206/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Illness Benefit claim from the person concerned has been processed. He has been awarded Illness Benefit at the maximum rate and all arrears owing to him have been issued to his nominated Post Office for collection by him.

He has been paid up to the 1st April 2019, which is the date on his most recent medical certificate.

If the person concerned remains unfit for work, a further medical certificate should be submitted to the Department as soon as possible in order for further payments to issue.

I trust this clarifies matters for The Deputy.

State Pensions Payments

Questions (584)

Peter Burke

Question:

584. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a person (details supplied) will receive extra in their pension rate; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16214/19]

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.

An examination of the social insurance record of the person concerned shows some unexplained gaps.  A request for information about time spend out of the workforce for parenting or caring reasons has been sent to the person concerned.  Included in the letter are details of how to return the required information using the Department’s online services.  This is the quickest and easiest way to provide the information required to complete the person's review.  The letter also provides a dedicated helpline to provide support and assistance in making their online application, or to request a paper application if their difficulties using the online service cannot be resolved.  

On receipt of the requested information, the person’s state pension (contributory) rate will be reviewed and they will be informed of the outcome in writing.  If an increase is due, it will be backdated to 30 March 2018.  If no increase is due following the review, the person will continue to receive their existing rate of payment.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

School Meals Programme

Questions (585)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

585. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a school (detailed supplied) is excluded from the breakfast clubs which tackle food poverty; and if she will review this decision and make the necessary changes. [16219/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children at a total cost of €57.6 million in 2019 representing an increase of €3.6 million over the previous year. The objective of the scheme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them. The programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement.

The scheme provides funding for a breakfast or snack for all children and lunch for up to 90% of children in DEIS schools for the entire school year from September to June. For the first time in many years, breakfasts are also now available to some schools outside DEIS.

In 2018, an application was approved for the Aisling Project to provide a breakfast in 7 primary schools in Ballymun. The breakfast clubs, called the Early Bird Clubs, were previously operated by The Ballymun Educational Support Team School Completion Programme (BEST SCP) and were part of the Ballymun Local Drugs and Alcohol Task Force funding provision through the Department of Health. 

The two schools identified by the Deputy were not involved in the BEST SCP Early Bird Clubs and, as such, were not approved for funding through the Aisling Project’s application for breakfast clubs. However, both are DEIS schools and are currently being funded in their own right for a breakfast/snack for all children and a lunch for up to 90% of children based on the enrolment figure provided by the Department of Education and Skills.

If the school availing of the snack club wishes to avail of a breakfast club instead it should contact the Departments school meals section. 

I trust this clarifies the matter.

Carer's Allowance Review

Questions (586)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

586. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made in a carer's allowance review in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16227/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

An application for carer's allowance (CA) was received from the person concerned on 9 October 2018.  It is a condition for receipt of a CA that the person being cared for must have such a 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.

The evidence submitted in support of this application was examined and it was decided that it did not indicate that the requirement for full-time care was satisfied.  The person concerned was notified on 12 January 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

The person concerned requested a review and submitted additional evidence in support of same. 

The outcome of the review is that the application was awarded to the person concerned on 3 April 2019, with effect from 11 October 2018. The first payment will issue to her nominated post office on 11 April 2019.

Arrears of allowance due from 11 October 2018 to 3 April 2019 will also issue on 11 April 2019.

The person concerned was notified on 3 April 2019 of this revised 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 Eligibility

Questions (587)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

587. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the eligibility for a carer's allowance in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16269/19]

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.

An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

CA is currently in payment to the person concerned from 15 December 2016 in respect of her father only.

There is currently no CA in payment in respect of her mother. It is open to the person concerned to make an application for CA in respect of her.

Where all conditions for receipt of same are satisfied, CA can be paid at the appropriate increased rate in respect of the second care recipient.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Reviews

Questions (588)

Tom Neville

Question:

588. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an appeal for further backdating of the maximum rate of qualified adult allowance payment for persons (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16275/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned was awarded state pension (contributory), together with an increase for qualified adult in respect of their spouse, with effect from 2 May 2008, the person's 66th birthday.  Increase for  qualified adult is a means-tested payment based on the means of the qualified adult.  At the time of application, the person declared that their spouse had income from farming amounting to €130.59 per week.  This resulted in an award of a commensurate rate of increase for qualified adult with effect from 2 May 2008.

On 22 May 2018, a request for a review of the rate of this increase was received.  Upon review, the qualified adult was assessed with nil means and a maximum rate increase for qualified adult was awarded from 25 May 2018, the Friday following the review request.  This increased rate was subsequently backdated for 6 months, in line with social welfare legislation, to 21 November 2017.  The claimant was notified of this decision on 30 August 2018.

An appeal on behalf of the person concerned was received on 16 November 2018, requesting further backdating for a period of eight years.  The requested details have now been submitted to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.  On completion of the  appeal process, the person will be notified of the outcome in writing. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (589)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

589. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when arrears of a payment will issue to a person (details supplied); the reason for the delay in issuing same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16276/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Following the submission of further medical evidence by the person concerned, their case has been reviewed and they have been awarded disability allowance with effect from 28 November 2018.  The first payment was made by his chosen payment method on 20 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

Invalidity Pension Applications

Questions (590)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

590. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on an invalidity pension application by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16288/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

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

The gentleman referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 24 January 2019.  Payment will issue to his nominated bank account on 11 April 2019.  Any arrears due from 24 January 2019 to 10 April 2019 will issue in due course.  The gentleman in question was notified of this decision on 04 April 2019 and the Deciding Officer also issued a request asking that the gentleman concerned provide a P45 or letter from his employer confirming the last date of his employment. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

JobPath Programme

Questions (591)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

591. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will consider excluding persons over 60 years of age from JobPath especially those working part time and with no means of transport; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16295/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department's Intreo service offers a range of education, training and employment support measures during the activation process to help jobseekers secure and sustain full-time paid employment.

Furthermore, activation services currently provided by, or on behalf of my Department through contracted services, have the capacity to provide appropriate activation services for all jobseekers in a one to one case managed way. Contracted providers are obliged to and are encouraged to tailor their activation supports to the individual needs of each customer.

In line with current activation policy, my Department does not subject jobseekers aged 62 and over to mandatory activation measures.  As such, jobseekers already over the age of 62 are exempt from selection for referral to labour market activation programmes, including JobPath. However, where a jobseeker reaches 62 years of age while participating on an activation programme, they are expected to complete it.

The Government believes that as we live longer and healthier lives many people may wish to, and can, continue to work to an older age and make a positive contribution to our society through employment. Future Jobs Ireland 2019, the Government's new economic pathway, identifies increasing participation in the labour force as one of its key pillars. It acknowledges that improving participation rates of older workers leads to a more equitable, balanced and sustainable workforce.

My Department will continue to review its labour market activation policies to ensure that they remain effective and aligned to labour market requirements.

Jobseeker's Allowance Applications

Questions (592)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

592. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a jobseeker's allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16325/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Jobseekers Claim for the person concerned is currently with a Social Welfare Inspector.  There were discrepancies noted between what was declared for the claim and what had been returned to Revenue.  The Social Welfare Inspector will be in contact with the person concerned in this regard.

With regard to an application for SWA the person concerned must satisfy a means test.  If the person concerned wishes to apply for SWA she may make an appointment to meet her Community Welfare Officer at the office in Edward St., Tralee to discuss her situation.

I trust this clarifies the matter.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Questions (593, 594, 601)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

593. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated first and full-year cost of increasing paternity leave by one week. [16339/19]

View answer

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

594. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated first and full-year cost of increasing maternity leave by one week. [16340/19]

View answer

Róisín Shortall

Question:

601. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the target start date in 2019 for the commencement of paid parental leave. [16546/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 593, 594 and 601 together.

Maternity Benefit is paid for 26 weeks at a rate of €245 per week. The 2019 Estimates for my Department provide for expenditure of approximately €256 million on Maternity Benefit. The estimated additional cost of extending the duration of maternity benefit is approximately €9.7 million for each extra week.

Paternity Leave is paid for 2 weeks and is available for any child born or adopted. The 2019 Estimates provide for expenditure of approximately €11.7 million for the paternity benefit scheme. The estimated additional cost of extending the duration of paternity benefit is approximately €5.8 million for each extra week above its current 2 week duration at the current weekly rate of €245.

There would also be additional costs for employers including substitution and public sector pay costs which would be a matter for my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Decisions around the extension of this benefit would have to be considered in a budgetary context.

As the Deputy will be aware, I have recently announced the introduction of a new paid parental benefit for parents which will support parents to spend additional time with their babies and provide more flexibility in managing a work life balance. This new benefit will be available to parents from November 2019 and will provide for 2 weeks paid leave to each parent of a child, age under 1 year, on parental leave from work. These 2 weeks are additional to that already available under maternity benefit and paternity benefit.

My Department along with the Department of Justice and Equality, which has lead responsibility for policy in this area, are currently finalising the Draft Heads required to implement this scheme.

I trust this clarifies the matter.

Disability Allowance

Questions (595)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

595. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the reinstatement of the qualified child allowance on disability allowance for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16431/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

When a person is in receipt of disability allowance (DA) and their child is in full-time education, an increase for qualified child (IQC) will be paid up to 22 years of age or up to the end of the academic year in which he or she reaches 22.

To date no confirmation has been received that the daughter of the gentleman concerned is still in full-time education. On receipt of this confirmation, a decision will be made in respect of the IQC.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Paternity Benefit

Questions (596)

Hildegarde Naughton

Question:

596. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons who have benefitted from the introduction of paternity benefit since its introduction in 2016 by county in tabular form. [16436/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The information requested in respect of the number of people that have availed of paternity benefit from it's introduction on 1st September 2016 to 31st March 2019, by county, is set out in the following table:

PATERNITY   BENEFIT Claimants by County Breakdown

County

Awarded 1st September 2016 - 31st December 2016

Awarded 2017

Awarded 2018

Awarded 1st January 2019 – 31st March 2019

Total Awarded

Carlow

66

304

280

88

738

Cavan

79

431

422

122

1054

Clare

107

607

537

154

1405

Cork

643

3385

3104

881

8013

Donegal

157

710

716

212

1795

Dublin

1345

7633

6906

2089

17973

Galway

292

1536

1388

414

3630

Kerry

130

707

636

179

1652

Kildare

238

1394

1240

357

3229

Kilkenny

115

513

434

118

1180

Laois

68

408

349

121

946

Leitrim

44

190

174

53

461

Limerick

205

1041

952

259

2457

Longford

41

199

191

64

495

Louth

143

655

595

194

1587

Mayo

145

668

568

182

1563

Meath

214

1115

956

313

2598

Monaghan

70

330

361

106

867

Offaly

74

403

371

127

975

Roscommon

59

340

273

84

756

Sligo

75

339

339

90

843

Tipperary

151

833

755

218

1957

Waterford

129

589

571

146

1435

Westmeath

102

526

460

122

1210

Wexford

147

769

687

209

1812

Wicklow

148

786

692

201

1827

Others

26

148

123

46

343

TOTAL

5013

26559

24080

7149

62801

I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

Treatment Benefit Scheme

Questions (597)

Hildegarde Naughton

Question:

597. Deputy Hildegarde Naughton asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of self-employed persons who have availed of the extension of the treatment benefit scheme to the self-employed by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16437/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Eligibility to the treatment benefit scheme was extended to the self-employed from March 2017. Class S contributors and their dependent spouses can now avail of the full range of dental, optical and medical appliance benefits available under the scheme.  In 2018 the total number of claims received from self-employed contributors was 212k at a cost of some 17.2m euro.

Details of claims and expenditure by county address of customer for 2018 follow:

County

No of TB Claims in 2018

Cost

Carlow

2,475

€196,491.69

Cavan

3,501

€282,883.90

Clare

5,550

€479,129.97

Cork

30,028

€2,383,944.28

Donegal

6,604

€481,511.69

Dublin

48,291

€3,966,626.41

Galway

11,763

€947,078.48

Kerry

9,050

€741,651.86

Kildare

8,348

€707,308.78

Kilkenny

5,153

€425,793.92

Laois

2,847

€235,075.16

Leitrim

1,722

€129,719.88

Limerick

8,121

€640,310.11

Longford

2,156

€152,091.77

Louth

4,337

€362,422.42

Mayo

7,172

€588,666.63

Meath

7,810

€658,813.31

Monaghan

2,602

€226,540.41

Offaly

3,260

€274,606.29

Outside Rep of Ireland

3,343

€268,320.17

Roscommon

2,885

€234,811.07

Sligo

3,035

€249,831.47

Tipperary

8,852

€694,538.73

Waterford

5,670

€438,834.69

Westmeath

4,195

€329,457.58

Wexford

6,606

€549,673.14

Wicklow

6,915

€590,447.68

Totals

212,291

€17,236,581.49

Social Insurance Data

Questions (598)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

598. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of a €1 increase in each of the social insurance schemes in tabular form (details supplied). [16501/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The costings sought by the Deputy are detailed in the following table.

Social Insurance Scheme

Total (€m)

State Pension (Contributory)

 €     22.72

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Con) Pension   (under 66 yrs)

 €       1.55

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Con) Pension   (over 66 yrs)

 €       4.98

Deserted Wife's Benefit (under 66 yrs)

 €       0.16

Deserted Wife's Benefit (over 66 yrs)

 €       0.31

Invalidity Pension                                     

 €       3.25

Partial Capacity Benefit

 €       0.09

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

 €       0.06

Death Benefit Pension

 €       0.04

Disablement Pension

 €       0.26

Illness Benefit

 €       2.75

Injury Benefit

 €       0.08

Incapacity Supplement

 €       0.06

Jobseeker's Benefit

 €       1.71

Carer's Benefit

 €       0.14

Health and Safety Benefit

 €       0.00

Maternity & Adoptive Benefit

 €       1.03

Paternity Benefit

 €       0.04

Total

€      39.22

The costs shown above are on a full year basis and are based on the estimated number of recipients in 2019.  It should be noted that these costings are subject to change in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2020. 

It should also be noted that these costings include proportionate increases for qualified dependants and for those on reduced rates of payment, where relevant.