Departmental Communications

Questions (1427)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1427. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 350 of 25 October 2018, the reason freephone numbers are not used exclusively for her Department in view of the fact that many who contact it are on limited incomes; her views on whether the use of premium rate of lo-call numbers will result in higher charges for those who do not have access to a landline; whether the Commission for Communications Regulation review on this matter is complete; if so, the actions she will take arising from the review; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19026/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department has several measures in place aimed at reducing the potential cost for telephone callers. This includes the provision of a “Freephone” service for callers to the Homeless Women, Families and New Communities, and Homeless Men’s Units.  A dedicated team handles all calls to these services.

 Another measure is the use of “LoCall” numbers, operated through the “1890” platform.  These numbers, facilitate customers making contact with the appropriate section in my Department at a low cost to the caller, when calling from a landline number.  “1890” is just one of a group of non-geographic numbers (NGNs) which are used by a wide variety of service providers in Ireland.  The original intention underpinning the use of this facility by my Department was to enable customers to make national calls for the equivalent cost of a local call. 

 The telecommunications landscape in Ireland has changed significantly since then and I am aware that these numbers were introduced at a time when landlines predominated.  As such, I also understand that "1890" numbers do not always result in a cost saving. 

My Department is mindful of the cost of "LoCall" numbers for some customers and endeavours to ensure that where “LoCall” numbers are listed on the Department’s website, a landline number is always listed first, ahead of the available “LoCall” number.  Furthermore, where “LoCall” numbers are listed on the website, they are accompanied by a notification advising customers that rates charged may vary among different service providers. 

Also, it is worth noting that where customers have any concerns about call charges, staff of the Department will always facilitate a call back. Customers may request such a service online/ in writing. All enquiries in relation to a range of schemes can be submitted via this link - www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/secure/GENENQ.aspx.

The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has published the final Consultation and Decision D15/18 (Document 18/106) in relation to five classes of Non-Geographic Numbers - 1800, 1850, 1890, 0818 and 076.

ComReg has introduced two measures designed to address the cost of using such numbers and also tackle confusion among consumers about the differences between the numbers. The changes being introduced by ComReg are:

From 1 December 2019 a call to an NGN number will cost the same as a landline number. No separate charge will apply for NGN calls.

From 1 January 2022, the five NGN ranges will be reduced to two. The 1800(Freephone) and 0818 will remain.

My Department will continue to use measures introduced by ComReg to help minimise the cost to the public of contacting my Department by telephone.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (1428)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

1428. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19083/19]

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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 application for CA was received from the person concerned on 7 February 2019.

CA was awarded to the person concerned on 25 April 2019, with effect from 7 March 2019. The first payment issued to his nominated post office on 2 May 2019. 

Arrears of allowance due from 7 March 2019, which is the date from which Domiciliary Care Allowance was awarded in respect of his son, to 1 May 2019 also issued to his nominated post office on 2 May 2019. 

The person concerned was notified on 25 April 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of his right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Questions (1429)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1429. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a carer's benefit application by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19085/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care. 

An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on 27 February 2019.

To qualify a person has to show that they have the required level of PRSI contributions, that they have left full-time employment, that they are providing full-time care and attention and that the person being cared for has such a disability that they require full-time care and attention.

The evidence submitted in support of this application was examined and the deciding officer decided that the PRSI contributions of the person concerned shows they do not meet the requirements of the scheme.

The person concerned was notified of this decision on 30 April 2019, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1430)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

1430. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19086/19]

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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 31 October 2018.  The first payment will be made by their chosen payment method on 15 May 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.

Working Family Payment Applications

Questions (1431)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1431. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a working family payment application by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19088/19]

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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 15 April 2019. 

The applicant has been awarded WFP with effect from 11 April 2019 to 08 April 2020.

The first weekly payment will issue to their nominated bank account on 29 April 2019 and any arrears owing will issue in due course.

The person concerned was notified of this decision in writing on 25 April 2019 and of their right of review and appeal.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Medical Aids and Appliances Applications

Questions (1432)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1432. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a hearing aid by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19111/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned is qualified for treatment benefits and will be entitled to a contribution towards the cost of a hearing aid. An on-line eligibility check was recently undertaken by his Audiologist and eligibility for medical appliance benefit has been confirmed.  The Audiologist can claim the payment directly on-line once the hearing aids have been provided.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications Waiting Times

Questions (1433)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1433. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average waiting time for disability allowance claims which have been successfully appealed to the social welfare appeals office to be processed and awarded after the file has been returned to it; if there is a delay in this regard; if so, the steps she will take to address the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19148/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

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.

Where a customer’s appeal is successful, every effort is made to implement the decision of the Appeals Officer (AO) within 3 weeks of notice of the decision being received from the Social Welfare Appeals Office. There has been a higher number of appeals in the fist quarter of 2019, a reflection of a higher number of  claims received,  and this  has impacted negatively on implementation processing times.

The processing time of appeal outcomes is kept under continuous review and additional staff have been assigned to this work. It is expected that the DA will be back on target in the next few months.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Fuel Allowance Data

Questions (1434)

Bobby Aylward

Question:

1434. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated annual cost of increasing the fuel allowance payment by €1.50 per week; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19160/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week for 28 weeks (a total of €630 each year) from October to April, to over 375,000 low income households, at an estimated cost of €240 million in 2019.  The purpose of this payment is to assist these households with their energy costs.  The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household.  It is not intended to meet those costs in full.  Only one allowance is paid per household.

My Department also pays an electricity or gas allowance under the house hold benefits scheme at an estimated cost of €187 million in 2019. 

The estimated full year additional cost of the measure proposed by the Deputy would be €15.77 million, assuming no change in the number of recipient households.

Any decision to increase the fuel allowance payment would have budgetary consequences and would have to be considered in the context of budget negotiations. 

In 2016 the Government launched a comprehensive Strategy to Combat Energy Poverty following extensive public consultation.  This Strategy is spearheaded by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment.  It sets out the Government’s commitment to protecting vulnerable households from energy poverty through a combination of supports, investment in schemes to improve energy efficiency, and energy efficiency awareness initiatives.  One of the best ways to tackle fuel poverty in the long term is to improve the energy efficiency of the dwelling through proper building and household insulation.  The Warmer Homes Scheme, administered by Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland, is designed to do that. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Child Benefit Eligibility

Questions (1435)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1435. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the review of eligibility for child benefit will be complete in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19180/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned received her child benefit payment until April 2019, when her payment was suspended following receipt of information that the children may no longer be resident with the customer.

A letter issued to her on 19 April 2019 seeking further information regarding the residence of the children. No reply has yet been received to this correspondence to date; once it has been received, the claim will be reviewed and a decision will issue.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory) Applications

Questions (1436)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

1436. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a contributory pension review for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19185/19]

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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.

The person concerned was awarded a reduced rate state pension (contributory) in 2013.  Following the award in 2014 of state pension (contributory) to their spouse, the person was informed that their spouse could claim a more financially beneficial increase for them as their qualified adult.  Their personal rate of state pension (contributory) was withdrawn in favour of this higher rate increase from that time.  

In March 2019, the person concerned submitted an application for HomeCaring periods.  Following review of their entitlement, they now qualify for maximum rate state pension (contributory) in their own right.   This outcome has been issued to the person concerned.  The person has been transferred to their own payment and arrears of payment backdated to 30 March 2018, the effective date of the new arrangements, will issue shortly.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Allowance Payments

Questions (1437)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Question:

1437. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) has had their jobseeker's allowance suspended since January 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19198/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned has been in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance since February 2012 and employed on a casual basis from October 2012.  On review of documentation associated with this claim, queries arose regarding employment details and the claim was referred to a Social Welfare Inspector for review.  While this review is on-going, I  have asked my officials to process all casual dockets submitted for the person concerned.  A payment has been processed for the period in question and issued on the 3rd May 2019 .

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Wage Subsidy Scheme

Questions (1438)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

1438. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if assistance will be offered to a person (details supplied) in allowing them to secure the wage subsidy scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19271/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The objective of the Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) is to encourage private sector employers to employ people with disabilities and thereby increase the numbers of people with disabilities participating in the open labour market. The scheme provides financial incentives to private sector employers to hire new staff with a disability for between 21 and 39 subsidised hours per week under a contract of employment.

For existing employees, as in this instance, WSS can only be considered where the individual is less than 12 months in that employment and where a productivity shortfall on his or her part is putting that particular employment in jeopardy. The incentive is intended to encourage private sector employers to take on new employees. When the employee is over 12 months in the job, the Employee Retention Grant Scheme (ERGS) can be applied for and not WSS.

The ERGS is a grant available to private sector employers should an employee acquire a disability whilst in employment, as in this case.  The grant aims to assist employers in retaining such employees.  The cause or nature of the illness, condition or impairment is not relevant for the purpose of this grant.  The ERGS will enable employers to identify the continuing potential of such staff to be productive and valuable employees.  It will assist in enabling the retention of the employee in their current position or in retraining the employee for another position in the company for the benefit of both the employer and the employee.  

The employer in this instance should contact their local INTREO centre for advice and assistance regarding the ERGS.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (1439)

Robert Troy

Question:

1439. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a review for disability allowance will be expedited in the case of a person (details supplied). [19301/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Based on the evidence supplied in support of this person’s application, her application for disability allowance (DA) was disallowed on the grounds that the medical qualifying condition was not satisfied. The person in question was notified in writing of this decision on 7 March 2019.

They have requested a review of the decision by a deciding officer (DO) and submitted additional medical evidence for consideration on 26 March 2019. When a decision is made on this review the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory) Appeals

Questions (1440)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1440. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a pension review will take place for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19308/19]

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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 spent 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 support and assist the person 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.

State Pension (Contributory) Applications

Questions (1441)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

1441. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision on a homecaring claim by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19352/19]

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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.

The person's rate of state pension contributory has been reviewed and an outcome letter outlining their increase in rate has issued. The maximum permissible number (1,040) of HomeCaring periods were included in the calculation, as set out in legislation.  Arrears of payment backdated to 30 March 2018 will issue to her shortly. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Support Grant

Questions (1442)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

1442. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a decision has been made on a carer's support grant appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19422/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 17th October 2018.  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 Employment Affairs and Social Protection  These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 20th March 2019 and the case has been 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 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.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Questions (1443)

Tom Neville

Question:

1443. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19440/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based payment, made to a person 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. It is payable for a maximum of 104 weeks for each person being cared for.

CARB was awarded for a period 2 July 2018 to 2 July 2019. As the claim is due to expire on 2 July 2019 the person concerned has made a further application to extend her period of benefit. This was received on 2 April 2019 and is currently being processed. Once a decision has been made the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

The Carer's Support Grant (CSG) formerly known as the respite care grant is an annual payment made to full-time carers who satisfy certain conditions. The grant is payable automatically to carers who are in receipt of carer’s allowance (CA) or CARB on the first Thursday in June of the relevant year.

An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on 14 March 2018. CARB took effect from 2 July 2018 as per the person concerned leave dates from her employment. As they were not in receipt of CARB until 2 July 2018 they did not qualify for the 2018 CSG.  The 2019 CSG will automatically be paid into her nominated bank account on the first Thursday in June as long as she continues to receive CARB.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Questions (1444)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

1444. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection whether a decision has been made on an application for an invalidity pensions by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19458/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

An application for invalidity pension (IP) was received from the gentleman concerned on 01 March 2019. This gentleman has been awarded IP with effect from 07 March 2019.  He has an entitlement to state pension contributory (SPC) with effect from 09 March 2019. Payment of IP arrears due from 07 March 2019 to 08 March 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue to his nominated post office as soon as possible.  The gentleman in question was notified of this decision on 01 May 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (1445)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

1445. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a carer's allowance for a person (details supplied). [19465/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 22nd November 2018.  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 Employment Affairs and Social Protection. These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 30th April 2019 and the case has been 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 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.

Illness Benefit Applications

Questions (1446)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

1446. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a person (details supplied) will receive illness benefit. [19469/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The application from the person concerned to receive an increase on his Illness Benefit payment in respect of his wife and child has been processed.

A weekly increase of €78.40 for his wife and €34.00 for his child have been awarded from the 24 March 2019 to date. All arrears due to the person concerned have issued to his bank account.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Payments

Questions (1447)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

1447. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) is not in receipt of a full payment. [19470/19]

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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 application for CA was received from the person concerned on 6 March 2019. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (1448)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

1448. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a decision has been made on a review of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19480/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Based on the evidence supplied in support of this person’s application, her application for disability allowance (DA) was disallowed on the grounds that the medical qualifying condition was not satisfied. The person in question was notified in writing of this decision on 2 February 2019.

They have requested a review of the decision by a deciding officer (DO) and submitted additional medical evidence for consideration on 18 February 2019 and on 26 March 2019.

When a decision is made on this review the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (1449)

Seán Fleming

Question:

1449. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a carer's allowance in respect of a period will issue to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19499/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a child or an adult in need of full-time care and attention. An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on 18 October 2017.  In order to qualify for CARB certain employment conditions must be met. One of these conditions it that the insured persons last Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contribution be paid in the Republic of Ireland.

The application was disallowed on 6 January 2018 as this condition was not satisfied. Subsequently the person concerned appealed this decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO). After their consideration the SWAO notified the person concerned that her appeal was disallowed. Under Social Welfare legislation, the decision of an Appeals Officer is final and conclusive and may only be reviewed in the light of relevant additional evidence or new facts. 

 My department received an application for carer's allowance (CA) from the person concerned on the 8 October 2018.  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. The application was awarded to the person concerned on 07 January 2019, first payment issued to her nominated post office on 11 January 2019.  Arrears of allowance due from 11 October 2018 to 10 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.

 A request for review of this decision was received on 22 March 2019 requesting that backdating be considered from the date the CARB application was received. Following this review it has been determined that from 6 September 2018 all conditions of the CA scheme in particular the habitual residency condition is being met. As a result the outcome of the review is that the application is awarded from 6 September 2018.

The person concerned was notified of this decision on the 1 May 2019, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal. I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Reviews

Questions (1450)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1450. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an invalidity pension review will be expedited for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19519/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

A review of this gentleman's claim has been carried out and he has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 08 November 2018.  Payment will issue to his nominated bank account on 16 May 2019.  Any arrears due from 08 November 2018 to 15 May 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue as soon as possible.  The gentleman in question was notified of this decision on 01 May 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Tús Programme

Questions (1451)

Seán Barrett

Question:

1451. Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to amend the Tús scheme to address the recruitment difficulties due to the significant decrease in referrals for the scheme to a partnership (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19566/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

It is recognised by Government that Tús is a positive initiative that enables the long-term unemployed to make a contribution to their communities whilst up-skilling themselves for prospective future employment.

Tús provides work placements for a twelve month period for those who are on the Live Register for a year or more.  The initiative helps break the cycle of long-term unemployment by providing a work routine and valuable work experience. 

If a person is interested in pursuing a work placement with training and development opportunities, it is open to them to apply for a placement on a Community Employment (CE) scheme.

CE participants between 21 and 55 years are entitled to one year on the programme, this can be extended by up to 2 more years if they are engaged in a recognised training or education award that is helping them progress towards employment.  All CE participants age 55 and over can avail of 3 consecutive years on a CE scheme.  The overall limit of participation on CE is 6 years from 1st January 2007 (7 years if on a disability payment).

Participants over age 62 are allowed to participate on a continuous basis up to the State Pension age on the CE Service Support Stream (SSS), subject to availability of places on the SSS, satisfactory performance on the scheme and to annual approval by the Department.  The places allocated for these participants within each individual CE scheme are subject to limitation criteria.  

The Department keeps all aspects of its activation programmes under review to ensure the best outcomes for participants and communities whilst also having regard to the, thankfully, much reduced number of people claiming jobseeker payments.  The Government is very mindful of the large number of work programme places involved in service delivery and other valuable services to individuals and communities across Ireland.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.