Jobseeker's Allowance Data

Questions (1479, 1480, 1481)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1479. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average cost per young person and cost to the Exchequer in a calendar year of increasing the jobseeker's allowance to €203 for all young persons under 26 years of age currently on the €112.70 and €157.80 lower rates of jobseeker's allowance payment in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19715/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1480. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average cost per young person and cost to the Exchequer in a calendar year of increasing the jobseeker's allowance to €157.80 for all young persons aged 18 to 24 years of age currently on the €112.70 rate of jobseeker's allowance payment in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19716/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1481. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average cost per young person and cost to the Exchequer in a calendar year of increasing the jobseeker's allowance to €180.40 for all young persons aged 25 years of age on the €157.80 lower rate of jobseeker's allowance payment in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19717/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1479 to 1481, inclusive, together.

The costings sought by the Deputy are presented in the table following:

New Rate

Average Cost per Young Person

 Full Year Cost

 €157.80 for 18-24 year olds

€2,430

 €27.76m

 €180.40 for 25 year olds

€1,199

 €  2.14m

 €203.00 for Under 26s

€4,532

 €59.87m

These costings includes increasing the €107.70 qualified adult rate to €131.40 per week. 

Young jobseekers who participate in an education, training or employment programme currently qualify for the maximum weekly rate of payment.  Age-related reduced rates of payment also do not apply in certain circumstances, such as when the claimant has a dependent child, or transferred to Jobseeker's Allowance from Disability Allowance, or was in State care during the 12 months prior to applying for Jobseeker's Allowance.

It should be noted that any change to the reduced rates of Jobseeker's Allowance would need to be considered in a budgetary context.

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Questions (1482, 1483)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1482. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons under 26 years of age that have been in receipt of jobseeker's allowance, jobseekers’ benefit and or signing for credits for periods (details supplied) in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19718/19]

View answer

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1483. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons under 26 years of age that have been in receipt of jobseeker's allowance, jobseeker's benefit and or signing for credits for 12 months or more by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19719/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1482 and 1483 together.

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the tabular statements following.

Table 1: Recipients of jobseeker's allowance aged under 26 by county and duration at 27 April 2019.

 County

 Less than 6 Months

 6 to 12 Months

  12 to 24 Months

 24 to 36 Months 

 Carlow

 150

111

 77

31

 Cavan 

 132

 102 

 69

 29 

 Clare

 167

 97

 73

 24 

 Cork

  523 

  296 

 172

  85 

 Donegal

 300

 280

 201

 67

 Dublin

 1,816

 901

 621

 287

 Galway

 312

 177

 136

 57

 Kerry

 230

 147

 86

 34

 Kildare

 307

 151

 122

 49

 Kilkenny 

 83

 56

 44

 18

 Laois

 145

 114

 74

 36

 Leitrim

 45

 43

 27

 12

 Limerick

 342

 176

 135

 56

 Longford

 112

 76

 62

 29

 Louth

 390

 202

 147

 49

 Mayo

 195

 124

 102

 50

 Meath

 165

 83

 76

 37

 Monaghan

 77

 62

 46

 11

 Offaly

 185

 113

 63

 28

 Roscommon

 57

 42

 24

 8

 Sligo

 93

 77

 52

 14

 Tipperary

 314

 228

 170

 73

 Waterford

 303

 160

 113

 51

 Westmeath

 188

 134

 88

 39

 Wexford

 323

 209

 149

 80

 Wicklow

 189

 109

 61

 27

 Totals

 7,143

 4,270

 2,990

 1,281

Table cntd...

 County

 36 to 48 Months 

 48 to 60 Months 

Greater than 60 Months

 Carlow

 7

  11 

 6

 Cavan 

 18

  6 

 15

 Clare

 17

  11 

  14 

 Cork

  33 

 19

  31 

 Donegal

 35

 28

 33

 Dublin

 142

 99

 145

 Galway

 26

 16

 35

 Kerry

 19

 7

 11

 Kildare

 13

 13

 19

 Kilkenny 

 9

 7

 6

 Laois

 20

 4

 19

 Leitrim

 9

 5

 4

 Limerick

 36

 18

 26

 Longford

 9

 5

 15

 Louth

 23

 22

 26

 Mayo

 21

 6

 18

 Meath

 10

 14

 23

 Monaghan

 2

 5

 3

 Offaly

 15

 14

 19

 Roscommon

 5

 7

 7

 Sligo

 7

 5

 7

 Tipperary

 25

 29

 28

 Waterford

 20

 13

 23

 Westmeath

 20

 15

 34

 Wexford

 44

 21

 32

 Wicklow

 17

 14

 11

 Totals

 602

 414

 610

Table 2: Recipients of jobseeker's benefit aged under 26 by county and duration at 27 April 2019.

 County

 Less than 6 Months

 6 to 12 Months

  12 to 24 Months

 24 to 36 Months 

 Carlow

 31 

 2 

 

 Cavan 

 17

 1

 

 

 Clare

 47

 2

 

 

 Cork

 164

 14

 1

 

 Donegal

 82

 15

 4

 

 Dublin

 629

 33

 1

 

 Galway

 106

 11

 1

 Kerry

 67

 8

 1

 

 Kildare

 92

 8

 2

 

 Kilkenny 

 31

 3

 

 

 Laois

 37

 2

 1

 

 Leitrim

 17

 1

 1

 

 Limerick

 68

 5

 

 

 Longford

 23

 1

 

 

 Louth

 80

 6

 2

 

 Mayo

 51

 6

 

 

 Meath

 59

 1

 

 

 Monaghan

 29

 1

 

 

 Offaly

 42

 9

 

 

 Roscommon

 10

 

 

 

 Sligo

 20

 

 

 

 Tipperary

 70

 8

 

 

 Waterford

 68

 7

 1

 

 Westmeath

 43

 2

 

 

 Wexford

 87

 11

 

 

 Wicklow

 56

 5

 

 

 Totals

 2,026

 162

16 

Table cntd...

 County

 36 to 48 Months 

 48 to 60 Months 

Greater than 60 Months

 Carlow

 

 

 

 Cavan 

 

 

 

 Clare

 

 

 

 Cork

 

 

 

 Donegal

 

 

 

 Dublin

 

 

 

 Galway

 

 

 

 Kerry

 

 

 

 Kildare

 

 

 

 Kilkenny 

 

 

 

 Laois

 

 

 

 Leitrim

 

 

 

 Limerick

 

 

 

 Longford

 

 

 

 Louth

 

 

 

 Mayo

 

 

 

 Meath

 

 

 

 Monaghan

 

 

 

 Offaly

 

 

 

 Roscommon

 

 

 

 Sligo

 

 

 

 Tipperary

 

 

 

 Waterford

 

 

 

 Westmeath

 

 

 

 Wexford

 

 

 

 Wicklow

 

 

 

 Totals

 

 

 

Table 3: Number of people signing for jobseeker's credits only aged under 26 by county and duration at 27 April 2019.

 County

 Less than 6 Months

 6 to 12 Months

  12 to 24 Months

 Carlow

 

 

 Clare

  3 

 1

 

 Cork

 4

 1

  1 

 Donegal

 4

 1

 2

 Dublin

 21

 8

 2

 Galway

 1

 1

 

 Kerry

 5

 1

 3

 Kildare

 6

 1

 1

 Kilkenny 

 2

 1

 

 Laois

 

 

 1

 Leitrim

 

 1

 

 Limerick

 1

 1

 

 Longford

 1

 1

 

 Louth

 2

 2

 

 Mayo

 1

 1

 

 Meath

 

 

 1

 Monaghan

 1

 

 

 Offaly

 4

 

 

 Roscommon

 

 1

 

 Sligo

 2

 

 

 Tipperary

 2

 1

 

 Waterford

 2

 

 

 Westmeath

 3

 

 

 Wexford

 6

 

 1

 Wicklow

 2

 2

 2

 Totals

 73

 26

 14

Table cntd...

 County

 24 to 36 Months 

 36 to 48 Months 

 48 to 60 Months 

Greater than 60 Months

 Carlow

 

 

 

 

 Clare

 

 

 

 

 Cork

 

 

 

 

 Donegal

  1 

 

 

 

 Dublin

 1

 

 

 

 Galway

 

 

 

 

 Kerry

 

 

 

 

 Kildare

 

 

 

 

 Kilkenny 

 

 

 

 

 Laois

 

 

 

 

 Leitrim

 1

 

 

 

 Limerick

 1

 

 

 

 Longford

 

 

 

 

 Louth

 

 

 

 

 Mayo

 

 

 

 

 Meath

 

 

 

 

 Monaghan

 

 

 

 

 Offaly

 

 

 

 

 Roscommon

 

 

 

 

 Sligo

 

 

 

 

 Tipperary

 4

 

 

 Waterford

 1

 

 

 Westmeath

 

 

 

 

 Wexford

 

 

 

 

 Wicklow

 

 

 

 

 Totals

 1

 

Jobseeker's Allowance Data

Questions (1484)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1484. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons under 26 years of age that are in receipt of €112.70, €157.80 and €203 respectively per week on the jobseeker's allowance payment in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19720/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the following tabular statement.

Persons under 26 years of age that are in receipt of €112.70, €157.80 and €203 respectively per week on the jobseeker's allowance payment at 27 April 2019

Payment rate

Recipients

€112.70

11,944

€157.80

1,841

€203.00

2,917

Total

16,702

* A further 608 persons are in receipt of varying rates due to the imposition of penalty rates or where means have been assessed against them.

Disability Allowance Data

Questions (1485)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1485. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons under 26 years of age in receipt of disability allowance at the end of each of the years 2013 to 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19723/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Disability Allowance (DA) is a weekly allowance for people with a disability aged between 16 and 66 with a disability expected to last for at least one year and who satisfy the medical condition, means test and are habitually resident in Ireland. 

The number of persons under 26 years of age in receipt of DA at the end of the years 2013 to 2018 are outlined in the table following:

YEAR

NUMBER OF DA RECEPIENTS UNDER THE AGE OF 26

2013

15,082

2014

16,055

2015

17,400

2016

18,871

2017

20,417

2018

21,907

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

One-Parent Family Payment Data

Questions (1486)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1486. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons under 26 years of age in receipt of the one parent family payment at the end of each of the years 2013 to 2018, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19724/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the tabular statement following.

The number of young persons under 26 years of age in receipt of the one-parent family payment at the end of each of the years 2013 to 2018.

Year

Recipients

2013

12,616

2014

11,668

2015

10,420 

2016

9,700

2017

8,781

2018

8,345

Youth Unemployment Measures

Questions (1487)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1487. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the measures she is taking to address youth unemployment (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19725/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Government policy to reduce unemployment is twofold.  The policies set out in the Action Plan for Jobs have created an environment in which business can succeed and has led to the creation of almost 400,000 jobs in Ireland  since the economic low point of 2012.  Secondly, through the  Pathways To Work strategy, my Department ensures that as many new jobs as possible are filled by people taken from the live register, particularly the long-term unemployed. 

To date, these policies have been effective in reducing youth unemployment.  Latest available data from the CSO shows that Irish youth unemployment has fallen from a peak of 31.2% in 2012 to 12.8% in April 2019 and now lies below the EU average of 14.9%.  Additionally, the number of young people in employment has increased by 25% since 2012 , with 247,500 young people in work by the fourth quarter of 2018.  

 Under the Government’s policies to support the young unemployed, the first intervention is to provide case officer support to help newly unemployed young people find and secure sustainable jobs.  There is monthly engagement with all young jobseekers by a case officer, and a personal progression plan is developed to chart the steps to be taken to facilitate a return to employment, which may include further education and training opportunities.  

 For those who do not find employment through this process, additional offers are provided for through further education and training programmes or in existing community-based employment programmes/workplace based interventions such as Community Employment and Tús; or in subsidies to employers, through JobsPlus Youth. Long-term unemployed jobseekers under-25 are also referred to JobPath, a contracted, payment-by-results employment service that provides additional resources and supports to those long-term unemployed.  

 In October 2018,  I introduced a new work experience programme targeted specifically at young jobseekers who are long-term unemployed or who face significant barriers to gaining employment.  The Youth Employment Support Scheme (YESS) provides young jobseekers with the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment while on a work placement. Participants receive a payment of €229.50 per week. My Department is aiming to place up to 1,000 participants on this scheme this year.

 Over the coming years, we must make sure that our citizens  are equipped with the skills to take up jobs of the future and avail of the opportunities arising from a modern economy.  Future Jobs Ireland 2019 has been launched by Government replacing the Action Plan for Jobs to deliver the required policy reforms to build a resilient workforce and innovative and competitive economy in a changing world of work. The strategy includes a number of youth specific measures which will be delivered on a whole of Government basis.

The policies being pursued by Government to create jobs and reduce youth unemployment will support further reductions in youth unemployment and add to the substantial improvements in the labour market that have been seen over the last few years.

Money Advice and Budgeting Service Data

Questions (1488)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1488. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of new clients presenting to the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, MABS, in the first three months of 2017, 2018 and 2019, by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19726/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), under the aegis of the Citizens Information Board, provides assistance to people, in particular those on low incomes or living on social welfare payments, who are over-indebted and need help and advice with debt problems.  As part of its free services, MABS provides help and advice to those in mortgage arrears.

The number of clients presenting to MABS in the first three months of 2017, 2018 and 2019 is shown by county, in the table following:

MABS Services by County  

Q1 2017  

Q1 2018  

Q1  2019  

CARLOW

158

122

158

CAVAN

91

111

90

CLARE

115

72

89

CORK

513

448

517

DONEGAL

168

142

141

DUBLIN

1,478

1,234

1,355

GALWAY

256

240

233

KERRY

152

140

164

KILDARE

174

145

183

KILKENNY

67

67

102

LAOIS

125

93

90

LEITRIM

34

44

41

LIMERICK

172

128

121

LONGFORD

70

58

102

LOUTH

136

147

188

MAYO

122

123

114

MEATH

166

127

161

MONAGHAN

86

55

47

OFFALY

53

53

77

ROSCOMMON

42

27

47

SLIGO

78

89

85

TIPPERARY

253

217

253

WATERFORD

249

248

242

WESTMEATH

206

120

176

WEXFORD

100

81

83

WICKLOW

284

231

303

TOTAL

5,348

4,562

5,162

The total number of new clients presenting to MABS for the full year in 2017 was 16,740 and in 2018 the number of new clients for the full year was 15,387 .

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Money Advice and Budgeting Service

Questions (1489)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1489. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans for supporting and funding the dedicated mortgage arrears service provided by MABS in the medium-term (details supplied); the measures she is taking to engage with staff, MABS boards and the Citizens Information Board to ensure the service is still available to persons in mortgage difficulty; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19727/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), under the aegis of the Citizens Information Board, (CIB) provides assistance to people, in particular those on low incomes or living on social welfare payments, who are over-indebted and need help and advice with debt problems. As part of its free services, MABS provides help and advice to those in mortgage arrears.

The Dedicated Mortgage Arrears (DMA) advice service which operates across the MABS regional network was established in 2015, as part of the Government's response to providing supports to mortgage holders in arrears. 

The DMA service aims to ensure that borrowers in mortgage arrears have access to information on the range of supports and options available to them and, where required, negotiates with lenders on their behalf.  To date, it has helped almost 7,000 borrowers with mortgage arrears issues.

An allocation of €2.5 million for the DMA service was provided as part of CIB’s overall funding for 2019 and this is expected to meet the costs of the service to the end of 2019.  The CIB receives its overall budget allocation for all services including DMA on an annual basis.

Since its inception, the DMA service has become an integral part of the Abhaile suite of services, which provides access for people who are insolvent and in mortgage arrears, to independent financial and / or legal advice and assistance under a voucher scheme accessed through MABS.  Abhaile is jointly coordinated and funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. MABS, CIB, the Insolvency Service of Ireland and the Legal Aid Board are working together to provide the various Abhaile services.

A Steering Board comprising senior officials of both Departments and stakeholder organisations has already commenced a strategic review of the Abhaile service’s operation, and future objectives in light of the experience to date.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Money Advice and Budgeting Service Data

Questions (1490)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1490. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of both full-time and part-time staff delivering the dedicated mortgage arrears service provided by MABS in each of the eight regional MABS boards in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19728/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Dedicated Mortgage Arrears (DMA) service which operates across the MABS network was established in 2015, as part of the Government’s supports to mortgage holders in arrears.

The DMA service aims to ensure that borrowers in mortgage arrears have access to information on the range of supports and options available to them and, where required, negotiates with lenders on their behalf. To date, the DMA MABS service has helped almost 7,000 borrowers with mortgage arrears issues.

There are 34 full-time and 3 part-time staff currently engaged in providing the DMA service across the MABS network in the regional locations as set out in the table following:

MABS Region

Number of staff engaged in providing the DMA service

South Munster

4 Full time

North Munster

6 Full time

Dublin South

4 Full time

Dublin North

3 Full time

South Leinster

5 Full time 

North Leinster

4 Full time, 1 Part time

North Connacht

4 Full time, 2 Part time

South Connacht

4 Full time

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Pensions Reform

Questions (1491)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1491. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the report arising from the consultations on the auto-enrolment pensions scheme will be published; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19729/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

As stated in the 'The Roadmap for Pensions Reform', the Government proposes to begin implementation of a supplementary retirement savings system, known as Automatic Enrolment, by 2022.  It will see employees without personal retirement savings automatically enrolled into a quality assured retirement savings system, with freedom of choice to opt-out.

In August 2018 the Government published a ‘Strawman’ proposal for an Automatic Enrolment (AE) retirement savings system in Ireland as the basis of a national consultation process. The Strawman was not to be read as a confirmation of what form AE will ultimately take but a high level draft intended to generate and prompt discussion and improve ideas.

In excess of one hundred written submissions were received in response to the Strawman from employer and employee representatives, pensions industry bodies, advocacy groups and interested individuals.  In addition a number of public consultation seminars, chaired by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, were held in Dublin, Galway and Cork.  Most recently, in March, a series of focus groups was held with the target population for automatic enrolment.

My Department is continuing to analyse the substantial material collated from the consultation process, in order to determine how the feedback received may assist with the design process.  Furthermore, my Department is continuing its research and consultation with experts from around the world.  My Department has also commissioned the ESRI to examine the potential macro and micro-economic impacts of automatic enrolment. 

It is anticipated that reports of findings from the consultation process and the research being undertaken will be brought to Government in the coming months.  Subject to agreement at Cabinet, I intend to then publish these reports on the Department's website. These reports will assist the Government in making decisions as to the next steps for implementation to enable the scheme to commence, as planned, in 2022. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Appointments to State Boards Data

Questions (1492)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1492. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has made State board appointments in the past three years in circumstances in which she has reappointed a person that has already served two full terms, contrary to the advice in section 13.2 of the Guidelines on Appointments to State boards; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19730/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The statutory bodies operating under the aegis of my Department are the Citizens Information Board, the Pensions Authority, the Pensions Council, the Low Pay Commission and the Social Welfare Tribunal.

In line with good corporate governance practice, I have made no reappointments of people who have already served two full terms to the boards of the Citizens Information Board, the Pensions Authority, the Pensions Council or the Low Pay Commission.

The Social Welfare Tribunal is different in that it does not have regular board meetings. It was established to deal with cases where entitlement to Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance is refused due to involvement in a trade dispute. It consists of a Chairperson and four ordinary members, two of whom are nominated by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) and two by the Irish Business and Employer’s Confederation (IBEC), in accordance with legislation. Three members of the board of the Tribunal who have already served two full terms have been reappointed, namely the Chairperson and one nominee from both ICTU and IBEC. It should be noted that the Tribunal has not been required to sit since 2014.

Budget Consultation Process

Questions (1493)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1493. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the date for the pre-budget forum has been decided; if so, when it will be held; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19731/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Pre-Budget Forum is an annual event hosted by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. It is an opportunity for community, voluntary and representative organisations to discuss and debate policy issues and present their thoughts and proposals on the upcoming Budget to each other, to senior officials of the Department and to myself as Minister  Last year's event saw the attendance of approximately 50 organisations.

This year's Pre-Budget Forum will take place on Friday, July 5th, in Dublin Castle.  Invitations will be issued to community, voluntary and representative organisations shortly.

Social Welfare Eligibility

Questions (1494)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1494. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the eligibility for disability allowance and or invalidity pension in the case of a person (details supplied); when payment can be restored in this case; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19741/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Based on the evidence supplied in support of this person’s application, his 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 8 January 2019.

They have requested a review of the decision by a deciding officer (DO) and submitted additional medical evidence for consideration on 6 February 2019, 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.

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.

A person is regarded as being permanently incapable of work if;

For the period of 1 year immediately before the date of application the person had been continuously incapable of work and a Deciding Officer or an Appeals Officer is satisfied that the person is likely to continue to be incapable of work for at least another year,

OR

A Deciding Officer or an Appeals Officer is satisfied that the likelihood is that the person will be incapable of work for life.

The PRSI contribution conditions for IP are that a person must have at least 260 (5 years) paid PRSI contributions since entering social insurance and 48 contributions paid or credited in the last or second last complete contribution year before the relevant date.  Only PRSI classes A, E, H or S contributions are reckonable for IP purposes.

Entitlement to IP can only be determined on receipt of a completed application form. 

There is no record of a current IP application received from the gentleman in question. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Fuel Allowance Data

Questions (1495)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

1495. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost if the fuel allowance payment period was increased from 27 to 30 weeks; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19776/19]

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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 per fuel season) from October to April, to over 372,000 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.  Budget 2019 extended the duration of the fuel season from 27 weeks to 28 weeks.

The full year cost of extending the fuel season from 28 to 30 weeks would be €16.8 million.  The cost of extending the fuel season by three weeks would be €25.2 million.

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.  Any decision to extend the fuel season would need to be considered in an overall budgetary context.

Social Welfare Eligibility

Questions (1496)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1496. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a matter (details supplied) will be reviewed; her views on the issues raised; if policy changes are planned regarding same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19780/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Firstly, I would like to thank the Deputy for bringing this matter to my attention.

I will outline the policy on the decision making process used within the Department.

When a person makes a claim for any payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, the decision on whether to allow or disallow the payment rests with a person called a Deciding Officer (DO). DOs are appointed under the Social Welfare legislation to decide almost every question in relation to social insurance and social assistance provisions in the Social Welfare Acts.

Every claimant is entitled to have their claim considered in accordance with the principles of natural and constitutional justice and in the context of determinations of entitlement under the social welfare legislation that includes:

1. The right to know the information, upon which a decision is being made,

2. The opportunity to comment upon any reports or documents being used in reaching the decision and to present his or her case,

3. The right to know the reasons for any adverse decision,

4. The right to have all relevant evidence considered and irrelevant evidence not taken into account,

5. To have the decision made by an impartial person whose discretion has not been fettered and

6. Where it is necessary for a fair determination of the issues, an oral hearing.

Over the years, the Courts have laid down rules for administrative bodies to ensure that persons seeking benefits etc. are dealt with in a scrupulously fair manner. These rules, which are known as the Rules of Natural Justice (NJ), apply to all administrative bodies and tribunals. Where a person may be adversely affected by a decision, the claimant must be given the opportunity to refute or comment on any evidence or allegations used in making such a determination.

A DO is required to make an independent judgement on the application of the law, and is not subject to directions when making a decision. A DO must determine the question before him/her and there should not be even an appearance of the case having been decided on the basis of another person's say-so.

In the case of a decision to suspend, disallow, disqualify or reduce payment, all reasonable efforts should be made to contact the claimant before payment is suspended and the customer given an opportunity to state his or her case. Suspension should not be imposed unless there is reasonable belief that the basic conditions are not being fulfilled.

The decision must be conveyed to the person concerned.

In general when a person makes a claim for benefit or assistance the burden of proof is upon that person to prove the conditions governing the claim are satisfied.

Where the claimant has been awarded benefit and a question arises of withdrawing it or of reducing the amount of payment, the burden is on the Department to show that his/her entitlement has changed, or that there was fraudulent concealment of relevant facts. In the case of allegations of such change or concealment, a higher degree of probability is required i.e. there must be clear evidence available to establish the truth of the allegation.

As can be seen from the foregoing, the Department has robust policies and procedures in place to ensure that decisions are made according to the legislation, and in accordance with the Rules of Natural Justice. A claimant is free to lodge an appeal where they are dissatisfied with a decision given under the Social Welfare Acts by a Deciding Officer or a Designated Person about their entitlement to social welfare payments.

A number of specific points are also raised in the letter provided by the Deputy.

With regards to the policy concerning the relationship status, it has pivotal bearing on whether a person claiming One Parent Family Payment will be allowed or disallowed the payment. To qualify specifically for a One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) a person must not be living with a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting (in addition to the other qualifying conditions regarding age, parental status, earnings and habitual residency, etc.).

With regards to Community Employment participants and their conditions, they already receive a CE allowance paid at a rate greater than their previous social welfare payment.

Entitlement to statutory maternity benefit is solely decided on their relevant contribution history, as is the case with all other maternity benefit claimants.

The granting of medical cards is a matter for the HSE, and many CE participants would already qualify for them before participating on the CE scheme.

I trust this clarifies the Department's policies on the matters arising from this case.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Questions (1497)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1497. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress to date in the determination of an appeal in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19787/19]

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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 12th April 2019.   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 24th April 2019 and the case will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for 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.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Questions (1498)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1498. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the correct rate of jobseeker's allowance payment in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19790/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

According to the records of the Department, the person concerned is currently in receipt of jobseeker's allowance at the following rate:

Personal rate: €203.00

Increase for 2 qualified children over 12 years: € 74.00

Sub Total: €277.00

Less Nil means

Weekly rate of jobseeker's allowance: €277.00

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment Applications

Questions (1499)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

1499. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a working family payment application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19855/19]

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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 16 April 2019.

They have been awarded WFP with effect from 11 April 2019 to 08 April 2020.

The first weekly payment and all arrears owing will issue to their nominated bank account on 07 May 2019.

The person concerned was notified in writing on 02 May 2019 of this decision and of the right of review and appeal.

  I trust the matter is clarified for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment

Questions (1500)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

1500. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) is due arrears concerning a working family payment following a social welfare appeal that was allowed on 25 January 2019 on the grounds that their employment took place under a contract of service and is insurable at class A; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19932/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work payment which provides additional financial support to employees on low earnings with children. In order to qualify for WFP an applicant or the applicant and their spouse, partner or cohabitant must be engaged in full-time remunerative employment as an employee. In addition a family's average weekly income must not exceed a fixed limit. This income limit varies in accordance with family size.

An application was received from the person concerned on 28 September 2017.

Their application was referred for further clarification of their employment status and following a successful appeal decision, it has been established that the person concerned does satisfy the above employment condition.

However, their WFP application has been disallowed as their weekly family income exceeds the fixed limit for their family size (4 qualified children).

The person concerned was notified of this decision on 02 May 2019 and of their right of review and appeal. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Illness Benefit Payments

Questions (1501)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

1501. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an illness benefit payment can be changed to a local area in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [19938/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned is in receipt of Supplementary Welfare Allowance since 12 April 2018 at the rate of €201.00 per week.

To transfer his claim to his new address he should make an appointment with the Community Welfare Officer at the Health Centre, Maynooth Road, Celbridge. Their phone number is 01-6303196.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.