Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Questions (912)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

912. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the entitlement to carer's allowance of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23836/19]

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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 person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

Once claims are in payment, the Department periodically reviews them to ensure that there is continued entitlement. Depending on the circumstances in each case and to make best use of resources, a review may only concentrate on a specific condition of entitlement.

During the course of a review of their entitlement to CA, it was determined that the person concerned had not notified the Department of changes in their financial circumstances. When Department officials requested documentation pertaining to these changes, the person concerned failed to supply them.

On 13 November 2018, the person concerned was notified that their entitlement to CA from 22 May 2014 to date, was under review and that should a Deciding Officer decide that she was not entitled to CA during that period or that she was entitled to a lower rate than was paid, she would be liable to refund any monies paid to which she was not entitled. She was offered the opportunity to furnish any statement or evidence she wanted to supply in the matter.

On 7 February 2019, a Deciding Officer reviewed all the evidence and decided that the person concerned was no longer entitled to CA as she had failed to show that her means were not less than the statutory limit and had failed to supply documentation that was requested from her. In addition it was decided that she was not entitled to CA from 1 December 2016 to 13 February 2019 for the same reasons.

As a result, it was further decided that she had been overpaid an amount of money which she is liable to refund to the Department. My Department will engage with the customer regarding an appropriate debt recovery plan.

The person concerned was notified on 7 February 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal. To date, no request for a further review or appeal has been received from the person concerned.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Questions (913)

Joe Carey

Question:

913. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a person (details supplied) will receive a decision on a disability allowance appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23849/19]

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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 30 January 2019.

They requested a review of the decision by a deciding officer (DO) and submitted additional medical evidence for consideration.

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

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Insurance Payments

Questions (914)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

914. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person receiving a State pension (contributory) over 66 years of age while still working in a full-time position and paying normal rates of PRSI, tax and so on can benefit from paying a reduced PRSI and-or tax contribution; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23878/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Employees who are over the State pension age, currently 66, are insurable at Class J. This provides cover for occupational injuries benefit only.

Under Class J employees pay no PRSI contribution at all while their employer pays an employer rate of just 0.5%, compared to the Class A contribution rates of 4% for employees and 10.95% for employers.

Taxation policy is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Finance.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory)

Questions (915)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

915. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) will be included in the contributory pension review; if so, when the person will be contacted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23885/19]

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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.

Those being reviewed include eligible pensioners, such as the person concerned, who have and underlying entitlement to State pension (contributory) but are currently the beneficiary of an Increase for qualified adult payment on their spouses pension.

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 her 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.

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, and it is more financially beneficial for them, they will be transferred to their own payment and arrears of payment backdated to 30 March 2018 issued without delay. If no increase is due following, they will continue as the beneficiary of an Increase for qualified adult payment on their spouses pension.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Eligibility

Questions (916)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

916. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter regarding payment of partial capacity benefit in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [23888/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Partial Capacity Benefit scheme allows a person with reduced capacity to work and who is in receipt of Illness Benefit for at least 26 weeks or Invalidity Pension to return to work and to continue to receive a payment from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

An official of the Department contacted the person concerned on June 7th with regard to her Partial Capacity Benefit payment. Further to that communication, the person concerned has elected to continue to receive her Partial Capacity Benefit payment.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (917)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

917. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24010/19]

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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.

Full-time care and attention does not necessarily mean 24 hours in each day. Full-time care and attention can be considered to apply where there is an ongoing and daily commitment by the carer and which also generally results in the carer not being able to support him/herself through normal full-time employment.

I confirm that my department received an application for CA from the person concerned on 16 October 2018.

The evidence submitted in support of this application was examined and the deciding officer decided that although the person concerned is providing a certain level of care, they are not providing full-time care and attention.

The person concerned was notified on 12 February 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

My Department have received and forwarded a request for appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO) for their necessary action. A submission in support of the decision is being prepared and will shortly be forwarded along with the file to the SWAO for determination.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals

Questions (918)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

918. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24011/19]

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

The Deputy's representations will be brought to the attention of the Appeals Officer to whom the case has been assigned.

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 hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (919)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

919. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24013/19]

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

Applications for CA were received from the person concerned on 15 March 2019, in respect of his parents.

A person can be considered to be providing full-time care and attention where they are engaged in employment, self-employment or on training courses outside the home for a maximum of 15 hours per week, provided that they can show to the satisfaction of a deciding officer that adequate care has been provided for the care recipient in their absence.

As the applicant is engaged in farming the matter was referred to a local Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) on 2 April 2019 to assess the level of care being provided, assess means and confirm that all the conditions for receipt of CA are satisfied.

Once the SWI has reported, a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Questions (920)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

920. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24024/19]

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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 25th February 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 30th May 2019 and the case is 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 Allowance Appeals

Questions (921)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

921. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24025/19]

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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 referred on 28th May 2019 to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the 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.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Questions (922)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

922. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when an application for an invalidity pension will be processed for a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24062/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The lady referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 28 March 2019. She has an entitlement to state pension contributory (SPC) with effect from 20 April 2019. Payment of IP arrears due from 28 March 2019 to 19 April 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue to her nominated bank account as soon as possible. The lady in question was notified of this decision on 10 June 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Questions (923)

Robert Troy

Question:

923. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application for invalidity pension will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [24068/19]

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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 Department received a claim for IP for the gentleman concerned on 23 May 2019. The claim will be processed as quickly as possible and he will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Household Benefits Scheme

Questions (924)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

924. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the household benefits package will be restored for those in receipt of carer's allowance that are not living with those they care for; and if such carers will be made eligible for the fuel allowance. [24075/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The household benefits package (HHB) comprises the electricity or gas allowance, and the free television licence. My Department will spend approximately €248 million this year on HHB for over 446,000 customers. The package is generally available to people living in the State aged 66 years or over who are in receipt of a social welfare type payment or who satisfy a means test. The package is also available to some people under the age of 66 who are in receipt of certain welfare type payments.

Since 1 April 2012, new applicants in receipt of Carers Allowance who are not living with the person for whom they provide care do not have an automatic entitlement to the household benefits package. Carers who live with the person they are caring for can still have an entitlement to the household benefits package and do not have to satisfy the household composition criteria.

The Government values the role of carers very much and it is for this reason that they receive significant income supports from the Department. In addition to carer’s allowance carers receive additional support in the form of free travel and household benefits (for those who live with the person for whom they care) and the annual carers support grant (€1,700) in respect of each person for whom they care.

Where a person is in receipt of certain qualifying social welfare payments, and also providing full time care and attention to another person, they can keep their primary social welfare payment and also get the half-rate carer's allowance. It should also be noted that since October 2013 the payment of half-rate carer’s allowance does not preclude a person from qualifying for fuel allowance. If a person is in receipt of a non-contributory social welfare payment and a half-rate carer’s allowance, then they are deemed to have satisfied the means test and fuel allowance is payable subject to all remaining criteria being satisfied. If a person is in receipt of a contributory social welfare payment and a half-rate carer’s allowance then they will have to undergo a means test for fuel allowance.

The maximum rates of Carer's Allowance for those aged under 66, at €219 (€257 for carers aged 66 or over) for where one person is being cared for, and €328.50 (€385.50 for carers aged 66 or over) where there are two or more carees , is significantly higher than that for most schemes administered by my department.

The means test for carers allowance has been significantly eased over the years, and is now one of the most generous means tests in the social welfare system, most notably with regard to spouse’s earnings. At present the means test for Carer’s Allowance allows for an income disregard of €332.50 per week for a single person and €665 for a couple. In the case of a single carer, that person may retain a full-rate payment of €219.00 while having an annual income of just under €19,000.00, or retain a payment of €109.00 per week (just under half rate) while having an annual income of €25,400.00, or retain the minimum payment of €4 per week while having an annual income of €31,100.00.

Carers can also engage in employment, self-employment, training or education courses outside the home for not more than 15 hours a week.

Any decision to change the qualifying criteria for HHB or fuel allowance would have budgetary consequences and would have to be considered in the context of budget negotiations.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (925)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

925. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24081/19]

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.

CA was awarded to the person concerned on 30 April 2019 with effect from 31 January 2019. The first payment issued to her nominated bank account on 9 May 2019.

Arrears of allowance due from to 31 January have also issued. The person concerned was notified of these details on 30 April 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Questions (926)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

926. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24082/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who has decided to hold an oral hearing in this case on 25th June 2019. The person concerned has been notified of the arrangements for the hearing.

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

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Questions (927)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

927. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24083/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, including that adduced at the oral hearing held on 26 March 2019, decided to disallow the appeal of the person concerned. Under social welfare legislation, the decision of an Appeals Officer is final and conclusive and may only be reviewed in the light of additional evidence or new facts.

I am advised that the person concerned has submitted additional evidence and that the Appeals Officer has agreed to review the case. The person concerned will be contacted when the review of the appeal decision has been finalised.

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.