Invalidity Pension Applications

Questions (2767)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

2767. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an invalidity pension for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33426/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The gentleman referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 9 May 2019. Payment will issue to his nominated post office on 25 July 2019. Any arrears due from 9 May 2019 to 24 July 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue as soon as possible. The gentleman in question was notified of this decision on 19 July 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Pension Provisions

Questions (2768)

Michael McGrath

Question:

2768. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 912 of 11 July 2019, if the host mailing service is operational; if it has been impacted by data protection issues; the number of occasions this service has been used in recent years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33489/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department has arrangements in place to assist with the tracing of pension schemes members. Where the administrator of a pension scheme or a life company is unable to trace a member using their own resources, they can use my Department’s host mailing service. This is a contact only service whereby my Department forwards letters which contain minimal information to the last known address of a pension scheme member.

The pension provider must have made an unsuccessful attempt to contact the scheme member and my Department will only forward letters to the last known address of the member, based on its records if this address differs from that which the pension provider has.

It is important to note that, in all such cases, the Department does not share personal data with any third party, and relies on Article 6(f) of the GDPR to perform the communication with the customer.

My Department dealt with 3,384 pension-related queries in 2018 and with 1,965 such queries to date in 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Data Sharing Arrangements

Questions (2769)

Michael McGrath

Question:

2769. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of times data relating to persons was shared by her Department with the Revenue Commissioners in each year since 2015 by category in tabular form; the nature of the data that was shared; the process involved by which the Revenue Commissioners seek data from her Department relating to a person; if there has been and continues to be full compliance with data protection and GDPR in respect of such data sharing; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33497/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

For the past number of years, my Department has been actively engaged in data matching with other Government Departments and public bodies for control purposes. To this end, there is an extensive legal structure to support the sharing of data for the purpose of controlling the entitlement and payment of benefits.

The legislative provisions that allow for the specific sharing of data – with the Revenue Commissioners and other Government Departments and agencies - are contained in section 261 of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005. In exercising these functions, the Department also operates in accordance with the relevant data protection legislation.

The provision of information directly to other organisations for other purposes is in adherence with strict data protection guidelines. A Data Sharing Agreement is in place between my Department and the Revenue Commissioners to govern the transfer of data between the two organisations, in strict accordance with GDPR.

The nature of the data transferred each year from my Department to the Revenue Commissioners, and the frequency of these transfers, is shown in the following table.

Table 1: Data transferred to Revenue

Category of Personal Data transferred from DEASP

Frequency of transfer

Legislative Basis

Taxable social welfare payments

Weekly

Section 126 Taxes Consolidation Act 1997

Manual Payments & Inter-Scheme Adjustments (ISA)

Weekly (Manual), Nightly Mon-Fri (ISA)

Section 126 Taxes Consolidation Act 1997

Local Property Tax - data to allow deductions at source from certain social welfare payments

Weekly

Part 10 Chapter 2 - Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012

Payment of Carers Allowance and Carers Support Grant made by DEASP

Annually

Section 261(1) of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

Rent Supplement - data in respect of payments made by DEASP under this scheme

Annually

Section 888 of the Taxes (Consolidation ) Act 1997

Payments of Occupational Injury Benefit/Illness Benefit made by DEASP

Weekly

Section 15 (4) (a) Finance Act, 1992; Article 70(b)(i) of S.I. No. 77/1993 [Income Tax (Employments) Regulations, 1993]

SCOPE Section/Requests from Revenue for changes in PRSI class

Twice weekly

Sections 261 and 300 of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

Payment to customers under the Magdalen Commission Scheme made by DEASP

Case basis

Section 261(1) of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

New PPSN and changes to identity data set

Daily

Sections 261(1) and 262 to 270 of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

Update to cases where Public Service Identity details have changed

Nightly

Sections 261(1) and 262 to 270 of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

Update to cases where a PPS Number has been allocated

Nightly

Sections 261(1) and 262 to 270 of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

Details contained in token that is passed to Revenue when a person logs in to Revenue MyAccount via www.MyGovID.ie

When a person logs in to Revenue MyAccount

Sections 261(1) and 262 to 270 of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

Income Tax Family Statistics & Budget Forecast Information

Annually

Sections 261(1) and 262 to 270 of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

Withholding tax returns in respect of professional service provided to the Department.

Case basis

Section 527 Taxes Consolidation Act 1997

Client Identity Services Registration

Case basis

Section 8 Immigration Act 2003

Case specific enquiries to support work of Joint Investigations Unit

Case specific investigation

S 261(2) of Social Welfare (Consolidation)Act 2005. Section 891 (b) Taxes Consolidation Act

Information about certain payments made by traders and other persons carrying on a business activity

Case specific investigation

S 261(2) of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005.

Vehicle registration data

Case specific investigation

Section 261(1) of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

Single Customer View

Case specific enquiry

Sections 261(1) and 262 to 270 of Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act 2005

I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Public Services Card

Questions (2770)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

2770. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to allow credit union members and customers to use their public services card as proof of identification or PPSN confirmation under section 263(4) of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33505/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

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

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

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Questions (2771)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2771. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of measures (details supplied). [33569/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The costings requested by the Deputy are set out below:

1) Fuel Allowance

The estimated full year cost of extending the fuel season by 2 weeks (from 28 weeks to 30 weeks) is €16.8 million.

2) Increase rates to 2008 Levels

The only weekly payments that are currently lower than their 2008 levels are Maternity Benefit and reduced rate Jobseeker's Allowance for those under the age of 26 (who would have been paid the full rate at that time). The estimated full year cost of restoring these payments to their 2008 levels (including increasing Paternity Benefit, which did not exist at the time, to the 2008 maximum rate of Maternity Benefit) is €92.1 million.

3) Pension Rates

The estimated full year cost of introducing a €260 per week state pension for all pensioners is €439.4 million. It should be noted that this includes proportionate increases for Qualified Adults.

4) Christmas Bonus

The estimated cost of paying a Christmas Bonus at a rate of 110% is €309.1 million.

5) General Rates Increase

The estimated full year cost of increasing all social welfare payments by €10 is €694.4 million.

6) Working Family Payment Multiplier

At current thresholds, the estimated full year cost of increasing the Working Family Payment multiplier to 75% is €97.1 million.

7) Child Benefit to 18 year olds in education

While the actual cost is dependent upon assumptions made, the estimated full year cost of extending Child benefit to 18 year olds in education is in the range of €80 - €100 million.

8) Extend One Parent Family Payment to families with Children aged 18

The full year cost of increasing the age limit of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) to 18 would be very difficult to estimate with accuracy.

There are a number of significant barriers to undertaking such an exercise. Firstly, an increase in the age limits could result in a cohort of lone parents that are currently not in receipt of a social welfare payment becoming eligible and therefore moving onto a social welfare payment. As members of this cohort are not currently in receipt of a social welfare payment it would be difficult to for the Department to estimate the numbers involved.

Secondly, some customers could seek to move from alternative payments such as Jobseeker's Allowance (JA), the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST) and the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) back to the OFP. Again, it would be difficult for the Department to estimate the magnitude of this flow between schemes with any degree of accuracy.

Thirdly, such changes would also increase the incidence of dual payments of OFP and the Working Family Payment (WFP). It is not possible to predict the impact on payments as a result of the interaction between both schemes without having detailed knowledge of individuals’ working patterns and the degree to which these might change.

These factors are critical to providing a reliable costing. The Department is therefore not in a position to provide the costing requested.

9) Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

The estimated cost of increasing the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance by €50 for all children is €13.3 million

10) Maternity Payments

The estimated cost of increasing maternity payments to 12 months (based on Maternity Benefit) is €256 million.

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

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

Rent Supplement Scheme Expenditure

Questions (2772)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2772. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount paid out annually in rent allowance in 2018 and to date in 2019; and the projected amount for the remainder of 2019 and 2020. [33570/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Rent Supplement expenditure in 2018 was €175m. At the end of June 2019, expenditure on Rent Supplement was €67.6m.

The 2019 Revised Estimates provided an allocation of €132.4m. It is expected that the outturn will be broadly in line with the estimate.

The 2020 estimate for Rent Supplement has not yet been determined. The Department will closely monitor trends over the next few months and will agree an estimate with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for inclusion in the Budget 2020 estimates in October.

Pension Provisions

Questions (2773, 2778, 2783)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2773. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of reinstating the transitionary pension. [33571/19]

View answer

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2778. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost to introduce a universal State pension of €250 weekly and reduce the pension age to 65 years of age. [33576/19]

View answer

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2783. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of ensuring the State contributory and non-contributory pensions are available to all those that reach 65 years of age. [33656/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2773, 2778 and 2783 together.

Increasing pension age, to moderate the increase in pension duration, is a means by which pensions can be made sustainable in the context of increasing longevity. In order to provide for sustainable pensions and to facilitate a longer working life, legislation passed in 2011 provides for an increase in the State pension age in three separate stages. In 2014, the State pension age was standardised at 66. This will be increased to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028. The Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023 has stated that future changes in State pension age will be decided on research into life expectancy.

As a result of this demographic trend, the number of State pension recipients is increasing year on year. This has significant implications for the future costs of State pension provision which are currently increasing by approximately €1 billion every 4 or 5 years, and more when recent rate increases are taken into account. For example, the cost of my Department's pension payments rose from €7.1 billion in 2016 to €7.75 billion in 2018, an increase of €650m (or 9.2%) in 2 years. The recent Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund confirmed that this trend will continue into the future, with the ratio of workers to pensioners likely to halve by the time workers currently in their 30s reach State pension age.

This sustainability is vital, if the current workers, who fund State pension payments through their PRSI, are to receive a pension themselves when they reach retirement age. The only feasible solution which does not involve reducing pension rates to pensioners (which would result in poverty among older people), reducing other significant areas of Government expenditure (such as other payments made by by my Department, and/or Health and Education spending), or increasing charges on those currently paying for them (which would increase the rates of poverty among the current working age population), is to encourage people to stay in employment longer.

In 2013, the cost of the State pension (transition) was €137 million. However, the State pension (non-contributory) was only payable from 66 prior to this change, and so there would be an additional cost if the state pension age for that payment was also reduced to 65. While this would be difficult to cost as retirement behaviour has changed in the intervening period - in part because of the change in State pension age - it might be expected to increase the total cost of a unified state pension age of 65 at roughly €200 million or more, although it should be stressed that this is tentative estimate.

If the rate of both State pensions was to increase to €250 per week, this would be expected to have a cost in the region of €170 million per annum. If, however, the pension became available universally, at that maximum rate, both to everyone resident here (including public service pensioners, their spouses, and people in receipt of a foreign pension with no Irish PRSI record) and also to people resident outside the State who had built up an entitlement to the Irish State pension, the additional cost could be expected to be more than €2 billion, and possibly more, depending upon a number of factors.

The Deputy should note that there is no legally mandated retirement age in the State, and the age at which employees retire is a matter for the contract of employment between them and their employers. While such a contract may have been entered into with a retirement date of 65, in the context of the previous State pension arrangements, there is no legal impediment to the employer and employee agreeing to increase the duration of employment for one or more years, if both parties wish to do so.

Where this is not possible, there are specific measures which apply to someone claiming Jobseeker’s Benefit from a date after their 65th birthday. Where qualified, these recipients may continue to be eligible for that payment until reaching pension age.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Rent Supplement Scheme Data

Question No. 2775 answered with Question No. 2642.

Questions (2774)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2774. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the moneys saved following the transfer of recipients of rent allowance to HAP, leasing arrangements and RAS have then been transferred to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government; the organisation responsible for the latter payments; if so, the amount in each of the years since the commencement of the payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33572/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Rent supplement plays a vital role in supporting families and individuals in private rented accommodation, with the scheme supporting approximately 20,160 recipients for which the Government has provided €132.4 million for 2019.

The strategic goal of returning rent supplement to its original purpose, that of a short-term income support, has been primarily facilitated by the introduction of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). The “Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness (July 2016), reiterated in the “Housing First National Implementation Plan 2018-2021” (September 2018), is to provide 87,000 flexible housing supports through the HAP and Rental Accommodation Scheme between 2016 and 2021.

HAP has been rolled out on incremental basis since 2014 and as of 1st March 2017 has been available in all 31 Local Authorities (completing Action 2.3 of the Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness).

Details of rent supplement recipients and expenditure under the scheme for the period from 2014 to date are provided in the attached tabular statement.

Rent supplement customer numbers have dropped significantly in the period from December 2014, (c.71,533) to June 2019 (c. 20,160). There are many factors contributing to this fall, including the improving economy. However, the most significant change in rent supplement policy has been the introduction of HAP. There are currently c. 48,600 active HAP tenancy arrangements.

The rental accommodation scheme (RAS) has also continued its operations in the transfer of rent supplement customers.

Rent Supplement: Recipient Numbers & Expenditure: 2014 to Present.

Year

Recipients

%

Change

Cost

€000

%

Change

2014

71,533

338,208

2015

61,247

(-14.4%)

311,059

(-8%)

2016

48,041

(-21.6%)

275,294

(-11.5%)

2017

34,378

(-28.4%)

230,566

(-16.2%)

2018

24,303

(-29.3%)

175,032[1]

(-24.1%)

2019

20,156[2]

(-17.1%)

[1] Provisional year end figure

[2] As at End June 2019

While allocations for Rent Supplement are agreed between my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in the annual estimates process, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rent Accommodation Scheme (RAS) estimates are the responsibility of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Question No. 2775 answered with Question No. 2642.

Social Welfare Benefits Expenditure

Questions (2776)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2776. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of reinstating a concurrent payment of half-rate illness benefit and jobseeker's benefit in addition to one parent family payment and widow's and widower's pensions. [33574/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

When the concurrent payment of half-rate illness Benefit and Jobseeker's Benefit, in addition to One-Parent Family Payment and Widow's and Widower's Pensions, was abolished in Budget 2012, this produced a saving of €12 million in a full year.

I am advised that the Department is not in a position, however, to calculate how much it would cost to reintroduce this, as it is not known how many lone parents, jobseekers, widows, widowers or surviving civil partners would avail of such a measure.

Social Welfare Schemes Expenditure

Question No. 2778 answered with Question No. 2773.

Question No. 2779 answered with Question No. 2642.

Questions (2777)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2777. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost to increase social welfare payments to 2009 levels. [33575/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

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

Scheme

Full year cost of restoring rates to 2009 levels

€m

Social Insurance Schemes

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

2.02

Deserted Wife's Benefit

0.2

Invalidity Pension

4.17

Partial Capacity Benefit

0.12

Disablement Pension

0.4

Illness Benefit

3.59

Injury Benefit

0.11

Incapacity Supplement

0.06

Jobseeker's Benefit

2.21

Carer's Benefit

0.17

Health and Safety Benefit

0.00

Maternity & Adoptive Benefit (Based on old max rate)

36.11

Paternity Benefit Based on old Maternity Benefit max rate)

1.57

Total Social Insurance Schemes

50.73

Scheme

Full year cost of restoring rates to 2009 levels

€m

Social Assistance Schemes

Blind Pension

0.09

Widow/ers or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Con) Pension

0.09

Deserted Wife's Allowance

0.01

One-Parent Family Payment

2.66

Carer's Allowance

3.33

Half Rate Carer's Allowance

0.89

Jobseeker's Allowance

10.17

Jobseeker's Allowance - for those aged 18 to 24 years of age

54.56

Jobseeker's Allowance - for those aged 25 years of age

4.32

Disability Allowance

10.32

Farm Assist

0.57

Back to Education Allowance

0.39

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance

0.47

Community Employment

0.22

TÚS

0.07

Rural Social Scheme

0.06

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

2.88

Total Social Assistance Schemes

91.1

Overall Total

141.83

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

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

Question No. 2778 answered with Question No. 2773.
Question No. 2779 answered with Question No. 2642.

Child Benefit Expenditure

Questions (2780)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2780. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost to increase child benefit in respect of children over 12 years of age by €30. [33578/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The estimated full year cost of increasing child benefit in respect of children over 12 years of age by €30 is €159.5 million.

Any changes to Child Benefit would need to be considered in a budgetary context.

Back to Education Allowance Expenditure

Questions (2781)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

2781. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of reversing cuts to the back to education allowance. [33579/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The back to education allowance scheme (BTEA) is designed to support second chance education. It enables eligible persons to pursue education and to continue to receive income support for the duration of a course of study. The weekly rate of payment is linked to the persons' underlying payment, for example jobseekers allowance, and all budget increases in these rates are applied to BTEA recipients.

Government has provided almost €62 million for BTEA in 2019. This represents a considerable investment in supporting participants to acquire the necessary education and skills to re-enter the labour market.

The BTEA is not intended as an alternative form of funding for people entering or re-entering the third-level education system. The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant, payable by the Department of Education and Skills, represents the primary support for persons pursuing education.

Any rate changes would have to be considered in a budgetary context and within the scope of the overall resources available for welfare improvements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Reviews

Question No. 2783 answered with Question No. 2773.

Questions (2782)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

2782. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an invalidity pension application review for a person (details supplied). [33620/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

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

The Department received a claim for IP for the lady concerned on the 22 February 2019. She was disallowed IP on the grounds that the medical conditions for the scheme were not satisfied. She was notified on 29 May 2019 of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of review and appeal.

She requested a review of the decision and submitted further medical evidence in support of her request. Following a review of all the information available it has been decided that there is no change to the original decision. She was notified on 19 July 2019 of the outcome of the review.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 2783 answered with Question No. 2773.

Child Poverty

Questions (2784)

John Brady

Question:

2784. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the targets signed up to in relation to reducing child poverty; the targets missed to date; the steps being taken to ensure that future targets are met; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33668/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

As part of the National Policy Framework for Children and Young People (Better Outcomes Brighter Futures), the Government set an ambitious and challenging child poverty target: to lift 70,000 children out of consistent poverty by 2020, a reduction of at least two-thirds on the 2011 level (or 107,000 children).

To achieve this target the Government undertook to adopt a multi-dimensional, whole-of-Government approach which would build on the lifecycle approach employed in the National Action Plan for Social Inclusion (NAPinclusion) and be informed by the European Commission’s Recommendation on ‘Investing in children: Breaking the cycle of disadvantage’, as part of the Social Investment Package.’

As the Financial Crisis progressed, the number of children living in consistent poverty rose and peaked at 150,000 by 2013. It has since fallen significantly and stood at 105,000 by 2017, the most recent year for which the SILC data is available. The 2017 SILC data indicates that there was a reduction of 25,000 children living in consistent poverty between 2016 and 2017. Budgets 2018 and 2019 included DEASP measures specifically aimed at supporting families on low incomes through raising income thresholds for the Working Family Payment, increasing qualified child rates, increasing earnings disregards for One Parent Family and Jobseeker Transition payments, and increasing the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. These improved supports – along with ongoing improvements in the labour market– are not reflected in the 2017 SILC data. This would suggest that we can expect further reductions in the child poverty rates once the 2018 figures become available.

The forthcoming National Action Plan for Social Inclusion – ‘A Roadmap for Social Inclusion: Ambitions, Goals, Commitments 2019-2025 ’ – is currently being developed following consultation with relevant Government Departments and other stakeholders and is aimed at addressing the challenge to overcoming poverty in Irish society, with a proposed six year timeframe covering the period 2019 – 2025. It will continue to have a ‘whole of government’ approach which recognises the shared responsibility across Government to achieve improved outcomes for the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society, including proposals to further assist families with children.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Strategies

Questions (2785)

John Brady

Question:

2785. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the date the new social inclusion strategy will be published; the reason for the delay to date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33677/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The new social inclusion strategy – ‘A Roadmap for Social Inclusion: Ambitions, Goals, Commitments 2019-2025’ – is being developed following consultation with relevant Government Departments and other stakeholders. It has taken some time to ensure that we address the multiplicity of issues raised in these submissions and to gather the facts in the areas covered by the strategy. The Roadmap is currently being finalised and it is expected that the new strategy will be published over the coming weeks.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment Data

Questions (2786)

John Brady

Question:

2786. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of households in each county in receipt of the working family payment in tabular form. [33671/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Working Family Payment (WFP) is a weekly in-work payment which provides additional financial support to employees on low earnings with children. WFP is designed to prevent in work poverty for low paid workers with child dependents and to offer a financial incentive to take up employment.

The number of households (recipients) in each county in receipt of WFP is as follows:

County

Recipients

Dublin

12,376

Cork

5,355

Donegal

2,656

Galway

2,447

Limerick

2,283

Kildare

2,279

Wexford

2,193

Meath

2,060

Tipperary

2,027

Louth

1,991

Waterford

1,741

Kerry

1,627

Mayo

1,495

Wicklow

1,261

Cavan

1,192

Clare

1,144

Westmeath

1,127

Offaly

999

Laois

996

Monaghan

984

Kilkenny

924

Carlow

913

Longford

774

Roscommon

718

Sligo

711

Leitrim

367

Down

46

Fermanagh

25

Armagh

18

Derry

17

Tyrone

15

Antrim

1

Grand Total

52,762

It should be noted that the above figures refer to the number of households in receipt of WFP at the end of June 2019. These figures may fluctuate from week to week.

JobPath Data

Question No. 2788 answered with Question No. 2659.

Questions (2787, 2790)

John Brady

Question:

2787. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of times that Seetec and Turas Nua flagged to her Department a participant that was not engaging with the JobPath service in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form. [33680/19]

View answer

John Brady

Question:

2790. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of job starts commenced through JobPath to date; the length of time these jobs have been sustained; and the type of employment gained. [33682/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2787 and 2790 together.

Between July 2015 and June 2019, some 231,547 jobseekers had commenced their engagement period with the JobPath service. Of this number, 52% were unemployed for over three years. These groups face significant barriers when seeking to enter or return to employment in the open labour market. The number of non-engagements reported to the Department by Seetec and Turas Nua by year is set out in table 1. The 95,880 jobseekers have, on at least one occasion, failed to engage with the JobPath providers. The majority of these non-engagements are for missed appointments that were subsequently re-scheduled. To date, some 52,794 jobseekers have commenced employment during their engagement period with JobPath. Of this number, 47,082 had commenced full-time employment and 5,712 had commenced part-time employment. Many clients who are currently engaged with JobPath are still in the first phase of the service and have not had sufficient time with the service to have gained employment nor sustain that employment for up to 52 weeks. Performance will improve as more clients complete their engagement with the service and have a chance to reach 52 weeks in employment. My Department does not maintain statistics on the specific types of employment commenced through JobPath. However the recent econometric review of JobPath noted that the weekly employment earnings of people who secured employment with the JobPath service are 17% higher than the weekly employment earnings of people who secured employment without the support of JobPath in 2018. Taken with the 26% improvement in employment outcomes in the same period, it means the overall positive employment/earnings impact is 37% in 2018 for those who are supported by the JobPath service. These findings indicate that jobseekers who engage with JobPath are more likely to get a positive employment outcome than those jobseekers who are not supported by the service.

Table 1: Jobseekers reported as not engaging by year of referral

Year

Jobseekers

2015

943

2016

23,125

2017

33,883

2018

29,576

2019

8,353

Total

95,880

Table 2: Jobseekers engaged with JobPath and full time employment outcomes

Weeks

Jobstarts

Total number of Job starts

52,794

13 weeks or more

Number of job starts which occurred over 13 weeks ago

49,952

Number of those which sustained for 13 weeks

32,089

26 weeks or more

Number of job starts which occurred over 26 weeks ago

46,412

Number of those which sustained for 26 weeks

24,726

39 weeks or more

Number of job starts which occurred over 39 weeks ago

43,090

Number of those which sustained for 39 weeks

19,608

52 weeks or more

Number of job starts which occurred over 52 weeks ago

38,300

Number of those which sustained for 52 weeks

15,302

Question No. 2788 answered with Question No. 2659.

Youth Unemployment Data

Question No. 2790 answered with Question No. 2787.

Questions (2789)

John Brady

Question:

2789. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons that participated in the youth employment support scheme to date; the type of work experience being undertaken by participants; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33681/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

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

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

Since the scheme's inception, a total of 348 people have commenced a placement to date.

The type of work experience undertaken by participants involves roles across a number of different sectors including - community and voluntary, hospitality and food, ICT and telecoms, manufacturing, retail, sales and marketing and construction.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 2790 answered with Question No. 2787.

Departmental Schemes

Questions (2791)

John Brady

Question:

2791. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of participants engaged in schemes (details supplied) in tabular form. [33673/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department provides a range of activation supports catering for long-term unemployed jobseekers and those most distant from the labour market to secure and sustain full-time paid employment. These supports include Tús, Community Employment, Rural Social Scheme, Local Employment Services and the JobPath service. The following table shows the number of participants currently engaged in these schemes and services.

I hope this information is of assistance to the Deputy.

Scheme

Number of participants as of the end of June 2019

Tús

6,041

Community Employment

21,367

Rural Social Scheme

3,193

Local Employment Services

19,455

JobPath

72,987*

* This includes any clients who are in employment & off the Live Register but who are still engaged with the employment support phase of JobPath.