Social Welfare Benefits Waiting Times

Questions (1091)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1091. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the waiting time for social welfare payments (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45115/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

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

Table 1. Average weeks to award a claim in September 2019

Average Weeks to Award

September 2019

Domiciliary Care

10

Carer's Allowance

15

Carer's Benefit

10

Invalidity Pension

9

Disability Allowance

13

State Pension Contributory

7

State Pension Non-Contributory

9

Illness Benefit Applications

Questions (1092)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

1092. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for illness benefit by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45132/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

An application for Illness Benefit was received from the person concerned on 7th August 2019.

One of the qualifying conditions for Illness Benefit is that a person must have 39 weeks of PRSI contributions paid or credited in the relevant tax year, of which 13 must be paid contributions at class A, E or H. Alternatively, a person may have 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the relevant tax year, and 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year with all such contributions at class A, E or H.

I am advised that the person concerned does not satisfy the contribution conditions for Illness Benefit and a letter issued on 8th August 2019 explaining the position.

Should the person concerned be in need of financial assistance, it is open to him to contact the Community Welfare Service at his local Intreo Centre.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (1093)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1093. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a half-rate carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45175/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 27 August 2019.

Additional information in relation to the person’s application was requested by a deciding officer on 30 October 2019.

Once the information is received the application will be processed without delay and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (1094)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

1094. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when payment and arrears will issue in relation to a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45183/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department received an application for Carer’s Allowance (CA) from the person concerned on 4 January 2019.

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.

It is a condition for receipt of a CA that the person being cared for must have such disability that they require full-time care and attention.

This is defined as requiring from another person, continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily functions or continual supervision in order to avoid danger to him or herself and likely to require that level of care for at least twelve months.

The evidence submitted in support of this application was examined and the deciding officer decided that this evidence did not indicate that the requirement for full-time care was satisfied.

The person concerned was notified on 11 March 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

The person concerned requested a review of this decision and submitted additional evidence in support of her application.

The outcome of the review was that the decision still stood. The person concerned was notified of the outcome on 24 April 2019, the reason for it and of her right of appeal.

My Department was notified that the person concerned had appealed this decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO) and a submission was prepared and forwarded to the SWAO on 30 July 2019.

As a result of an Appeals Officer’s decision, CA was awarded to the person concerned on 30 October 2019 with effect from 10 January 2019. The first payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 7 November 2019.

Arrears for the period 10 January 2019 to 6 November 2019 will issue to her nominated bank account on the same date, 7 November 2019.

The person concerned was notified of this on the 30 October 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1095)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1095. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45191/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned submitted an application for disability allowance (DA) on 16 August 2019. Their application, based upon all the evidence submitted, was refused on medical grounds as it was not found that this gentleman was substantially restricted in taking up employment.

The person concerned was notified in writing of this decision on 1 November 2019 and was also notified of their right to request a review of this decision or to appeal it to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1096)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1096. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45200/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I can confirm that my Department received an application for disability allowance (DA) from this gentleman on 19 August 2019.

On 30 October 2019 the person concerned was requested to supply supporting documentation required by the deciding officer in order to make a decision on his eligibility. On receipt of this information a decision will be made on his DA application and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1097)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1097. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for disability allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45201/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

This lady submitted an application for disability allowance (DA) on 9 September 2019. The application, based upon the evidence submitted, was refused on the grounds that the medical qualifying condition was not satisfied. She was also deemed to have means in excess of the statutory limit for her circumstances.

The person concerned was notified in writing of this decision on 30 September 2019. The person was also notified of her right to a review of this decision or to appeal it to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office. To date no request for an appeal or review has been received.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1098)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1098. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45202/19]

View answer

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, decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision on 30 October 2019. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision.

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.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1099)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1099. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45203/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Based on the evidence supplied in support of their application for disability allowance (DA), this person’s application was disallowed on the grounds that the medical qualifying condition was not satisfied. They were notified in writing of this decision on 4 July 2019.

The person concerned requested an appeal and submitted additional medical evidence for consideration. The Department was notified by the social welfare appeals office (SWAO) on the 29 October 2019 that the appeal for the person in question has been successful.

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance with effect from 17 April 2019. The first payment will be made by her chosen payment method on 27 November 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1100)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1100. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45204/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance (DA) with effect from 19 September 2018. The first payment was made by his chosen payment method on 2 October 2019.

Arrears of payment due less any necessary deductions in respect of overlapping payments, issued to the person concerned on 12 October 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Questions (1101)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

1101. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a carer's allowance application by a person (details supplied). [45252/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 24 April 2019.

Additional information in relation to the person’s application was requested by a deciding officer on 16 July 2019 and again on 9 August 2019.

It is a condition for receipt of a CA that the person being cared for must have such disability that they require full-time care and attention.

This is defined as requiring from another person, continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily functions or continual supervision in order to avoid danger to him or herself and likely to require that level of care for at least twelve months.

The evidence submitted in support of this application was examined and the deciding officer decided that this evidence did not indicate that the requirement for full-time care was satisfied.

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

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1102)

Eamon Scanlon

Question:

1102. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45267/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I can confirm that the above named person applied for disability allowance (DA) on 24 May 2019. On 6 September 2019 the claim was sent to a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for investigation of their means and circumstance.

On 14 October 2019 the person concerned contacted the SWI. They informed the SWI that they wished to withdraw their application for DA. On 24 October 2019 the person concerned was notified in writing that their DA application was withdrawn.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Eligibility

Questions (1103)

Robert Troy

Question:

1103. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a medical review application will be expedited for a person (details supplied). [45272/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The decision review request for Disability Allowance for the person concerned, following the submittal of further medical evidence, was assessed by a Medical Assessor on 30 October 2019.

I am advised that on the basis of Medical evidence including MRI scans of the Neck and Back and a Neurosurgeon's report dated 31st January 2019, advising conservative management and in absence of neurological signs the medical assessor deemed the claimant, capable of suitable light or sedentary categories of work.

The medical opinion was conveyed to a Deciding Officer in the relevant scheme area and correspondence detailing the result will issue to the customer in due course.

Hope this addresses the Deputy's question.

Data Protection

Questions (1104)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1104. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the level of personal information sharing and-or exchange between her Department and the National Screening Service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45274/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Data Protection Act 2018 amended the Health (Provision of Information) Act 1997 to provide that the National Cancer Registry Board and the Health Service Executive can request personal data in order to carry out their functions in respect of the National Screening Service (NSS).

On the basis of this legislative provision, my Department provides personal data (name, address, birth surname, mother's birth surname, date of birth, gender and PPS Number) to the HSE on a monthly basis in respect of the bowel, breast and cervical screening programmes. This data is used to compile and maintain a record of persons who, for public health reasons, may be invited to participate in any cancer screening (including any breast, cervical or bowel cancer screening) programme, in line with the provisions of section 184 of the Data Protection Act 2018.

I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.

Farm Assist Scheme Eligibility

Questions (1105)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

1105. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated first and full year cost of changing the farm assist means testing rules in order that irrespective of the source of income the first €3,000 would be disregarded and the balance would be means tested at 50%. [45292/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The farm assist scheme is a means-tested payment for farmers on low incomes and is similar to jobseekers allowance. Recipients retain the advantages of jobseekers allowance scheme such as the retention of secondary benefits and access to activation programmes. The 2020 Revised Estimates provide for expenditure of almost €61 million for farm assist (which also includes provision for fish assist).

Budget 2017 fully reversed the previous cuts to the farm assist means test. The changes included that 70% of farm income is now assessed as means (previously 100%) which is equivalent to a 30% income disregard, and an additional annual means disregard of €254 for each of the first two children and €381 for the third and subsequent children. Budget 2020 provides for a €2 per week increase in the Increase for a Qualified Child for children aged under 12 and a €3 per week increase for children aged 12 and over. These increases will be implemented from 6th January 2020 and will benefit farm assist recipients with children.

The estimated cost of changing the farm assist means testing rules so that the first €3,000, irrespective of the source of income is disregarded and the balance is means tested at 50%, is approximately €18 million for a full year. This estimate is based on the existing number of recipients and current rates. The number of new farm assist applications may increase if these measures were introduced and the cost should be regarded as a minimum estimate.

Any further changes to farm assist would have to be considered in a budgetary context and within the overall resources available for welfare improvements.

I trust that this clarifies the matter.

Fuel Allowance Applications

Questions (1106)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

1106. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45295/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Fuel allowance is a means-tested payment to assist householders on long-term social welfare payments towards the cost of their heating needs.

The person concerned applied for the fuel allowance on 7 August 2019. In order to ascertain their eligibility for fuel allowance, details of their means were requested on 26 August 2019. Following receipt of their reply, a follow-on request for information outstanding issued to the person concerned on 21 October 2019.

Once this information is received, the person's eligibility for fuel allowance will be determined and they will be notified of a decision without delay.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Eligibility

Questions (1107)

Robert Troy

Question:

1107. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a full disability allowance payment will be reinstated for a person (details supplied). [45300/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

This gentleman's entitlement to disability allowance (DA) was recently reviewed on cessation of his employment. It was established that he had means not previously disclosed to the Department from his spouse's employment and the person concerned was awarded a reduced rate of DA.

The person in question was notified in writing of this decision on 24 October 2019 and was also notified of their right to request a review of this decision or to appeal it to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Redundancy Payments

Questions (1108)

Joe Carey

Question:

1108. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the statutory redundancy claims made by the 111 employees of a company (details supplied) will be expedited in view of the fact the necessary RP50 forms have been submitted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45380/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Redundancy Payments Act 1967, as amended, provides for the making of payments by employers to employees in respect of redundancy. It is the employer’s responsibility to pay statutory redundancy payments to all eligible employees. In the event that an employer is unable to pay due to financial difficulties, an application for payment from the Social Insurance Fund may be submitted to the Department. Proof of the employer's inability to pay is required before applications can be processed.

The Department has received 70 applications to date under the Redundancy Payments Scheme in respect of the former employees of Avara Pharmaceuticals. I can assure the Deputy that these applications and any further applications received will be dealt with promptly once as soon as outstanding financial information has been supplied.

Disability Allowance Applications

Questions (1109)

Willie Penrose

Question:

1109. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position in relation to an application for a disability allowance by a person (details supplied); if same will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45415/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 22 July 2019.

Additional information in relation to the person’s application was requested by a deciding officer on 31 October 2019.

Once the information is received the application will be processed without delay and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Review

Questions (1110)

Alan Kelly

Question:

1110. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of carer's allowance reviews carried out in each month from September 2018 to date; the results of the reviews; the number of allowances increased, unchanged and reduced, respectively, as a result of these reviews in each month, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45423/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

Carer's Allowance (CA) is a means-tested payment, made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that they require that level of care. An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

Before a decision can be made on entitlement to CA, evidence must be provided in respect of the carer’s habitual residence in the State, the level of care they provide, their means and also that the person being cared for has such a disability that they require full-time care and attention.

Carer's allowance reviews take place in a number of circumstances as follows:-

- If the decision on a new claim is negative the customer has the option of a review.

- Once claims are in payment, my Department undertakes periodic reviews as part of its control strategy to ensure that there is continued entitlement.

- A customer can at any stage request a review of their entitlement.

As outlined above, a wide range of reviews are carried out arising from customer requests, together with reviews undertaken by the Department. I am advised that numbers are not readily available with respect to reviews of claims conducted at the request of customers however I can advise the Deputy that:

- 2,905 control reviews were completed in 2018 yielding control savings of some €12.5m.

- 2,914 control reviews were completed to the end of September 2019 yielding control savings of some €15.3m.

I am also advised that while the Department records the number of control reviews undertaking and the saving achieve it does not keep a record of the number who receive increased , decreased or remain unchanged.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.