Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (343, 344)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

343. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of comprehensive reviews of the welfare support claims of staff of a company (details supplied) currently being undertaken by her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2501/21]

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Louise O'Reilly

Question:

344. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Social Protection if a new review of the welfare support claims of the staff of a company (details supplied) is currently being undertaken by her Department. [2502/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 343 and 344 together.

A review team has been set up in my Department to review claims from employees of the company concerned for the period between March and end-August when the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme was in payment. The Department is reviewing 2,668 claims for a jobseeker's payment and is writing to the individual employees requesting that they contact their employer for the information that is required to complete the review. The employer is required to complete a UP38 form in respect of the employee, providing details for each day in the review period on whether the employee was employed/remunerated.

Entitlement to a casual jobseeker's or short-time work support payment for any day during the review period depends, among other things, on whether or not a person received remuneration from their employer, including TWSS, for that day. Each case needs to be examined individually to determine if the remuneration paid by the company concerned was in respect of a complete period or only specific days within a period. This will determine if a person may be entitled to a casual jobseeker's payment in respect of the days on which a person did not work and were not remunerated.

My Department has continued to engage with the company and has also made an arrangement with the company that, if my Department asks its employees for particular information, the company is aware of what is required and will immediately supply it to the employee via email.

Unfortunately, because of the volume and complexity of claims involved and the need to go back to individuals, the process will take some time.

My staff are committed to keep processing these claims until a decision is reached on each one and is working to complete the reviews as quickly as possible. A response will issue to each individual applicant advising them of the decision on their claim. The letter will also provide details of the Appeals process if a person is dissatisfied with the decision and wants to seek a review by the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

It should be noted that all of the cases under review are currently in payment and, as only the March to August period when TWSS was in operation is under review, current payments should not be affected.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.