Tuesday, 1 February 2005

Ceisteanna (198, 199, 200, 201)

Michael Ring

Ceist:

198 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of persons who were in receipt of short-term social welfare payments in 2004. [2430/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Family)

I understand the Deputy is interested in the number of recipients of social welfare schemes under which the Christmas bonus is not payable. The requested information is contained in the following table, which details the number of persons in receipt of weekly short-term social welfare payments at the end of 2004 and to whom the Christmas bonus was not paid.

Scheme

Number in receipt of payment under the scheme on 31 December 2004

Disability Benefit

58,726

Injury Benefit

915

Interim Disability Benefit

316

Carer’s Benefit

679

Unemployment Benefit

57,699

Short-term Unemployment Assistance

20,605

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

29,748

Part-time Job Incentive

326

Family Income Supplement

14,727

Maternity Benefit

10,356

Health and Safety Benefit

21

Adoptive Benefit

26

Michael Ring

Ceist:

199 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason his Department is taking so long to award the carer’s allowance to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo. [2431/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The person concerned has been awarded carer's allowance with effect from 11 November 2004, at the maximum weekly personal rate of €139.60, increasing to €153.60 from 6 January 2005, together with a dependent child allowance of €8.40 per week. She has been notified of this decision. Carer's allowance personal payable order books are renewed on a six monthly basis. This process is under way. The carer's allowance book for the person concerned will issue with the bulk renewal of books on 17 February 2005. Any arrears of allowance due to her will issue shortly after.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

200 Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs if his attention has been drawn to the case of a person (details supplied); if his attention has been further drawn to the number of other immigrants who are in the same predicament; if he plans changes to the legislation to protect these workers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2432/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The supplementary welfare allowance scheme, which is administered on my behalf by the community welfare staff of the Health Service Executive, is one of a number of social assistance schemes which is subject to a habitual residence condition with effect from 1 May 2004. The effect of the condition is that a person whose habitual residence or "centre of interest" is deemed to be other than in this State or the common travel area has no entitlement to certain social welfare payments, including supplementary welfare allowance. A person's habitual residence for social welfare purposes is decided in accordance with European Court of Justice case law. The condition is not determined on the basis of citizenship, nationality, immigration status or any other extraneous factor.

The Dublin and north-east region of the Health Service Executive, which was contacted about this case, has advised that the person concerned was refused basic supplementary welfare allowance because he did not satisfy the habitual residency condition. He was advised of his right to appeal against the decision. Given his particular situation, a once-off exceptional needs cash payment was paid by the community welfare officer to the person concerned in respect of his basic needs and he was provided with emergency accommodation for a week. He has been advised that he has the option of being accommodated by the reception and integration agency of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform pending his return home. The question of a change in the terms under which work permits are issued to immigrant workers is a matter for consideration by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

David Stanton

Ceist:

201 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the criteria that will apply to carers who will receive the annual respite care grant and who are providing full-time care to a person who needs such care; the employment related conditions that will apply; when he will issue directions or guidelines in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2444/05]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The conditions for receipt of the extended respite care grant will be set out in the forthcoming Social Welfare Bill and regulations. As I set out in my speech at budget time, the carer must be providing full-time care to a person who is in need of such care. As with recipients of carer's allowance, a full-time carer must not be engaged in employment for more than ten hours per week. Those who are on unemployment payments will be excluded as they are required to be available for and actively seeking full-time work. Full details of the conditions for the receipt of the extended respite care grant will be widely publicised in advance of the payment date.