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Social Welfare Benefits

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 6 October 2011

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Ceisteanna (93, 94)

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

94 Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding a back to school clothing and footwear allowance in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 13; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28006/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Social Protection)

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) scheme operates from the beginning of June until the end of September each year.

Departmental records show that no application form was received from the person concerned. A duplicate application form has been forwarded to the person concerned which he should complete and return immediately to Department of Social Protection at PO Box 131 Letterkenny, Co. Donegal in order that his entitlements under the BSCFA scheme can be examined.

Peter Mathews

Ceist:

95 Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding prepaid debit cards; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28010/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The range of payment options currently offered by the Department to pay customers includes electronic information transfer (EIT) through the post office network, electronic fund transfer (EFT) to the customer's account at a bank, building society or certain credit unions that have been authorised by the banking and credit union regulators. Cheque payments are also provided.

Government policy aims to facilitate the greater use of electronic payment systems in the economy in the interests of developing a modern payments environment in Ireland. This would ultimately reduce the amount of cash required in the economy and would reduce overhead costs borne in the first instance by retailers, such as insurance. In this regard we are currently developing a new Payments Strategy to enable the Department to continue to modernise the payment of welfare benefits in line with wider Government policies such as the National Payment Strategy.

As part of the development of this strategy, my Department issued a request for information (RFI) and received information on potential alternative payment solutions from a large range of companies and agencies. The options included prepaid debit cards and other card options as well as payment by EFT or by mobile phone, so called m-payments. The efficiency and costs associated with various payment channels are being considered as part of this process and will inform the development of the strategy. The strategy also takes into account international developments in delivering welfare payments and the need for good and effective controls. I expect to publish the strategy by the end of this year.

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