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Social Welfare Benefits

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 2 November 2011

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Ceisteanna (174, 175)

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

175 Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason the means assessed in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare in respect of their disability allowance payment was based on the same means for themselves and their spouse as previously in the determination of their payment in respect of jobseeker’s allowance in view of the fact that their entitlement to jobseeker’s allowance was considerably higher than their current entitlement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31999/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Social Protection)

The assessment of means for jobseeker's allowance and disability allowance is similar but for two exceptions, where farming is involved and capital disregards.

In this case the person concerned was means tested for jobseeker's allowance in 2009 using financial data supplied by the applicant at that time. A disability allowance means assessment took place in 2011 using the most up to date financial data supplied by the person concerned when he made his disability allowance application.

Details of the jobseeker's allowance means assessment carried out in 2009 has been requested and on receipt of this the disability allowance means assessment will be reviewed.

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

176 Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will outline in tabular form the cost to her in the past five years of providing back to school allowance for children aged two and three years; her plans to review the qualifying ages on the basis that these are non-school-going years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32003/11]

Amharc ar fhreagra

The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (BSCFA) scheme provides a one-off payment to eligible families to assist with the extra costs when their children start school each autumn. The allowance is not intended to meet the full cost of school clothing and footwear but only to provide assistance towards these costs.

The BSCFA scheme was introduced in 1990. This scheme superseded the arrangements which had been in place since 1977 whereby child clothing and footwear payments were made under the exceptional needs provisions of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) scheme. The SWA clothing and footwear scheme had in turn replaced a previous Public Assistance Footwear scheme that had been introduced in 1944.

These previous schemes had been targeted at both school and pre-school children from the age of two years up. When the BSCFA scheme was introduced, the provision to pay the allowance to children from the age of two years up was retained.

At the end of this year's BSCFA scheme a review will be undertaken of all aspects of the operation of the scheme, including eligibility criteria. The following tabular statement shows the breakdown of children aged two and three years of age that benefited from the scheme between 2006 and 2010 and the associated cost.

Tabular Statement BSCFA Recipients 2 and 3 Year olds 2006 to 2010

BSCFA Recipient numbers aged 2 and 3 years

Year

Numbers

Cost

2010

39,800

€7,960,000

2009

34,071

€6,814,200

2008

24,633

€4,926,600

2007

22,017

€4,403,400

2006

21,215

€4,243,000

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