Youth Services Funding

Ceisteanna (191)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

191. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 270 to 272, inclusive, of 31 May 2017, the allocation of expenditure to the various youth work programmes and schemes in 2018 in tabular form. [21551/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Budget 2018 provided an additional €1.5m in current funding to my Department to support the provision of these youth services. This will bring total current youth funding in 2018 to €58.9m. This additional funding has been used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people. The following table shows the 2018 allocations, broken down by funding line:

Fund

2018

Special Projects for Youth

€14,714,217

Young People's Facilities and Services Fund (Round 1)

€5,735,599

Young People's Facilities and Services Fund (Round 2)

€13,515,056

Local Drugs Task Force Projects

€1,218,639

Revised Youth Funding Scheme

€2,661,826

Targeted funds total

€37,845,337

Youth Information Centres

€1,377,060

Youth Service Grant Scheme

€10,658,170

Local Youth Club Grant Scheme

€2,313,924

Youth Officer Allocation and Technical Assistance

€3,620,092

LGBTI+ Youth Strategy

€400,000

Other National Youth Organisations and Youth Initiatives

€1,742,210

DCYA Policy and Support Programmes

€513,207

New Initiatives and other funding streams within Department

€425,000

Total

€58,895,000

Family Resource Centres

Ceisteanna (192)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

192. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the reason Dublin 12 was overlooked for the provision of a family resource centre (details supplied). [21566/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency is responsible for the administration of the Family Resource Centre Programme.

Family Resource Centres are independent voluntary organisations that deliver universal services to families in local communities, based on a life-cycle approach. The centres seek to combat disadvantage and to provide a wide range of family supports.

In Budget 2018, I secured an additional €3.0m for Tusla to support the Family Resource Centre Programme. The additional funding provided is being used to support existing Family Resource Centres, and also provides for expansion of the Programme with the inclusion of 11 new centres, which means that 120 centres will be operational by the end of 2018.

A high volume of applications were submitted to Tusla, who carried out an assessment process. One of these was from an organisation in the Dublin 12 area. Tusla was faced with a difficult decision making process in selecting eleven new centres for inclusion in the programme, having regard to its selection criteria. The assessment included consultation with Tusla staff in operational and regional roles, and with Children and Young People's Services Committees around the country.

Tusla has advised me that the quality of applications received was of a very high standard. The methodology and criteria considered in selecting the locations of the 11 new family resource centres included the size and make-up of the geographical area; the social and economic conditions of the specified area; and the overall population breakdown of the area that would be serviced by the centre. The criteria also considered the structure of the organisation(s) applying to the Programme; their objectives, targets, and current relationships with other organisations; and the inclusion of available research, community projects, and needs assessments with the application.

Tusla is acutely aware of the level of need in certain areas, and is actively working to improve outcomes for children and young people. Through its commissioning approach, Tusla plans to deliver, and is already delivering, services in an efficient, equitable and sustainable manner.

It is important that the needs of children and families are met in the best way possible, particularly in areas of disadvantage. I will continue to support the work of Family Resource Centres and family support services throughout the country.

Child and Family Agency Funding

Ceisteanna (193)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

193. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she is satisfied that Tusla is adequately resourced to deal with its workload in view of the recent introduction of mandatory reporting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21591/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I was pleased to secure an additional €40.6 million for Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, in 2018. This is the third year in succession that Tusla has received a significant increase in its funding, which now amounts to over €753m.

I strongly support the work of Tusla, and I am committed to supporting the Agency in meeting the needs of all children and families.

The extra resources secured for Tusla in 2018 will assist in meeting key priorities. The additional investment will allow Tusla to recruit a range of additional staff to respond to areas of identified risk, and to meet increased demand for services, including an anticipated increase in referrals following the introduction of mandatory reporting.

This increase in funding is also enabling the further management of unallocated cases. In addition, Tusla is in the process of recruiting more administrative staff to support social workers in their child protection duties.

In 2018, funding is also being used to establish a single national out-of-hours social work service, building on significant progress made in recent years in strengthening this service. The extra resources will also support enhanced collaboration with An Garda Síochána, additional on-call social work capacity and a new out-of-hours support service for foster carers.

I have requested Tusla to develop a robust workforce plan which addresses succession planning, retention, career pathways, training and development, future workforce needs, priority gaps and a strategy for tackling the priority gaps. The workforce plan will be a key part of dealing with a rise in referrals due to mandatory reporting, and in helping to reduce unallocated cases.

I believe that the level of Exchequer funding of over €753m in 2018 provides Tusla with resources to significantly increase its capacity to respond to areas of identified risk and anticipated demand.

The introduction of mandated reporting will no doubt bring challenges, but the resources to help Tusla deal with these challenges are in place. Tusla can, I believe, progress a number of key service developments which will ensure better outcomes for vulnerable children, and families, who need our services and support.

Affordable Childcare Scheme Implementation

Ceisteanna (194)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

194. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the status of the implementation of the affordable childcare scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21592/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I thank the Deputy. I would be delighted to update her on positive progress my department is making in developing the new Affordable Childcare Scheme.

Officials from my Department, along with colleagues in Pobal, have been working hard to develop the legal, technical and administrative infrastructure for the new Affordable Childcare Scheme. This scheme will provide financial support for parents, establish a sustainable platform for investment in the childcare sector for decades to come and- crucially- allow us to continue to invest in giving our children the best start in life.

As you know, the Childcare Support Bill passed all stages in the Dáil in the first quarter of this year. I was delighted with the positive, cross party support it received and want to thank everyone for their valuable input. The Bill has now completed Committee Stage in the Seanad and will commence Report Stage this Thursday (17/05) so we are hopeful that this stage will be completed over the coming weeks.

Intensive work is also ongoing on the drafting of supporting regulations for the scheme and on regulations to provide, for the first time, for the registration of school-age childcare providers. The latter regulations will ensure that all school-age childcare services are registered with Tusla prior to the introduction of the Affordable Childcare Scheme and can participate in the scheme from the outset.

The IT infrastructure that supports the scheme is making good progress. In January I published a Request for Tenders for the development of a new IT system and an evaluation of tenders received is currently coming to a conclusion. As stated before, the introduction of the scheme is dependent on this new IT system. As such, as soon as a contract is awarded to a successful bidder and a timeframe agreed for the completion of the system, I hope to be in a position to confirm and communicate an official launch date for the Affordable Childcare Scheme.

Work is also progressing well on the administrative and communication elements of the scheme. Specialist expertise has been procured to support the detailed development of a robust governance framework for the scheme. A high-level Communications and Engagement Strategy was published in February and a training needs analysis is underway at present. Both of these provide the starting point for significant work in preparing timely and user-friendly information, resources and supports for parents, providers and other stakeholders.

In tandem with the development of these resources, I am also committed to ongoing consultation and engagement with all stakeholders in the run-up to the introduction of the scheme.

The Affordable Childcare Scheme is ambitious in scale and complex in its design but I am delighted that we are achieving our milestones in its development and confident of the lasting impact it will have once launched. This is a system which will underpin the technical and legal infrastructure of childcare for many years to come.

In order to fast-track some of the benefits of the new scheme, last September I introduced a series of measures to make childcare more affordable for Irish families. I am delighted to report that take up of these measures has exceeded all of our targets. The new universal subsidy, worth up to €1,040 per year for children under three in registered childcare is now benefitting the families of more than 36,000 children, while almost 40,000 children that will benefit most from enhanced supports are receiving up to €145 per week towards the cost of their childcare.

I have confirmed that these supports will remain in place until the Affordable Childcare Scheme goes live.

Family Resource Centres

Ceisteanna (195)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

195. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of family resource centres; and her plans to roll out more centres. [21593/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Family support is an important priority for me, and the increased level of funding for Family Resource Centres in 2018 reflects this.

Family Resource Centres are front-line services rooted in the communities they serve. Acting as a focal point within their communities, Family Resource Centres provide a holistic service of child, family and community support and advocacy to all children and families in their communities.

At the end of 2017, there were 109 Family Resource Centres in receipt of funding from Tusla. In 2018, Tusla was provided with additional funding of €1.76m to expand the programme with the inclusion of 11 additional centres, bringing the total number of Family Resource Centres to 120. The 11 new centres will be operational before the end of 2018.

Existing Family Resource Centres will also receive an increase of up to €10,000 in funding this year.

Funding for Family Resource Centres differs, depending on a range of factors, including:

- the size and population of the catchment area,

- the degree of economic disadvantage in the area, and

- the existing distribution of services in the area.

Decisions with regard to funding levels in 2019 will be taken in the context of the Estimates process. It is not possible at this stage to advise on what level of funding will be available to the Family Resource Centre Programme next year.

I am pleased to have been in a position to support the work of Family Resource Centres this year through the targeting of additional resources to services that will impact positively on vulnerable children and families.

Social Workers Recruitment

Ceisteanna (196)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

196. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans with regard to recruiting more social workers. [21594/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I acknowledge that the recruitment and retention of social workers is one of the biggest challenges for Tusla, with only 200-250 graduating per year in a very competitive labour market.

I am fully supportive of Tusla’s proactive approach to recruiting, supporting and retaining staff across all grades. In support of this I have provided for a significant increase in Tusla’s funding allocation with an increase of €40.6m in 2018 and a total increase of €144m since its establishment in 2014. Given this level of funding, Tusla expects to increase its total workforce by approximately 422 in 2018 resulting in a total workforce of 4118 whole time equivalents (WTE) by the end of the year.

Given the current limited availability of social work graduates, Tusla expects at least 45 of these staff to be additional social workers. There will also be proactive recruitment of grades such as social care and clerical administration staff to support social workers to ensure that they can focus on their core tasks.

To support Tusla’s ambitious recruitment targets it launched its 2018 graduate recruitment campaign last September. This campaign is currently open for applications with interviews expected to commence in May/June 2018. The campaign included Northern Ireland and Scotland. Continuing Tusla Recruit’s proactive approach of previous years all campuses were visited and over 200 students registered their interest. Tusla Recruit maintains on-going communications with the registered students and partners them through the application and CORU registration process with a view to making Tusla an employer of choice.

Tusla also has an on-going rolling campaign to attract existing social workers who have a particular interest in working in child protection. This campaign is also designed to appeal to social workers who may currently be living abroad and wish to return to or move to Ireland.

I have also asked Tusla to develop a Multi-annual Strategic Workforce Plan for 2019 and beyond to identify the future composition of Tusla’s workforce with regard to delivering on Tusla’s priorities. I expect the Plan to encompass a range of activities aimed at addressing Tusla’s short, medium and long term needs and to manage the current challenges Tusla faces recruiting social workers. The Plan will also form the basis of engaging with key stakeholders such as the education sector to ensure a sustainable supply of social workers in the future.

Early Childhood Care and Education Expenditure

Ceisteanna (197)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

197. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the full year cost of increasing the ECCE capitation grant by 10%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21632/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme operates over a 38 week programme year from the beginning of September to the end of June. Currently, to deliver this programme, pre-school providers receive a standard capitation of €64.50 per child per week. If a provider has been approved for higher capitation the weekly capitation payment increases to €75 per child. Higher Capitation is paid for individual ECCE sessions where the ECCE Room leader holds the appropriate qualification.

The ECCE capitation paid to pre-school providers will increase by 7% in September 2018. This increase will result in the following:

- Standard capitation rate increasing from €64.50 to €69

- Higher capitation rate increasing from €75 to €80.25

It is estimated that approximately 114,000 children will be registered for the 2018/19 programme year.

If the ECCE capitation rates were increased by a further 10%, the standard rate would increase to €75.90 and the higher rate would increase to €88.28.

Assuming 114,000 registrations (with all children taking their full time entitlement) and no change to the current breakdown between standard and higher rate capitation rates , the full cost of the ECCE Programme, with a 10% increase in capitation, would be an additional €32m - bringing the full year cost to €355.5m in 2018/19.

Community Childcare Subvention Programme

Ceisteanna (198)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

198. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the full year cost of increasing the affordable childcare subsidy for children under three years of age by €1 per hour; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21633/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I am replying to the Deputy on the understanding that he is referring to the Community Childcare Subvention (Universal) Scheme (CCSU).

In September 2017, as part of Government policy to make childcare more affordable, I introduced a universal childcare subvention payment of up to €20 per week for families using eligible childcare providers for the care of children aged from 6 months to the first eligible point of entry to the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme.

The maximum weekly universal childcare subsidy is €20. CCSU subsidies are currently paid according to session type, i.e. full-time, part-time, sessional, half-sessional. The maximum weekly universal subsidy rate of €20 is paid on a pro-rata basis according to session type and is not paid on an hourly basis. Please see the following table for a breakdown of the rates pre session type.

Table 1: Universal Subsidy (CCSU) rates

UCS Session Type

Weekly Subsidy

Full-time (i.e. 5 hours plus per day)

€20

Part-time (i.e. 3 hours 31 mins to 5 hours per day)

€10

Sessional (i.e. 2 hours 16 mins to 3 hours 30 mins per day)

€7

Half-sessional (i.e. 1 hour 15 mins to 2 hours 15 mins per day)

€3.50

The subsidy-rates according to session type are based on a rate of 50 cents per hour, allocated pro rata depending on the number of hours per week the child attends a childcare service. The maximum rate of €20 per week - for full-time childcare - is based on 40 hours of childcare per week.

On the basis of the number of children availing of the universal payment across all session types in the week ending April 30 2018, assuming no change in demand, the table below shows estimates of the full year cost of CCSU at the current rate of 50 cent per hour and the projected full year cost of CCSU if increased by €1 per hour to €1.50 per hour. It should be stressed that the projected full-year cost of €51.3m is based on an assumption that the demand for childcare would not change in response to the increase in the universal subsidy. If the increased subsidy were to lead to an increase in the demand for childcare, then the cost of the measure would rise accordingly.

Table 2: Projected cost of CCSU

Full year cost of CCSU at 50c per hour

Full year cost of CCSU at €1.50 per hour

€17,085,831

€51,257,493

Scheme to Support National Organisations

Ceisteanna (199)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

199. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the status of the consultation on the future direction of the scheme to support national organisations; when the consultation process will be finalised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21563/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO) has a primary focus on the provision of core funding to national organisations that demonstrate good governance and deliver services and supports that have a focus on one or more of the following: addressing poverty, social exclusion and promoting equality. The current scheme is due to close in 2019 and my Department has invited submissions on the future direction of the SSNO from participants and other stakeholders.

This invitation was circulated on 1 May 2018 and stakeholders were informed that completed written submissions should be returned to my Department on or before 5pm, 31 May 2018. Submissions received will be taken into consideration in the design of the next iteration of the scheme.

Other key considerations in the re-design will be my Department’s Strategic Goals as set out in its Statement of Strategy 2017-2020 and the Government's policy objectives as outlined in Our Communities: A Framework Policy for Local and Community Development in Ireland (2015).

Charities Regulation

Ceisteanna (200)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

200. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development the number of appeals heard by the Charity Appeals Tribunal to date; the status of the outcome of the appeals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21564/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

Section 75 (1) of the Charities Act 2009 provides for the establishment of the Charities Appeal Tribunal. The role of the Charity Appeals Tribunal is to hear and adjudicate on appeals against certain decisions of the Charities Regulatory Authority (the ‘Charities Regulator’).

I have recently consented to the making of the rules for the Appeals Tribunal to conduct future appeals. I am advised that the Chairperson of the Appeal Tribunal is satisfied with same and it is anticipated that he will formally sign off on these Rules shortly.

The Tribunal will be required as far as practicable to ensure that appeals are dealt with and determined expeditiously. My Department estimates that there will be a small number of appeals made to the Tribunal annually.

Ministerial Meetings

Ceisteanna (201)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

201. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has recently met with her UK counterpart; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21504/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I met with the UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Right Honourable Esther McVey, on Monday 23 April 2018.

My key area of concern is the impact of Brexit on the current reciprocal arrangements for social insurance and social assistance schemes and child benefit between Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland. The importance of maintaining the Common Travel Area was acknowledged in Prime Minister May’s letter of 29 March 2017 triggering Article 50 of the TEU, in the Joint EU/UK Progress report agreed at the European Council on 15 December 2017 and it is reflected in the protocol to the draft Withdrawal Agreement published by the Commission on 28 February 2018.

At that meeting, I emphasised my objective to ensure that the reciprocity of civic rights and social welfare rights and entitlements, which currently exist for Irish and UK citizens moving within Ireland and between Ireland and Britain under the Common Travel Area, are safeguarded and maintained.

It was a very positive meeting. I am happy that we have a broad agreement to preserve the status quo in the field of social security for both Irish and UK citizens moving within the Common Travel Area.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Applications

Ceisteanna (202)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

202. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a carer's and domiciliary care allowance will be awarded to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21514/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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 person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

Domiciliary care allowance (DCA) is a monthly payment for a child aged less than 16 years of age, with a severe disability, who requires ongoing care and attention, substantially over and above the care and attention usually required by a child of the same age. It is not means tested.

CA can only be paid in respect of children aged less than 16 years where domiciliary care allowance (DCA) is being paid in respect of the child.

I confirm that my department received an application for CA and DCA from the person concerned on the 24 April 2018.

DCA applications received in early March 2018 are currently being finalised. This application will be considered by a deciding officer and the decision notified to her as soon as possible.

Once a decision is made on the entitlement to DCA, a deciding officer can proceed to examine the entitlement to CA. Once processed, the person concerned will be notified of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (203)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

203. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when arrears in respect of a carer's allowance will issue to a person (details supplied) in view of the fact the payment was first awarded on 12 April 2017; and if the details of same will be provided. [21532/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar 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 person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

CA was awarded to the person concerned from 20 April 2017 and the first payment issued to his nominated bank account on 20 April 2017. The person concerned was notified of these details on 12 April 2017.

Carer’s Allowance cannot be paid to more than one person in respect of any period. As CA was in payment to another person, in respect of the care recipient involved, up to 19 April 2017, there are no arrears of CA due in this case.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Allowance Data

Ceisteanna (204, 205)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

204. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons under 26 years of age on rates of jobseeker’s allowance of €198.00, €152.80 and €107.70 in tabular form. [21555/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

205. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons under 26 years of age on rates of jobseeker’s allowance other than €198.00, €152.80 and €107.70 in tabular form. [21556/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 204 and 205 together.

The Deputy should note that all recipients of Jobseeker’s Allowance aged from 18 to 24 have a personal rate of €107.70, except for people in the following categories (who qualify for a non-age-reduced personal rate of €198.00):

- People with dependent children;

- People transferring from Disability Allowance to Jobseeker’s Allowance;

- People who were in the care of the Child and Family Agency during the 12 months before reaching 18.

Similarly, all recipients of Jobseeker’s Allowance aged from 25 have a personal rate of €152.80, except for people in the following categories (who qualify for a non-age-reduced personal rate of €198.00):

- People with dependent children;

- People transferring from Disability Allowance to Jobseeker’s Allowance.

This means that the only three possible personal payment rates for Jobseeker’s Allowance recipients are those referred to in the Deputy’s questions – that is, €198.00, €152.80 and €107.70.

Some of these recipients may receive reduced personal payments in a particular week or weeks, due to the impact of means and/or the application of penalty rates, but these reductions do not change the underlying personal rate of payment to which the recipient is entitled.

Accordingly, the attached tabular statement shows the numbers of Jobseeker’s Allowance recipients aged 18 to 25 on the Live Register at end-April by year of age and by personal payment rate (€198.00, €152.80 and €107.70).

Table 1 - Number of Jobseeker's Allowance recipients (on Live Register) by year of age and maximum personal weekly rate of payment (€)

Weekly payment rate

Weekly payment rate

Weekly payment rate

Recipients of age

€107.70

€152.80

€198.00

18

1,539

61

19

2,331

182

20

2,353

283

21

2,239

382

22

2,014

461

23

1,928

561

24

1,690

9

648

25

1

2,010

785

Total

14,095

2,019

3,363

Jobseeker's Allowance Expenditure

Ceisteanna (206, 207, 208)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

206. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the expenditure required in a full financial year to restore persons under 26 years of age on the reduced rate of jobseeker’s allowance to the full weekly rate of €198. [21557/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

207. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the expenditure required in a full financial year to increase the jobseeker’s allowance payment for persons under 26 years of age on the €152.80 rate to €170.40 per week. [21558/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

208. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the expenditure required in a full financial year to increase the jobseeker’s allowance payment for persons under 26 years of age on the €107.70 rate to €150.35 per week. [21559/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 206 to 208, inclusive, together.

The main social welfare schemes for people who are unemployed are the jobseeker’s allowance and jobseeker’s benefit schemes which provide income support for people who have lost work and are unable to find alternative full-time employment. The 2018 Estimates for my Department provide for expenditure this year on the jobseekers’ schemes of €2.17 billion.

In line with other EU and OECD jurisdictions where such measures feature, reduced rates for younger jobseeker’s allowance recipients were first introduced in 2009 and extended to those under 26 in Budget 2014. Lower weekly rates for younger jobseeker’s allowance recipients were introduced to protect young people from welfare dependency by providing them with a strong financial incentive to engage in education or training or to take up employment. Where a young jobseeker participates on an education or training programme they will receive a higher weekly payment of €198 which is the maximum personal rate for jobseeker’s allowance.

The reduced rates of jobseekers allowance do not apply to 18 -25 year olds with a qualified child, those making a claim for jobseekers allowance where that claim is linked to a jobseekers allowance claim made within the previous 12 months to which the maximum personal rate applied, those transferring directly from jobseekers allowance from disability allowance. The reduced rates also do not apply to 18-24 year olds who were in the care of the Child and Family Agency (TUSLA) during the period of 12 months before they reached the age of 18.

The total cost of expenditure required in a full financial year to restore people under 26 years of age on the reduced rate of jobseekers allowance to the full weekly rate of €198 would be approximately €94 million. The total personal rate cost of increasing the jobseekers allowance payment for 25 year olds i.e. people under 26 years of age on the €152.80 weekly rate to €170.40 per week would be approximately €2.5 million. The total personal rate cost of increasing the jobseeker’s allowance payment for 18-24 year olds i.e. people under 26 years of age on the €107.70 weekly rate to €150.35 per week would be approximately €39 million. It should be noted that this estimate is subject to change over the coming months in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2018.

I have no plans for any further increases in rates at present and any such changes could only be considered in a budgetary context.

Working Family Payment Data

Ceisteanna (209)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

209. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 429 of 1 May 2018, the number of the 3,423 families in receipt of WFP in the public sector in each area, section or department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21587/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Working Family Payment (WFP) formerly known as Family Income Supplement (FIS) is a weekly tax-free payment which provides additional income support to employees on low earnings with children.

Based on Occupation Code data held by the Department, there are currently 3,422 families in receipt of WFP where the principal employed person is classified as a public servant, that is, in the civil or public service. The Department does not compile data in respect of WFP customers employed in the public and civil service by area, section or Department.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Eligibility

Ceisteanna (210)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

210. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 433 of 1 May 2018, the position in relation to the obligation of parents to retain receipts of evidence of expenditure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21613/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Social welfare legislation provides that where a person is medically certified as being unable to manage their own financial affairs, the Minister may appoint an agent who is responsible for collecting the person’s social welfare payment and acting on their behalf, with a duty to act in the best interests of the person. The agent may be a parent or other qualified person.

The appointed agent is responsible for ensuring that all payments received are used to the benefit of the person and in their best interest. They are also required, under the legislation, to keep a record of all transactions involving the monies received and produce these records when requested to do so by an officer of the Minister.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.