Question No. 184 answered with Question No. 180.

Children in Care

Question No. 186 answered with Question No. 179.

Ceisteanna (185)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

185. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the number of children in residential care, foster care or other care facilities; the extent to which the numbers have fluctuated in recent years; her views on whether a specific response is warranted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25865/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I can inform the Deputy that according to Tusla’s most recent data (February 2018), there are a total of 6,161 children in care. Of these cases, 4,037 (65.5%) are in are in general foster care; 1,646 (26.7%) are in foster care with a relative; 357 (6%) are in residential care; and 121 (2%) are in other care facilities, e.g. special care.

The following table will provide an insight into annual fluctuations of children in care over the last three years:

Number of Children in Care

Feb 2016

Feb 2017

Feb 2018

General

4,100

4,127

4,037

Relative

1,832

1,807

1,646

Residential

331

351

357

Other

125

113

121

Total

6,388

6,398

6,161

I, and my officials, continue to engage directly with the Tusla Board and Senior Management Team to monitor and review the number of children in care.

Question No. 186 answered with Question No. 179.

Children in Care

Ceisteanna (187)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

187. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the extent to which her Department has received notification over the past two years of children or young adults being abused or at risk thereof in fosterage, residential or other care arrangements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25867/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

Tusla is the statutory body with responsibility for child protection and welfare in the State. I have written to Tusla to request the information to which the Deputy refers, and will revert once I have received a response.

Illegal Adoptions

Ceisteanna (188)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

188. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she has been assured that no illegal adoptions or placements of a permanent or temporary nature have taken place here in the past five years having particular regard to the need to protect against such activity; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25868/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

While there have been suspicions about the practice of illegal registrations for many years, it has been extremely difficult to uncover clear evidence of the practice because of the deliberate failure by those involved to keep records.  

Clear evidence has now been uncovered by Tusla in 126 cases of the former adoption society St Patrick’s Guild, and on 29th May I announced how these cases would be addressed.

In relation to whether such practices are still taking place, knowingly registering a birth incorrectly is an offence, and was an offence at the time of these Saint Patrick’s Guild (SPG) files.  By its very nature, the practice is covert and it would be impossible to confirm that no such activity has taken place in recent times.  What I can assure the Deputy is that where a State body receives evidence of illegal registrations, the necessary action, including engaging with an Garda Síochána, will be taken as quickly as possible.

The State has also safeguards in place in relation to adoption, including legislation enacted in 1952 to regulate adoption in the interests of children and their birth parents.  The Adoption Authority of Ireland is responsible for effecting adoptions in Ireland, and I have no reason to suspect that there are any recent concerns in this area.

Bullying of Children

Ceisteanna (189)

Mick Barry

Ceist:

189. Deputy Mick Barry asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs the way in which her Department responded to representations made to it regarding complaints of systematic bullying of young persons at a club (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25910/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

On the 28th February 2018 my Department received correspondence relating to a complaint of systematic bullying at a sports club. The correspondence was forwarded to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The complainant has been informed that the matter is being dealt with by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Community Services Programme Funding

Ceisteanna (190)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

190. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Rural and Community Development if he will meet with a delegation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25874/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Rural)

The Community Services Programme (CSP) supports some 400 community organisations to provide local services through a social enterprise model, with funding provided as a contribution to the cost of a manager and an agreed number of full-time equivalent positions.

The organisation concerned submitted a business plan to Pobal in March 2017 as part of the normal CSP Re-Contracting Process for 2018-2020.  The business plan did not satisfy CSP criteria and the organisation was awarded a one-year contract to end-December 2018.

The organisation may submit a revised business plan to Pobal as part of the re-contracting process for 2019-2020.  To this end, a business plan template was provided to the organisation in May 2018, with a completed business plan expected to be submitted to Pobal in July 2018.

Pobal will assess the business plan against CSP criteria and will forward a recommendation to my Department for decision thereafter. In the meantime, and in lieu of a meeting, I encourage the organisation to engage positively with Pobal during the re-contracting process to maximise the CSP funding available to the organisation.

Jobseeker's Benefit Appeals

Ceisteanna (191)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

191. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on a jobseeker's benefit claim by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25747/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer on 11th June 2018, who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme

Ceisteanna (192)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

192. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the back to work enterprise allowance scheme is available to persons (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25757/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) is designed to provide a monetary incentive for people who are on social welfare payments to develop a business while allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of their qualifying social welfare payment over two years; 100% in year 1 and 75% in year 2.

All Jobseekers, including those who were previously self-employed but became unemployed during the recession, can avail of the BTWEA once they are setting up a new enterprise that is tradeable and tangible and they have not availed of BTWEA within the past 5 years. My Department will be happy to assist any jobseeker who wishes to avail of this scheme. He or she can seek assistance by contacting their local Intreo office.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (193)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

193. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress to date in the determination of an application for invalidity pension in the case of a person (details supplied); when a decision will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25758/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Invalidity pension (IP) is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

The department received a claim for IP for the gentleman concerned on 16 February 2018. He was refused IP on the grounds that the medical conditions for the scheme were not satisfied. He was notified on the 07 June 2018 of this decision, the reasons for it and of his right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals Data

Ceisteanna (194)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

194. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of cases referred to appeal in each of the past three years to date; the number of cases granted on appeal and refused in the same period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25770/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The following table provide the details which have been requested by the Deputy for the years 2015 to 2017 and to the end of May 2018.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

All claim decisions taken by the Department’s deciding officers are appealable to the Chief Appeals Officer. In any year about 85% of all claims are awarded and just 1% are appealed.

The figures provided in the tables for appeals which had a favourable outcome for the appellant relate to appeals which were either allowed in full or in part by an Appeals Officer, or which were resolved by way of a revised decision in favour of the appellant by a Deciding Officer/Designated Person.

There are a number of reasons why a decision which was refused at first instance might be successful on appeal and it is not necessarily the case that the first decision was incorrect. It is often the case that new evidence is provided with an appeal and that, as a result, the original decision may be revised by the Deciding Officer or Designated Person. This was the case in 37.1% of favourable appeal outcomes in 2016 (5,100 cases), 37.6% of favourable appeal outcomes in 2017 (4,283 cases) and 34.7% of favourable appeals to date in 2018 (1,507 cases).

Where the decision was not revised by the Department in light of the appeal contentions, further evidence is often provided by the appellant as the appeal process proceeds and in addition, the Appeals Officer may gain insights when they meet the appellant in person at oral hearing which may influence the outcome of the appeal.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Appeal Receipts and Outcome Decisions of Appeals Finalised 2015 – 2018

Year

Appeal Receipts

Appeals Finalised

Favourable Decisions

Appeals Disallowed

Withdrawn

2015

24,475

25,406

14,946

9,167

1,293

2016

22,461

23,220

13,754

8,336

1,130

2017

19,658

18,980

11,405

6,434

1,141

2018 (to 31/5//2018)

7,566

7,562

4,346

2,781

435

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme

Ceisteanna (195)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

195. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans regarding the continuation of the income tax relief on the back to work enterprise allowance; the number who have benefitted from the scheme in the past three years; the number that are on the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25779/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) is designed to provide a monetary incentive for people who are on social welfare payments to develop a business while allowing them to retain a reducing proportion of their qualifying social welfare payment over two years; 100% in year 1 and 75% in year 2. At the end May 2018, there were 8,300 participants on the BTWEA scheme.

Questions on the application of income tax relief, such as the Start Your Own Business Relief scheme, should be directed to my colleague, the Minister for Finance Public Expenditure and Reform.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory) Appeals

Ceisteanna (196)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

196. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress to date in the determination of an appeal for an increase in the rate of allowance for a qualified adult in respect of the State pension (contributory) in the case of persons (details supplied); if an oral hearing will be accommodated in this instance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25792/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 26th April 2018. It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. When these papers have been received from the Department, the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing.

The Social Welfare Appeals Office functions independently of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and of the Department and is responsible for determining appeals against decisions in relation to social welfare entitlements.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

JobPath Data

Ceisteanna (197)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

197. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in the JobPath programme on 8 June 2018 by the number in Seetec and those in Turas Nua, respectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25809/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

As the Deputy will be aware, JobPath is an employment service which helps long-term unemployed people and those most at risk of becoming long-term unemployed to secure and sustain paid employment.

On the 8th of June 2018, there were 59,495 jobseekers in receipt of activation support through the JobPath service; 33,000 were engaged with Seetec, and 26,495 were engaged with Turas Nua.

Exceptional Needs Payment Applications

Ceisteanna (198)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

198. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the refusal to award an exceptional needs payment in the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; if the matter will be urgently investigated with a view to addressing at early date; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25820/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned made an application for an Exceptional Needs Payment for assistance with insufficient funds and travel costs. The application was refused on the 15/5/2018 as the person’s means are in excess of the Supplementary Welfare Allowance rate.

The request for a review has been acknowledged and the process has been initiated.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Workplace Relations Services

Ceisteanna (199)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

199. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a reply has not issued from the Workplace Relations Commission to a person (details supplied); when a reply will issue; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25821/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

While responsibility for employment rights policy and legislation transferred to my Department pursuant to the transfer of functions that took effect in September 2017, responsibility for the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), the statutory authority responsible for ensuring compliance with employment rights legislation, did not transfer across. The WRC continues to operate under the aegis of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Accordingly, I have referred the Deputy’s question to the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation for her attention.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance Scheme

Ceisteanna (200)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

200. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the processing times for the back to work enterprise allowance in Dublin 15; and if a delay exists, the measures that will be put in place for the timely processing of applications. [25826/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) applicants are required to produce a business plan as part of the application process so that the viability of the new business can be considered. The length of time it takes to prepare a business plan can vary from case to case depending on the nature and complexity of the proposed enterprise.

Regarding the processing time for BTWEA applications in Dublin 15, all claims for BTWEA are awarded within a week of the proposed start date of the new business. For claims that are disallowed, the customer is issued with a disallowance within one week of the receipt of the application. It is open to the customer to request a review if they are dissatisfied with the decision.

Where a customer proposes to start their business on a particular date, staff approve the claim a week before the proposed start date so that the customer receives their primary payment up to commencement of the BTWEA allowance.

There is currently no delay in the Dublin 15 area and all applications are dealt with in a timely fashion.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Ceisteanna (201)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

201. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the budget for the reasonable accommodation fund; and the spend and the underspend in the fund in 2016, 2017 and to date in 2018. [25834/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The reasonable accommodation fund assists employers to take appropriate measures to enable a person with a disability/impairment to have access to employment by providing a range of grants. These grants and supports include the workplace equipment adaptation grant, the personal reader grant, the job interview interpreter grant and the employee retention grant.

The purpose of the scheme is to assist unemployed people with disabilities to gain access to the open labour market by providing grants for “reasonable accommodations” in the private sector and to support private sector employers in the employment of people with disabilities.

The reasonable accommodation fund is a demand-led scheme in that expenditure arises in response to eligible so the question of an underspend does not apply. The actual expenditure on the components is set out in the following table:

Table: Expenditure on the Reasonable Accommodation Fund for People with Disabilities

Year

2016

2017

2018 (May)

Workplace equipment and adaptation grant

€54,041

€69,254

€49,750

Personal reader grant

€16,537

€31,619

€3,932

Job interview interpreter grant

€7,244

€5,714

€1,327

Employee retention grant

€0

€0

€0

Total

€77,822

€106,587

€55,009

I hope this clarifies the issue for the Deputy.

Data Protection

Ceisteanna (202)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

202. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the steps she took in the context of GDPR to ensure her Department's transfer of personal data of persons to Seetec and Turas Nua was compliant with GDPR rules; if she has had engagement with JobPath operators on the way in which they are compliant with GDPR rules in the context of processing and storing personal data of persons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25845/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department collects and holds large volumes of personal data on customers and is very aware of the need to have adequate data protection policies, procedures and structures in place in line with the GDPR. Preparations for the GDPR have been overseen by the Department’s Data Management Programme Board. The Department has a dedicated GDPR implementation team in place and has commissioned external expertise to assist it with achieving GDPR compliance.

All contracted providers of Activation services act on behalf of the Department for the purpose of delivering these services and are subject to strict obligations imposed by the Department in terms of data protection.

The purpose of sharing information is to assist in the development of tailored plans for individual jobseekers in order to support them back into paid employment.

JobPath providers are contractually required to register with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. Data protection legislation requires that personal data shall be kept only for one or more specified and lawful purposes and that personal data shall be used and disclosed only in ways compatible with these purposes. The legislation also requires that the data should be adequate, relevant and not excessive. Any suspected breach of the data protection legislation will be investigated by the Department and may also be a matter for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. JobPath providers may use jobseekers’ data only for the purposes of delivering employment services for the Department.

My Department has regular meetings with both JobPath providers to ensure that they are fulfilling their contractual obligations including those concerned with data protection compliance. Both companies have undertaken regular independent audits of their data processes and procedures as part of these contractual obligations, in addition, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner has recently conducted audits of each company. Employees of both companies, and their subcontractors, are subject to the same data protection laws as Departmental staff.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (203)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

203. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25873/18]

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.

It is a condition for receipt of CA that every claimant shall furnish such certificates, documents, information and evidence as may be required for the purposes of deciding their claim. It is also a condition for receipt of a CA that the person being cared for must have a disability whose effect is that they require full-time care and attention.

This is defined as requiring from another person, continual supervision and frequent assistance throughout the day in connection with normal bodily functions or continuous supervision in order to avoid danger to him or herself and likely to require that level of care for at least twelve months.

I confirm that the department received an application for CA from the person concerned on 23 January 2018. The evidence submitted in support of this application was examined and the deciding officer decided that this evidence did not indicate that the full-time care requirement was satisfied. In addition, she failed to furnish information requested by the deciding officer on 21 March 2018.

The person concerned was notified on 24 April 2018 of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of review and appeal.

A review of this decision was sought on 8 May 2018. The outcome of the review is that the original decision remains unchanged.

The person concerned was notified on 30 May 2018 of the outcome and of her right of appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Ceisteanna (204)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

204. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons between 18 to 25 years of age in receipt of jobseeker's benefit and allowance and signing for credits that are in the low, medium and high prediction of exit date categories; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25879/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am informed that at the end of May there were a total of 25,069 persons aged 18 to 25 years of age in receipt of jobseeker's benefit and allowance and signing for credits. A breakdown of this number by scheme and probability of exit (PEX) category is detailed in the following tabular statement.

Number of persons aged 18 to 25 years of age in receipt of jobseeker's benefit and allowance and signing for credits at the end of May 2018

PEX Category

Jobseekers Allowance

Jobseekers Benefit

Jobseekers Credits

Grand Total

Low

4,937

24

1

4,962

Medium

14,935

860

75

15,870

High

780

902

19

1,701

No Category

2,068

408

60

2,536

Grand Totals

22,720

2,194

155

25,069

Jobseeker's Allowance Data

Ceisteanna (205, 206)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

205. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing the weekly payment to young persons 25 years of age on the €152.80 rate of jobseeker's allowance by €22.60 to €175.40 per week; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25880/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

206. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing the weekly payment to young persons 18 to 24 years of age on the €107.70 rate of jobseeker's allowance by €45.15 to €152.85 per week; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25881/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 205 and 206 together.

The full year cost of increasing the jobseeker’s allowance payment for 25 year olds on the €152.80 weekly rate by €22.60 to €175.40 per week is €3.17 million in 2019.

The full year cost of increasing the jobseeker’s allowance payment for 18-24 year olds on the €107.70 weekly rate by €45.15 to €152.85 per week is €37.3 million in 2019. This includes the cost of increasing the weekly €107.70 rate for the relevant qualified adults up to €131.40 per week.

It should be noted that these estimated costs are subject to change over the coming months in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2019.

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 the higher weekly rate of €198 which is the maximum personal rate for jobseeker’s allowance.

The reduced rates of jobseeker’s allowance do not apply in various circumstances, such as in cases where the jobseeker has a qualified child or for 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 appropriate rate of all weekly social welfare payments, including the rate for young jobseekers, will be considered by the Government in the context of budgetary deliberations.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Ceisteanna (207)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

207. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons who, as care leavers, were not subject to the reduced social welfare rates from 18 to 24 years of age but who are subject to the lower rate of €152.80 when they reach 25 years of age; the cost of extending the full adult rates to young persons of 25 years of age in this category; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25882/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

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. These measures were introduced to protect young people from welfare dependency by providing young jobseekers 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. In addition, recipients of jobseekers allowance under 26 years of age who have dependent children are not subject to the reduced rates.

Reduced rates also do not apply to people under 25 who were in the care of the State during the year prior to their 18th birthday. They are only subject to the age-related reduced rate of €152.80 per week when they reach 25 years of age. My Department does not have statistics available on the number of young people who, having left the care of the State are subject to the lower rate of €152.80 when they reach 25 years of age.

People who leave the care of the State and who inform my Department are dealt with on a case by case basis to ensure that they receive the rate of payment appropriate to their circumstances. My Department actively engages with Tusla and non-Government organisations in providing the necessary support to vulnerable young people leaving care who are experiencing homelessness or are in insecure situations.

Mortgage Arrears Information and Advice Service

Ceisteanna (208)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

208. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the future funding of the dedicated mortgage arrears service run by MABS when the current round of funding expires at the end of 2018; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25883/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), under the aegis of the Citizens Information Board, provides assistance to people, in particular those on low incomes or living on social welfare payments, who are over-indebted and need help and advice with debt problems. As part of its free services, MABS provides help and advice to those in mortgage arrears.

The role of MABS was expanded in 2015 with the establishment of a Dedicated Mortgage Arrears MABS service (DMA MABS) across the MABS network, to help people specifically with home mortgage arrears. Specialist DMA advisors are working across 27 locations countrywide, assisting borrowers to assess the options available to them and, where required, negotiating with lenders on their behalf. To date, the DMA service has helped over 5,400 such borrowers.

In 2018, over €2m has been allocated to the DMA service and its continued funding beyond 2018, will be considered in the in the context of the Citizens Information Board overall budgetary requirements for 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.