Social Welfare Fraud Data

Ceisteanna (798)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

798. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of allegations of social welfare fraud that were investigated in 2017 and 2018; the number of such allegations that were unfounded; the savings arising from allegations which were upheld; and the cost in staff hours of pursuing such cases. [29650/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Reports from members of the public on their suspicions of social welfare fraud or wrongdoing are an important element in my Department’s overall efforts to prevent and detect fraudulent activity.  Welfare fraud can be reported in a variety of ways. The  Department provides a dedicated service on its website to enable reports to be made.  A concerned member of the public can also write to the Department or telephone with information.

The Department is not able to make use of all the information it receives, for example where insufficient information is provided to identify a person or the person might not be in receipt of a social welfare payment.  In addition, there are many situations where the information provided about a person may not constitute fraud and may already be known or may be permitted under the terms of a particular scheme.

The number of allegations of social welfare fraud recorded as received in the Department in the years 2017 and 2018 and the number referred for investigation is set out in the following table.

TABLE: Reports of suspected social welfare fraud from members of the public received and referred for investigation 2017-2018

Year

Reports Received

Of reports received - number referred for investigation

2017

21,223

14,363

2018

14,822

9,791

Each report receives a preliminary examination for relevance and to identify the persons concerned and if they are in receipt of a social welfare payment.  Where a person can be identified and sufficient information is provided to warrant a further examination, the report is referred to the relevant scheme area in the Department, to a Social Welfare Inspector for further investigation or to the Special Investigations Unit for more serious allegations. 

A payment is not suspended or stopped on the basis of the report received – instead this happens when evidence of wrong-doing has been ascertained by the appropriate scheme area.  

All reports are received on an anonymous and confidential basis. The report received provides a ‘trigger’ for the instigation of a review of a specific entitlement and further investigation if that is considered to be warranted.  Given the hearsay nature of the reports, they are excluded from the statutory decision-making process and do not form part of any evidence when the case is considered.  Accordingly, I am advised that the Department does not track the outcome of the individual allegations of wrongdoing received. For this reason, the cost in staff hours cannot be disaggregated. These activities form part of the control work which is a core function of all officers of my Department.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (799)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

799. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29654/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I can confirm that my Department received an application for disability allowance (DA) from this gentleman on 5 April 2019. 

On 5 July 2019 the person concerned was requested to supply supporting documentation required by the deciding officer in order to make a decision on his eligibility.  On receipt of this information a decision will be made on his DA application and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Reviews

Ceisteanna (800)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

800. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a review of an invalidity pension claim by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be expedited in view of their illness benefit ceasing in August 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29659/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The lady referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 20 December 2018.  Payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 25 July 2019.  Any arrears due from 20 December 2018 to 24 July 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue in due course.  The lady in question was notified of this decision on 08 July 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

School Meals Programme

Ceisteanna (801)

Dessie Ellis

Ceist:

801. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the provision of a third school meal being provided to schools in Ballymun can be extended to include schools (details supplied) in response to the closure of clubs in the schools. [29673/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The school meals programme provides funding towards the provision of food to some 1,580 schools and organisations benefitting 250,000 children at a total cost of €57.6 million in 2019 representing an increase of €3.6 million over the previous year. The objective of the scheme is to provide regular, nutritious food to children who are unable, due to lack of good quality food, to take full advantage of the education provided to them. The programme is an important component of policies to encourage school attendance and extra educational achievement.

The scheme provides funding for a breakfast or snack for all children and lunch for up to 90% of children in DEIS schools for the entire school year from September to June. Funding, for third and subsequent clubs, can only be considered where a historical entitlement exists. Where funding is provided for a third club, it is capped at the same level as previous years.

The three schools identified by the Deputy are DEIS schools and are currently being funded for a breakfast/snack for all children and a lunch for up to 90% of children based on the enrolment figure provided by the Department of Education and Skills.  No food clubs funded by the department have been closed.

Changes to increase the funding of the scheme, to provide a third food club in DEIS schools, would have to be considered in a budgetary context.

I trust this clarifies the matter.

Employment Rights

Ceisteanna (802)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

802. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to recent studies which highlight the bogus self-employment of pilots operating for airlines registered here; if her attention has been further drawn to the fact that an association (details supplied) estimates that the use of self-employment contracting by airlines here costs the State in the region of €15 to €16 million per year in employer PRSI contributions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29675/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am on record as stating very clearly that I am committed to tackling the issue of false self-employment. I believe the deliberate mis-classification of a worker as a self-employed contractor, in a situation where they are actually working as an employee, is wrong. It is wrong for three reasons.

Firstly, it denies the worker full protection under the Social Welfare Act, which means he or she is deprived of entitlements such as short-term illness and disability benefits.

Secondly, it deprives the worker of protection under labour law which means the a worker is left without any redress if they are unfairly dismissed, made redundant, or are not paid minimum wage rates, for example.

Thirdly, this form of non-compliance by employers deprives all taxpayers in the form of reduced returns to the Social Insurance Fund.

I have assigned my officials the task of modernising the Code of Practice on employment status. This is a vital tool for employers and employees so they can be clear when a worker is genuinely self-employed or alternatively when they should be recorded as an employee under full PRSI. A new manual – the Guidance on Employment Status – is almost finalised and I have said that I will be circulating it to ICTU and IBEC before it is published to get their input.

The new Guidance will be put on a statutory footing, to ensure it becomes central to the decision-making process in employment status cases.

I believe that enforcement of PRSI compliance is paramount and I want strong enforcement activity to complement the new Guidance provisions. My Department's inspectors have commenced a campaign of increasing the level of employer inspections nationwide. I have established a new Unit of inspectors, specifically trained and dedicated to the detection and tackling of false self-employment in particular.

Anyone who has a query or concern about how their employment has been classified by an employer to contact Scope Section of my Department. Scope Section will commence an investigation, which can involve referral of the matter out to a Social Welfare Inspector, and ultimately decide on the appropriate employment status.

A good deal of progress has been made by my officials in developing a number of legislative proposals that strengthen the protections for workers in situations of false self-employment. These include providing anti-penalisation provisions for workers who will be able to take a claim to the WRC if they are victimised by an employer for raising a query regarding their status. I also wish to increase penalties for employers who deliberately mis-classify employees as self-employed.

There is no easy solution to the issue of deciding employment status – if there were, the Courts would have ruled on it years ago. There are complex legal aspects to it and each case rests on its own facts. I also need to be mindful of the constitutional rights of employers and workers to manage their business and freely choose their employment status.

Work is ongoing to finalise the Guidance document and the legislative proposals and I hope to progress these as soon as possible.

I am advised that case involving an airline was investigated and decided upon and it is currently on appeal with the Social Welfare Appeals Office. It would therefore not be appropriate for me to comment on the likely outcome of this case.  

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Transitional Payment

Ceisteanna (803)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

803. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated amount it would cost to extend jobseeker's transition from when the youngest child is 14 to 18 years of age. [29756/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department provides a number of options for income support to lone parents once their entitlement to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) ceases.  These include the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST) payment where the youngest child is aged 7-13 years (inclusive) and the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) payment which may be paid to lone parents where the youngest child is aged 14 or over.  The Working Family Payment (WFP), is also available to lone parents who are working 19 or more hours per week.  Lone parents who move to WFP may also apply for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD). 

The cost of increasing the age limit for a qualified child for the jobseeker's transitional payment (JST) until the youngest child reaches 18 years of age is not easily estimated as there are significant barriers to undertaking such an exercise.  For example, customers may no longer be within the welfare system, while others could seek to move from alternative payments such as Jobseekers Allowance (JA), the Working Family Payment (WFP) and the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) back to JST. I am advised that it would be difficult for my Department to estimate the magnitude of this flow into and between schemes with any degree of accuracy.

Likewise, the number of young people 18 years of age (and over) who are still in secondary education, and the proportion of those who are the children of lone parents in receipt of benefits is not readily available or easily estimated.  As these unknown factors are critical to providing a reliable costing my Department is not in a position to provide the costing requested.

Working Family Payment

Ceisteanna (804)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

804. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated amount it would cost to reduce working family payment qualification criteria of 19 hours to 15 hours a week. [29757/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work support which provides an income top-up for employees on low earnings with children. WFP is designed to prevent in-work poverty for low paid workers with child dependants and to offer a financial incentive to take-up employment.  The estimated expenditure on WFP in 2018 is approximately €430 million and as of May 2019 it is currently paid to almost 53,000 families in respect of approximately 119,000 children.

For low income workers with less than the minimum hours of employment for WFP and working on a casual basis (that is, up to and including 3 days per week) the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) scheme provides in-work income support through daily disregards and tapered withdrawal of payments. 

Apart from the jobseeker schemes if a person cannot meet the 19 hours WFP threshold or if their hours vary significantly from week to week, the Department offers a number of other schemes which can provide income support that can be combined with earnings from employment, subject to each individual’s circumstances.  These include One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST), and the Part-Time Job Incentive (PTJI) scheme

Further reducing the “hours worked” requirement would have potentially significant expenditure implications which are difficult to quantify. The number of families working between 15-18 hours and are earning below the relevant WFP thresholds is currently unknown.  Therefore, I am advised that my Department has no way of accurately estimating the cost of reducing the numbers of hours worked required to access WFP from 19 to 15 hours.

It is crucially important that WFP does not inadvertently subsidise unsustainably low earnings or encourage employers to offer minimal hours of employment.  The longer term goal of WFP, as an incentive to take up and remain in work, could be compromised if the nature of the work taken up is not sustainable.

I trust that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Direct Provision System

Ceisteanna (805)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

805. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated amount it would cost to introduce a weekly allowance for children living in direct provision in line with the rate for a qualified child including the higher rate for children over 12 years of age. [29758/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

In Budget 2019, I was pleased to increase the rate of Daily Expenses Allowance to the rates recommended in the McMahon Report on Improvements to the Protection Process.  This included a €8.20 per week increase (to €29.80) in the payment for children. 

The estimated full year cost of increasing the weekly payment for children living in direct provision in line with the rate for a qualified child payment, €34 for children under 12 and €37 for children aged 12 and over, would be €0.4 million.

Any such increase would need to considered in a budgetary context.  

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Transitional Payment

Ceisteanna (806)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

806. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated amount it would cost to allow those on jobseeker's transition to receive both the jobseeker's transition payment and the working family payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29759/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department provides a number of options for income support to lone parents once their entitlement to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) ceases.  These include the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST) payment where the youngest child is aged 7-13 years (inclusive), and the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) payment which may be paid to lone parents where the youngest child is aged 14 or over.  The Working Family Payment (WFP), is also available to lone parents in receipt of OFP who are working 19 or more hours per week.  Lone parents who move from JST to WFP by increasing their working hours to 19+ per week may also apply for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD).

The concurrent payment of JST and WFP contradicts the policy goals of the changes to the OFP scheme, which are to tackle long-term social welfare dependency - and its associated poverty risks - through a tapering of income supports and a more active engagement process offering enhanced educational, training and employment supports.  Concurrent payment of JST and WFP may also introduce a steep financial "cliff" for lone parents when their youngest child reaches 14 years of age and they potentially move to Jobseeker’s Allowance.   

It would be very difficult to estimate the cost of such a proposal with any accuracy as the Department would have to consider the potential inflows into WFP where JST lone parents increase their working hours to 19 per week or more in order to qualify for both payments, and also the numbers of lone parents already on WFP that would become eligible for receipt of JST as well. Lone parents on WFP and in receipt of BTWFD would lose their BTWFD if they recommenced receiving JST along with their WFP.

Child Benefit Eligibility

Ceisteanna (807)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

807. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated amount it would cost to reinstate child benefit for children living in direct provision. [29760/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

It is estimated that the full year cost of introducing child benefit for children who live in direct provision is €2.84 million.

Any introduction of child benefit for children living in direct provision would have to be considered in the overall budgetary context. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Ceisteanna (808)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

808. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated amount it would cost to restore the full adult rate to persons under 26 years of age on jobseeker's allowance. [29761/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The estimated full year cost to pay the full adult rate of €203 per week to persons under 26 years of age on Jobseeker's Allowance is €59.9 million.  This costing includes increasing the €112.70 qualified adult rate to €134.70 per week.

Young jobseekers who participate in an education, training or employment programme currently qualify for the maximum weekly rate of payment.  Age-related reduced rates of payment also do not apply in certain circumstances, such as when the claimant has a dependent child, or transferred to Jobseeker's Allowance from Disability Allowance, or was in State care during the 12 months prior to applying for Jobseeker's Allowance. 

It should be noted that any change to the reduced rates of Jobseeker's Allowance would need to be considered in a budgetary context.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (809)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

809. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated amount it would cost to link income and the income and earning disregard means test to the income of national minimum wage for social protection payments that have an income and earnings disregard. [29762/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The information requested by the Deputy is currently being compiled by my officials and will be provided to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (810)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

810. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the amount spent on tribunals, commissions of investigation and statutory inquiries in each of the years 2009 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by inquiry, tribunal or commission; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29833/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

There were no commissions of investigation or statutory inquiries in the period of time outlined by the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (811)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

811. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a carer's allowance payment for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29856/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Firstly, may I offer my condolences to the person and his family on the loss of a loved one.

The carer’s support grant (CSG) is an annual payment for carers who look after a person in need of full-time care and attention. The payment is made regardless of the carer's means but is subject to the same caring conditions as carer’s allowance (CA).

CA recipients automatically qualify for the Carer's Support Grant, an annual payment of €1,700, which is not means-tested or taxed, on the first Thursday in June each year where they have an entitlement to CA.

The person concerned was in receipt of CA for his mother up until 24 April 2019. This included the 12 weeks after the death of the person he was caring for. As the person concerned was not in payment on the first Thursday in June this year there is no entitlement to the 2019 CSG grant.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (812)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

812. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to address the concerns raised by former ESB workers in relation to pension issues (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29864/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Deputy will appreciate that I am unable to comment or intervene on issues relating to a particular pension scheme.  

My Department has no role in setting the level of pension increases received by members of occupational pension schemes.  Pension increases are entirely a matter for the scheme trustees and the sponsoring employer.  Matters directly related to the ESB Group come under the remit of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Trustees of occupational pension schemes have duties and responsibilities under the Pensions Act 1990, as amended, under trust law and under other relevant legislation.  The duties of pension scheme trustees include administering a scheme in accordance with the law and the terms of the trust deed and rules as well as ensuring compliance with the requirements that apply to these schemes.  Trustees must act in the best financial interests of the scheme members, whether active, deferred or retired, and must serve all beneficiaries of the scheme impartially.  If there is a conflict of interest then a person’s duty as a trustee must take precedence over other interests.

Any questions relating to access to the State's industrial relations mechanisms is a matter for the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory)

Ceisteanna (813)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

813. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of pensioners contacted to date in relation to pension changes applied in 2012; the number that received arrears; the number that have seen their pensions increase; the number that have seen no increase in their payments; when she expects all pensioners will have been contacted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29865/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Since late September 2018, my Department has been examining the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who have a reduced rate State pension contributory entitlement based on post Budget 2012 rate-bands.  These payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pension calculation which includes provision for home-caring periods.

Reviews commenced from 13 February 2019, the day after I signed the necessary Regulations which, together with provisions in the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registrations Act 2018, allows the increased payments to be made.  As at 4 July 2019, 77,193 reviews have been completed.  Of these, 32,307 pensioners received an increase in their rate of payment and 44,886 are remaining on their existing rate of payment.

Where an increase is due, the person's rate of payment is adjusted without delay and arrears issued backdated to 30 March 2018, or the person's 66th birthday if later.

Outcomes will continue to issue to individuals as soon as their reviews are completed.  It will take a number of months to complete the reviews due to the numbers involved and the individual nature of social insurance records.  It is anticipated that this work will be completed at the end of September 2019. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

JobPath Programme

Ceisteanna (814)

Ruth Coppinger

Ceist:

814. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will report on the supervision over services operated by Seetec; if quality assessment is carried out by her Department; if she will report on reviews carried out of customer experience; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29876/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

There are a number of key features which enables my Department to monitor all aspects Seetec's performance and ensure contract compliance.

Every participant is provided with a service guarantee - a baseline level of service covering frequency of engagement, personal progression planning, geographic accessibility and in-employment support.

On-site inspections are carried out as part of the monitoring of JobPath contractor performance. As at end of June 2019, a total of 50 on-site inspections have been carried out at Seetec  service delivery locations around the country and these will continue for the duration of the JobPath contract. Inspections may be notified or un-notified and can focus on specific matters of interest or can be general oversight, as required.

The inspections monitor compliance with the service level agreement and the contract generally, including, for example, the suitability and standard of accommodation, staffing levels, Irish language compliance, customer service and customer feedback, checking the client’s Personal Progression Plan, Review Meetings compliance, the checking of Job Sustainment Fee Evidence Types and Exit Plans.

As part of their contractual obligations, the provider is required to have a comprehensive Complaints Process and this is advertised in all Seetec office locations.  The process contains various levels of escalation, allowing complaints to be dealt with at a level appropriate to the concern. 

Should a customer remain dissatisfied having exhausted the contractor's Complaint Process, they can request my Department to carry out a review.  In this way it can be established if the complaint has been fully dealt with, and in a fair and reasonable manner.  If the customer remains dissatisfied following a review, they have the option to refer the matter to the Office of the Ombudsman.

As at end of June 2019, approximately 126,000 Jobseekers have engaged with the service provided  by Seetec, with 311 complaints received in total, 0.25 per cent.  I am advised that my Department is not aware of any complaint referred to the Office of the Ombudsman.

To ensure that services are being delivered satisfactorily from the customers perspective, my Department has commissioned regular Customer Satisfaction Surveys, the latest of which was completed at the end of 2018.  Since the surveys began in 2016, some 3,000 Seetec customers have responded to the surveys, which are conducted over the phone.  The  results have been overwhelmingly positive with overall satisfaction ranging from 76% to 81% satisfaction versus only 5% to 8% dissatisfaction over the 3 years.  All of the evidence available to my Department indicates that the experience of customers who have engaged with the JobPath service to date has been quite positive.  The results of the Customer Satisfaction Surveys are published on my Departments website www.welfare.ie.

It is important to note that underperformance identified through audits and inspections or resulting from client feedback and satisfaction with the level of service offered by the Contractor or as a result of ongoing quantitative assessment of actual performance as compared to the base level commitment, may result in the reduction in fees paid of up to 15%.  Where the Contractor does not address the issue that gives rise to use of retention fees to the satisfaction of the Department, the Department has the right to terminate the contract.  There has been no instance where retention fees have been applied.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (815)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

815. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Sligo will receive a decision on their application for an extension to carer's benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29878/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer’s benefit (CARB) is a payment made to insured people who leave the workforce to care for a person(s) in need of full-time care and attention.

A person can be considered to be providing full-time care and attention where they are engaged in employment, self-employment or on training courses outside the home for a maximum of 15 hours per week, provided that they can show to the satisfaction of a deciding officer that adequate care has been provided for the care recipient in their absence.

CARB was awarded for a period 21 March 2019 to 3 July 2019.  The person concerned has made a further application to extend her period of benefit. 

In order to process some additional information was requested from the person concerned on 4 July 2019 in relation to leave periods from her employment with the HSE.

Once the information is received the application will be processed without delay and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Illness Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (816)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

816. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an illness benefit application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29931/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for Illness Benefit from 13 December 2018 was received from the person concerned on 15 January 2019.

One of the qualifying conditions for Illness Benefit is that a person must have 39 weeks of PRSI contributions paid or credited in the relevant tax year (or 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the relevant year and the tax year immediately before the relevant year), of which 13 must be paid contributions at class A, E, H or P. 

According to the Department's records, the person concerned does not have any paid or credited contributions in the relevant tax year or in the year before the relevant tax year and therefore does not satisfy the contribution conditions for the receipt of Illness Benefit. 

A decision letter issued to the person concerned explaining the position to him on 16 January 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (817)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

817. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29932/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I confirm that an application from this lady for disability allowance (DA) was received by the Department on 21 March 2019. 

The processing time for individual DA claims may vary in accordance with their relative complexity in terms of the three main qualifying criteria, the person’s circumstances and the information they provide in support of their claim.

The application has been referred to a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for a report on the person’s means and circumstances.  Once the SWI has submitted his/her report to DA section, a decision will be made on the application and this lady will be notified directly of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (818)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

818. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29948/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I can confirm that my Department received an application for disability allowance (DA) from this gentleman on 16 April 2019. 

On 5 July 2019 the person concerned was requested to supply supporting documentation required by the deciding officer in order to make a decision on his eligibility.  On receipt of this information a decision will be made on his DA application and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (819)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

819. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29949/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The application for disability allowance (DA) from the person in question was disallowed by a deciding officer (DO) who decided that he did not satisfy the medical condition for the scheme.  Notification of this decision and the reason for it issued to the person on 8 March 2019. 

The person in question has lodged an appeal with the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).  All the relevant papers requested by that Office have been prepared and were submitted by the Department on the 10 May 2019. The SWAO will be in touch with the person in due course in relation to the progress of the appeal.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (820)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

820. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a domiciliary care allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29950/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for Domiciliary Care Allowance ( DCA) was received from this lady on 20 May 2019.  Applications received in late April 2019 are currently being finalised.  The application will be considered by a deciding officer in due course and the decision notified to her as soon as possible.

I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.  

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (821)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

821. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a disability allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29963/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I can confirm that my Department received an application for disability allowance (DA) from this gentleman on 8 May 2019.  On completion of the necessary investigations on all aspects of the claim a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.  

The processing time for individual disability allowance claims may vary in accordance with their relative complexity in terms of the three main qualifying criteria, the person’s circumstances and the information they provide in support of their claim.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (822)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

822. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a disability allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29968/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance with effect from 6 March 2019. The first payment was made by his chosen payment method on 26 June 2019.

Arrears of payment due will issue as soon as possible once any necessary adjustment is calculated and applied in respect of any overlapping payments.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (823)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

823. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a domiciliary care allowance by a person (details supplied). [29973/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for Domiciliary Care Allowance was received from the person concerned on 31 January 2019.  The application was not allowed as the child was not considered to satisfy the qualifying conditions for the allowance.  A letter issued on 27 March 2019 setting out the decision of the deciding officer to refuse the allowance.

A review of the decision which included a letter from Social Work Team Leader, Family Intervention Team was requested on 15 May 2019.  The claim and all information provided will be re-examined by a deciding officer and a revised decision will be made if warranted.  The person concerned will be notified of the outcome of the review as soon as possible.

Reviews are currently taking approximately 10-12 weeks to process.

 I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.  

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (824)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

824. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her Department has ceased the purchase and use of single-use plastics; the public bodies and agencies under her remit to which she has issued an instruction to cease the purchase and use of single-use plastics; when the instruction issued; the bodies which have confirmed that they no longer purchase and use single-use plastics, respectively; the bodies which have not provided such confirmation to date; when they will confirm; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29984/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the agencies under its remit are no longer purchasing single-use plastics. 

The Department provides purchasing facilities for the Social Welfare Appeals Office, Social Welfare Tribunal and the Labour Market Council agencies whilst the Citizens Information Board and Pensions Authority have their own purchasing facilities and have confirmed, in writing, that they are no longer purchasing single-use plastics.