Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (2667)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

2667. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of cases in which a person's additional pension was restricted under the home caring scheme in respect of his or her contributory pension due to the rule by which the maximum home caring period shall not exceed 1,040; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31645/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The maximum Homecaring periods provided for as part of the Total Contribution Approach (TCA) under the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018 is 1,040 (i.e. 20 years).

The exact breakdown requested by the Deputy is not readily available; however, based on a sample analysis of increased cases, 62% achieved maximum rate of pension.

Of the remainder who received an increase, approximately 2,185 benefited from the maximum permissible 1,040 HomeCaring Periods and did not achieve maximum pension rate.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Proposed Legislation

Ceisteanna (2668)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

2668. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to amend the Stillbirths Registration Act 1994 (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31654/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am conscious that this issue can be the cause of significant impact to those parents and families who are in such circumstances.

I have met recently with individuals affected by this issue and I have been in contact with Féileacán, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland, with a view to arranging to meet with them following submission of proposals that they have made.

The weight and term limits of 500 grams and 24 weeks referenced are based on those developed by the World Health Organization. Accordingly, I have also written to my colleague, the Minister for Health, in this matter to seek the views of experts in this area. I am advised that the Neonatal Clinical Advisory Group in the HSE is preparing a position paper in relation to the classification of perinatal death and that publication of this is expected shortly.

The progression of these processes will facilitate informed further consideration of the issues when complete.

Local Employment Service

Ceisteanna (2669)

John Brady

Ceist:

2669. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of plans to tender for the local employment service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31710/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Local Employment Services and Job Clubs contracts are reviewed on an annual basis to ensure they are fit for purpose in the context of the Irish labour market, as well as providing value for money for taxpayers.

Indecon, in its reviews of LES and Job Clubs published in January, recommended the Department consider the introduction of multiannual contracts and a competitive procurement process for future provision of these services. The Department has also received legal advice to the effect that competitive procurement is now a requirement for these contracts.

Accordingly, my officials are working to design a procurement model that will balance the need for value for money for taxpayers with the importance of preserving high-quality employment advisory and counselling services. Officials will continue to engage with stakeholders in as much as it is appropriate in a procurement process.

I am on the record in recognising the valuable work performed by Local Employment Services and Job Clubs and it is my view that any future procurement process give due recognition to track records in delivering high-quality, locally based services.

Indeed, it is in everyone's interests - jobseekers, service providers and the State - to ensure, insofar as it is possible, that experienced employment service providers with a strong community ethos continue to form a core part of our employment service infrastructure.

Illness Benefit Data

Ceisteanna (2670)

John Brady

Ceist:

2670. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of illness benefit for more than two years; and the number in receipt of the payment for each additional year. [31738/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department administers the Illness Benefit scheme to persons who cannot work due to illness provided they are covered by the appropriate class of Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) and satisfy the contribution conditions.

The number of Illness Benefit claims in payment for over two years at July 11th 2019 is 12,667.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Ceisteanna (2671)

John Brady

Ceist:

2671. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons moved from illness benefit to invalidity pension in each of the past six years. [31739/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Illness Benefit (IB) is a payment made to insured people who are unable to work due to illness and who satisfy certain pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

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

Where a customer was in receipt of IB prior to 5 January 2009, they can continue to receive payment of IB for as long as they remain incapable of work, up to the age of 66.

For IB claims since 5 January 2009, a customer is entitled to receive payment of IB for a maximum of 624 paid days in any one period of interruption of employment. When these customers have been in receipt of IB for a period of 468 days, they are medically assessed for continued entitlement to IB and possible entitlement to IP. If as a result of this assessment it is considered that they may be entitled to IP, a shortened application form (INV2) is sent to them. On return of the completed form their entitlement to IP is decided.

The number of persons awarded IP who transferred from IB under this process since it was introduced in 2014 is set out in the table below:

YEAR

TOTAL

2014

323

2015

1588

2016

1407

2017

2270

2018

2107

2019 to date.

1022

It is open to recipients of IB to apply directly for IP at any time by sending in an application form (INV1). This can be done either before or after their entitlement to IB payment has exhausted. The department does not retain statistics of the number of persons who have transferred from IB to IP in this way.

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Ceisteanna (2672, 2673)

John Brady

Ceist:

2672. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to persons being left on illness benefit for longer than two years and as a result not having the necessary contributions to qualify for a contributory State pension without knowledge of the need to move to invalidity pension in order to make additional contributions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31740/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

2673. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if discretion will be shown in cases in which a person does not qualify for a contributory State pension as a direct result of being left on illness benefit beyond the two years during which the person was unaware that contributions were not made while on the payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31741/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2672 and 2673 together.

Illness Benefit is a payment for people who cannot work due to illness and who satisfy the Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions of the scheme.

Persons who were in receipt of Illness Benefit prior to January 2009, when the maximum period of two years was introduced for new claims, retained their entitlement to claim Illness Benefit beyond two years once they continue to satisfy the medical and other criteria of the scheme. Therefore, such persons continue to receive an Illness Benefit payment by providing ongoing medical evidence of their incapacity for work. Those persons in receipt of Illness Benefit also receive PRSI credited contributions for the duration of their claim.

It is open to persons who are in receipt of Illness Benefit to apply for any other social protection scheme if they consider that they fulfil the qualifying conditions of that scheme and their eligibility will be assessed by the Department in accordance with the relevant scheme criteria.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Data

Ceisteanna (2674, 2675)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

2674. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of staff employed in the special investigation unit; the staffing numbers in the unit since 2010; and the budget directed to the unit in each of the years since 2010. [31745/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

2675. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the resources in the special investigation unit; and the resources allocated to each category of payment. [31746/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2674 and 2675 together.

The exclusive function of the Department’s Special Investigation Unit (SIU) is to investigate and report on the fraud and abuse of social welfare schemes.

The SIU was reconfigured as a national unit in February 2010 and the current structure ensures there is a national and strategic focus on high-risk sectors and social welfare schemes where fraud and abuse is prevalent. Officers are not assigned on a scheme-by-scheme basis - rather all officers can investigate all schemes. The Unit carries out a wide range of control projects and activities and ensures an integrated approach is taken to prevention and detection of social welfare abuse, in conjunction with other areas of the Department involved in control work. It also works jointly with Revenue staff in Joint Investigation Units, with staff from the Workplace Relations Commission, the Gardaí and other compliance and enforcement agencies.

The number of officers working as part of the SIU at any one time can vary depending on vacancies. When the Unit was reconfigured as a national unit in February 2010, there were some 91 officers assigned to it. In late 2014, sanction was provided for 20 Gardaí to be seconded to the Department to work exclusively as part of the Unit.

At the end of June 2019, there were 100 Officers working in SIU together with a further 14 Gardaí, bringing the total number to 114. Plans are currently in place to restore the number of Gardaí to 20 over the coming months, which will bring the number working in the unit to 120 officers.

The costs associated with these officers is met from the Department's central budgets. Contact will be made directly with the Deputy regarding a breakdown of these costs.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (2676)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

2676. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of staff employed as medical officers; and the budget directed to medical assessments for payments requiring a medical assessment. [31747/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Currently, there are 30 Medical Assessors working in the Department's Medical Review and Assessment Service. This figure includes the Chief Medical Officer and the Deputy Chief Medical Adviser.

The total salary cost for the Medical Assessors in 2018 was just over €2.4 million.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (2677)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

2677. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of staff employed in the appeals section; the staffing numbers in the section since 2010; and the budget directed to appeals. [31748/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Like all Government departments and agencies, my Department is required to operate within a staff ceiling figure and a commensurate administrative staffing budget, which for this Department has involved reductions in staff.

The staffing needs for all areas within the Department are continuously reviewed, taking account of workloads, management priorities and the ongoing need to respond to new and increasing demands in a wide range of services. This is to ensure that the best use is made of all available resources with a view to providing an efficient service to those who rely on the schemes operated by the Department.

The administrative budget for the Appeals Office for 2019 is €344,990 (includes overtime and travel expenses). Based on average grade salary costs, full-year salary expenditure based on end of June 2019 staffing figures will amount to €4,678,007.

Staffing figures as at the end of each year from 2010 to 2018 and at the end of June for 2019 are set out in the tables below. There are two figures provided: one for the full-time equivalent staffing number (FTE) and the other for the actual number of staff on site (comprises full-time staff and staff availing of shorter working weeks).

Date

FTE

Staff Count

December 2010

59.60

66

December 2011

67.80

74

December 2012*

87.83

94

December 2013

84.64

90

December 2014

85.65

91

December 2015

78.10

83

December 2016

81.65

86

December 2017

79.15

83

December 2018

74.44

78

June 2019

83.15

87

*Additional staff assigned to Appeals Office with transfer of Community Welfare Services from HSE to DEASP.

Disability Allowance Applications Waiting Times

Ceisteanna (2678)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

2678. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons, by week and county, awaiting assignment of an inspector in respect of a disability allowance application in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31763/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The total number of disability allowance (DA) new applications currently with an open investigation with Social Welfare Inspectors at the end of June 2019 was 245.

The following table is a breakdown of these cases by county.

COUNTY

TOTAL

CARLOW

5

CAVAN

9

CLARE

5

CORK

27

DONEGAL

6

DUBLIN

56

GALWAY

28

KERRY

10

KILDARE

6

KILKENNY

2

LAOIS

2

LEITRIM

3

LIMERICK

12

LONGFORD

1

LOUTH

5

MAYO

5

MEATH

8

OFFALY

9

ROSCOMMON

5

SLIGO

4

TIPPERARY

10

WATERFORD

8

WESTMEATH

4

WEXFORD

8

WICKLOW

7

TOTAL

245

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Irish Airlines Superannuation Scheme

Ceisteanna (2679, 2680)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

2679. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to establish an independent review group within her Department to assess the level and impact of cuts suffered by all categories of members in a pension scheme (details supplied) due to changes in legislation, in particular the Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2014, and subsequent reductions in members' benefits; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31783/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

2680. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the substantial cuts imposed on members of a pension scheme in advance of the sale of the stake in a company (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31787/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2679 and 2680 together.

I am aware of the reduction in pension benefits for members of the IASS pension scheme. However, the Deputy will appreciate that I cannot intervene in, or comment on, the pension arrangements applying to a particular pension scheme as such arrangements are a matter for the pension scheme trustees, the companies participating in the scheme, the scheme members and the Pensions Authority.

As the Deputy is aware, there is currently a case before the Courts in relation to the IASS pension scheme. Therefore, it would be inappropriate for me to comment any further on this matter.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Non-Contributory) Eligibility

Ceisteanna (2681)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

2681. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the provision made for those on part value Irish non-contributory pensions and a United Kingdom pension in view of the continual decline in the value of sterling against the euro; if provision has been made for additional entitlement to the Irish pension rate due to the lesser or declining value in the UK pension; her plans to roll out the additional entitlement to those affected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Social Assistance payments act as a safety net for people who have insufficient income and who do not qualify for a contributory scheme payment or qualify for a lower weekly payment based on their social insurance record. The application of a means test in the eligibility assessment for a social assistance scheme is to ensure that scarce resources are directed to those in greatest need.

There are over 10,000 customers of the Department in receipt of a UK State pension who are also in receipt of the means-tested State pension non-contributory (SPNC). Under social welfare legislation, in determining an applicant’s eligibility for SPNC, State pension payments from the UK, or from any foreign social security institution, are assessed as income and form part of an overall means assessment of the person concerned, together with any other income(s), assets, savings and investments they may hold.

In processing and reviewing such claims, the Department applies the provisions for currency conversion set out in EU legislation. The currency situation is being kept under review. It is not the policy of the Department, nor is it feasible, that the foreign income element, only, of SPNC means test factors for all persons concerned be reassessed frequently to take account of fluctuations in currency conversion rates and provision has not been made for this. In the event, however, that serious and continuous currency fluctuation should arise, resulting in a significant negative impact for its customers, the Department will consider what steps it may have to take to minimise the possibility of financial hardship.

It is the policy of the Department that any requested review of an SPNC recipient’s payment entitlement will normally involve a full reassessment of their weekly means. Therefore, on the basis of a foreign currency conversion adjustment, a net increase in SPNC payment rate may not necessarily be the outcome when the up-to-date value and means impact of the person’s overall income(s), assets and investments are also taken into account.

Carer's Allowance Eligibility

Ceisteanna (2682)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

2682. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the spouses of prison officers in receipt of carer's allowance have been targeted for on-the-spot inspections at their family homes by inspectors from her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31823/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's Allowance (CA) is a means-tested payment, made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that they require that level of care. An increased payment can be made where full-time care is being provided to two people.

Before a decision can be made on entitlement to CA, evidence must be provided in respect of the carer’s habitual residence in the State, the level of care they provide, their means and also that the person being cared for has such a disability that they require full-time care and attention.

The Department periodically reviews claims in payment to ensure that there is continued entitlement.

Social Welfare legislation obliges every claimant or beneficiary to notify the Department of any change in circumstances which may affect their entitlement to that benefit / assistance. The Department informs claimants of this requirement when a payment is awarded.

Carer's allowance reviews take place in a number of circumstances as follows:

- If the decision on a new claim is negative the customer has the option of a review.

- Once claims are in payment, my Department undertakes periodically reviews to ensure that there is continued entitlement.

- A customer can at any stage request a review of their entitlement.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Employment Schemes Data

Ceisteanna (2683, 2684)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

2683. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the cost of the community employment programme for the past five years to the end of the second quarter of 2019, by budgeted versus actual costs under the headings "participants' wages", "supervisory wages", "materials costs" and "training costs" in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31835/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mary Butler

Ceist:

2684. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of community employment participants, supervisors and assistant supervisors on the community employment programme at the end of June 2019, by county in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31836/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2683 and 2684 together.

The aim of the Community Employment (CE) programme is to enhance the employability of unemployed persons by providing work experience and training opportunities for them within their communities. Its objective is to help long-term unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce.

Table 1 below shows the CE budget for the years 2014 to 2019.

Table 2 sets out the actual costs for participant wages, supervisors' wages, material and training costs for the years 2014 to 2018, and up to the end of June 2019.

Table 3 shows the number of participants and supervisors, by county, on the 911 CE projects as at the end of June 2019. Overall, there are 21,367 participants, 1,074 supervisors and 240 assistant supervisors.

I hope this information is of assistance to the Deputy.

Table 1

-

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Total Budget €

357.5m

373.3m

376.5m

354.27m

350.03m

345.115m

Table 2

-

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019 (to end June)

Participant wages

278m

285m

282m

278m

285m

140.5m

Supervisor wages

55m

55.4m

54.9m

53.6m

53.35m

25.75m

Materials costs

13m

13.7m

13.9m

13m

13.3m

6.45m

Training costs

5.03m

6.03m

5.91m

5.66m

5.73m

2.42m

Total spend

351.03

360.13

356.71m

350.26m

357.38

175.12

Table 3

County

Participants

Supervisor

Assistant Supervisor

Totals

Projects

CARLOW

390

20

2

412

15

CAVAN

317

13

5

335

12

CLARE

457

26

5

488

24

CORK

1,959

98

8

2,065

80

DONEGAL

1,104

50

4

1,158

47

DUBLIN

4,517

254

79

4,850

197

GALWAY

1,299

64

16

1,379

59

KERRY

1,001

45

4

1,050

43

KILDARE

775

38

6

819

30

KILKENNY

494

21

8

523

19

LAOIS

295

15

0

310

14

LEITRIM

196

9

1

206

7

LIMERICK

1,240

61

11

1,312

50

LONGFORD

286

16

3

305

13

LOUTH

745

29

13

787

26

MAYO

725

38

11

774

35

MEATH

490

21

8

519

18

MONAGHAN

390

12

5

407

10

OFFALY

415

18

6

439

18

ROSCOMMON

241

16

0

257

14

SLIGO

441

26

2

469

19

TIPPERARY

824

43

8

875

42

WATERFORD

701

35

9

745

33

WESTMEATH

557

26

8

591

21

WEXFORD

973

52

10

1,035

44

WICKLOW

535

28

8

571

21

TOTALS

21,367

1,074

240

22,681

911

Social Welfare Payments Administration

Ceisteanna (2685)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

2685. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address matters (details supplied) regarding the transfer of payments from post offices. [31843/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Claimants who are in receipt of a social welfare payment in a post office continue to be paid at their designated post office for the duration of their claim. Payments are not transferred to another post office on a random basis. However, in exceptional cases a claimant’s payment may be transferred to another local post office where it is considered to be a necessary measure in order to make contact with and engage with the claimant, particularly when a claimant has not been responding to correspondence from my Department. If a payment has been moved to another post office the claimant will be informed of where the payment is available when they make contact with their Intreo Centre. Their payment is immediately available for collection at the other post office location.

If a claimant does not engage with the Department their payment may be suspended until such time as they make contact and re-engage with staff in my Department. In such cases, the claimant’s payment would take three days to be made available at the post office. Transferring the payment to another post office makes it available more quickly once the claimant has made contact with the Department. This is particularly important where a claimant may have child or adult dependants.

I am advised that the information requested by the Deputy in respect of a list of the social welfare payments and the number of claimants affected by a move of post office location in the past two years is not available in my Department.

Registration of Deaths

Ceisteanna (2686)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

2686. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of deaths recorded on the register of births, deaths and marriages of persons who have resided at a direct provision centre between 2010 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the ages of those who died; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31858/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Part 5 of the Civil Registration Act 2004, as amended, sets out the arrangements with respect to the registration of a death occurring within the State. The required particulars that are recorded relating to a deceased person include the place of death and the address at which the deceased person resided before their death (Section 37 and Schedule 1, Part 5). Based on the information recorded in the death registers, it is not feasible for the Civil Registration Service to identify deaths that occurred within direct provision centres or of person who resided in such places.

The Reception and Integration Agency has responsibility for direct provision matters within the Department of Justice and Equality.

Illness Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (2687)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

2687. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of social welfare payments for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31887/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for Illness Benefit was received from the person concerned on 3 July 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, of which 13 must be paid contributions at class A, E or H. Alternatively, a person may have 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the relevant tax year, and 26 weeks of PRSI contributions paid in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year with all such contributions at class A, E or H.

The person concerned was self-employed and paying class S contributions in the relevant tax years, which is not a qualifying class of contribution for Illness Benefit. Therefore, he does not satisfy the contribution conditions for Illness Benefit.

A letter issued to the person concerned on 5 July 2019 explaining the position.

Should the person concerned be in need of financial assistance, it is open to him to contact the Community Welfare Service at his local Intreo Centre.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (2688)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

2688. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an appeal for carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31941/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for carer's allowance (CA) was received from the person concerned on 20 April 2019.

It is a condition for receipt of a CA that the person being cared for must have such disability 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 continual supervision in order to avoid danger to himself or herself and likely to require that level of care for at least twelve months.

The evidence submitted in support of these applications was examined and the deciding officer decided that this evidence did not indicate that the requirement for full-time care was satisfied for either care recipient.

The person concerned was notified on 4 July 2019 of the decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment Applications

Ceisteanna (2689)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

2689. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application for a working family payment by a person (details supplied) will be expedited. [31944/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Working Family Payment (WFP) is an in-work payment which provides additional income support to employees on low earnings with qualified children.

An application for WFP was received from the person concerned on 05 June 2019.

The Department wrote to the person concerned on 11 July 2019 to request other employment-related details.

On receipt of the requested details from the person concerned their WFP application will be processed without delay and they will be notified of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory) Applications

Ceisteanna (2690)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

2690. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average time for processing an application for a contributory State pension in 2019; the level of communication that usually takes place with the applicant during the processing of the application; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31949/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department is committed to ensuring that state pension (contributory) claims are processed as expeditiously as possible. The operational target for state pension (contributory) claims is 90% of timely applications awarded (where qualified) by entitlement date, currently the applicant's 66th birthday.

According to the latest figures available to end June 2019, the average processing time achieved is 6 weeks.

Processing of contributory pension claims depends on the individual nature of social insurance records and the applicant's circumstances. Communication with an applicant varies from cases to case, depending on the completeness of the application and the availability of the required information.

All my Department’s claims processing is kept under active review and this is also the case for state pension (contributory).

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (2691)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

2691. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the correct level of rent support applicable to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [31960/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Rent supplement is currently in payment in the case of the person concerned. Payment has been calculated based on the information provided by the person concerned regarding her means, including means from employment. Income assessed includes earnings based on a weekly average of €318.75 and additional income of €124 per week from working family payment (formally FIS). Rent supplement has been awarded at the rate of €688.56 per calendar month, which is the correct rate based on present income and family composition.

It is open to the person concerned to contact the Rents Unit if her circumstances have changed. Contact details are as follows:

Telephone: 01 6732155.

Post: Rent Unit, PO Box 1107, Newbridge, Co Kildare

Email: RentsSouthKildare@welfare.ie

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.