Working Family Payment Applications

Ceisteanna (1836)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1836. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a working family payment application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35617/19]

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 children. In order to qualify for WFP, an applicant must have a qualified child and be engaged in full-time paid employment as an employee for not less than 38 hours per fortnight.

To qualify for Working Family Payment a person must be in employment working a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight as defined in legislation Article 175 of S.I 142/2007.

Working family payment for the person concerned was due for renewal on 4 July 2019. From the information provided and our records at the time of renewal the person concerned did not meet the condition of being in employment for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight and the claim was disallowed.

The person concerned has appealed the decision and the file has been referred to the Appeals Office.

I trust this clarifies the matter.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (1837)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

1837. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a disability allowance will be approved for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35619/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned submitted an application for disability allowance (DA) on 14 June 2019. Their application, based upon all the evidence submitted, was refused on medical grounds as it was not found that this gentleman was substantially restricted in taking up employment.

The person concerned was notified in writing of this decision on 22 August 2019 and was also notified of their right to request a review of this decision or to appeal it to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Benefit Eligibility

Ceisteanna (1838)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

1838. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a special needs assistant who worked full-time before switching to part-time work and then was made redundant would be assessed for social supports based on the assistant's time as a part-time worker only or would also have his or her record as a full-time worker considered when calculating his or her rate of social welfare support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35621/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Jobseeker's Benefit (JB) and Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) are the two main income supports available from my Department to people who have lost work and are unable to find alternative full time employment. JB is a social insurance based scheme and applicants must have sufficient insurance contributions to qualify. If a person is not entitled to JB they may be able to claim the means tested JA support.

To qualify for JB a person must be available for and genuinely seeking full time employment. They must also be fully unemployed for four days in any period of seven consecutive days. The social insurance contribution condition for JB requires a jobseeker to have at least 104 weeks qualifying PRSI contributions paid since they first started work and 39 weeks qualifying PRSI contributions paid or credited in the relevant tax year, or 26 weeks qualifying PRSI paid in the relevant tax year and 26 weeks qualifying PRSI paid in the tax year immediately before the relevant tax year. The relevant tax year is the second last complete tax year before the year in which the JB claim was made. So, for claims made in 2019 the relevant tax year is 2017. This requirement demonstrates that the person has a reasonable connection to the workforce.

The rate of payment of JB is graduated according to a person's earnings in the relevant tax year rather than by the number of hours they worked in that year. The reason for the link between the rate of payment and the person's earnings is to ensure that disincentives to employment are not created. Details of the graduated JB rates are shown in the table below:

Average Weekly Earnings

Personal Rate

Increase for a Qualified Adult (IQA)

Less than €150

€91.10

€87.20

€150.00-€219.99

€131.00

€87.20

€220.00-€299.99

€159.00

€87.20

€300.00 or more

€203.00

€134.70

Where a person does not qualify for JB or has an entitlement to JB at a lower graduated rate they can opt to apply for JA. Depending on the person's means they may be entitled to the maximum personal rate of JA which is the same as the maximum personal rate for JB.

The Deputy should advise the person concerned to contact their local Intreo Centre to discuss the appropriate support for their particular circumstances.

I trust this information is useful for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Question No. 1840 answered with Question No. 1769.

Question No. 1841 answered with Question No. 1764.

Ceisteanna (1839)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1839. 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. [35624/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Following the submission of further medical evidence by the person concerned, their case has been reviewed and they have been awarded disability allowance with effect from 23 January 2019. The first payment was made on 28 August 2019.

Arrears of payment due issued to the person concerned on 23 August 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 1840 answered with Question No. 1769.
Question No. 1841 answered with Question No. 1764.

Departmental Customer Charters

Ceisteanna (1842)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

1842. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of complaints her Department received under the customer service charter in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; if her attention has been drawn to issues and-or problems in having complaints registered; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35643/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) is committed to delivering an excellent Customer Service experience. My Department aims to provide the best possible service at all times, ensuring all customers are served in a fair, courteous and timely manner, be informed of their rights and entitlements, be provided with full and clear information and have their privacy respected.

If a person is dissatisfied with the standard of service that they have received, in the first instance, they are advised to convey their concerns to the section of the Department with which they have been dealing. If the issue is not resolved to their satisfaction, a person can submit a formal complaint, either locally or to the Department's dedicated Customer Service Unit.

The predominant way that such feedback is received is online, using the Customer Feedback Form, which is accessed on the Department's website at: https://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/secure/Submit-a-comment-or-compliment.aspx

Alternatively, a person can make contact by phone, letter, email or speak to a member of staff in any of our Intreo offices around the country.

Once a comment, compliment or complaint is received, an acknowledgement is issued within three working days including a reference number. Complaints are then forwarded to the Customer Service Officer(s) within the relevant business area(s) to be investigated and responded to within 15 working days. If it is not possible to issue a response within that timeframe, an interim response will issue and provide an expected completion date. All complaints are dealt with promptly, fairly and impartially, and the outcome of the investigation will be reflected in the final response.

If the response is not satisfactory, a review of the complaint can be requested, with an explanation to why they are unhappy with the original response. A review is conducted by another Customer Service Officer, in many cases the line manager of the original responder.

If the review does not resolve the issue, the complainant is advised that they can contact the Office of the Ombudsman to seek to have the matter examined by that office.

1,045 complaints/ comments were registered in 2017.

1,810 complaints/ comments registered in 2018.

971 complaints/ comments registered in the year to end July 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pensions Reform

Ceisteanna (1843)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

1843. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a change to the calculation for the State pension (contributory) will be introduced for those who are unable to avail of the home caring periods scheme or the homemaker’s scheme (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35665/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

A policy to introduce the Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pensions calculation was adopted by Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010, as was the decision to base the entitlements of all new pensioners on this approach from late 2020.

In January 2018, I announced the Government Decision to introduce a new interim Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to the calculation of State Pension that will allow pensioners who reached pension age from September 2012 (i.e., those born on or after 1 September 1946), to have their pension entitlement calculated by an interim “Total Contributions Approach” (TCA) which will include up to 20 years of new HomeCaring Periods. This approach is expected to significantly benefit many people, particularly women, whose work history includes an extended period of time outside the paid workplace, while raising families or in a caring role. The TCA will ensure that the totality of a person’s social insurance contributions - as opposed to the timing of them - determines their final pension outcome. The HomeCaring Periods can be claimed for any year in which they occurred - they are not limited to years since 1994.

People whose pensions were decided under the 2000-2012 ratebands (i.e., those born before 1 September 1946) were subject to a significantly more generous payment regime than those who qualified before or afterwards, as a Yearly Average of only 20 contributions per year (out of a maximum of 52) could attract a 98% pension. The effect of those changes, as it impacted upon those new pensioners since 2012, will be familiar to anyone who followed the debate on this matter over the last 6 years. If pre-2012 pensioners were also allowed avail of HomeCaring Credits, their arrangements, as a group, would continue to be significantly more generous than those of post-2012 pensioners. There would also be a very significant cost which would be expected to be of the order of several hundred millions of euros each year. This in turn could significantly impact funds for future pension increases with consequential implications for pensioner poverty.

For those with insufficient contributions to meet the requirements for a State pension (contributory), they may qualify for a means tested State pension (non-contributory), the maximum personal rate for which is €237 (over 95% of the maximum rate of the contributory pension). This rate of payment does not include rent allowance, household benefits or fuel allowance. Alternatively, if their spouse is a State pensioner and they have significant household means, their most beneficial payment may be an Increase for a Qualified Adult, based on their personal means, and amounting up to 90% of a full contributory pension.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (1844)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1844. 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. [35688/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I can confirm that the Department received an application for disability allowance (DA) from the person concerned on 9 November 2018. This application for DA was refused on failing to supply the information which was requested by a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) and they were notified in writing of this decision on 21 March 2019.

This gentleman requested a review of the decision by a deciding officer (DO) and submitted additional evidence for consideration on 12 June 2019. The application has been referred back to the 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 the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (1845)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1845. 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. [35689/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned submitted an application for disability allowance (DA) on 29 May 2019. Their application, based upon all the evidence submitted, was refused on medical grounds as it was not found that this gentleman was substantially restricted in taking up employment.

The person concerned was notified in writing of this decision on 21 August 2019 and was also notified of their right to request a review of this decision or to appeal it to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Question No. 1847 answered with Question No. 1805.

Ceisteanna (1846)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1846. 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. [35690/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned submitted an application for disability allowance (DA) on 17 April 2019. Their application, based upon all the evidence submitted, was refused on medical grounds as it was not found that this lady was substantially restricted in taking up employment.

The person concerned was notified in writing of this decision on 8 August 2019 and was also notified of their right to request a review of this decision or to appeal it to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 1847 answered with Question No. 1805.

Disability Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (1848)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1848. 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. [35692/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised by the Social Welfare Appeals Office that an Appeals Officer, having fully considered all of the available evidence, including that deduced at the oral hearing, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned. The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer's decision on 19 July 2019.

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 trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment Applications

Ceisteanna (1849)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

1849. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a decision has been made on an application for the working family payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35730/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

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

An application for WFP was received from the person concerned on 08 August 2019.

The person concerned has been awarded WFP with effect from 08 August 2019 to 05 August 2020. The first weekly payment and all arrears owing will issue to their selected financial account on 27 August 2019.

The person concerned was notified on 23 August 2019 of this decision and of the right of review and appeal.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (1850)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1850. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35749/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I can confirm that my Department received an application for disability allowance (DA) from this lady on 17 May 2019.

On 27 August 2019 the person concerned was requested to supply supporting documentation required by the deciding officer in order to make a decision on her eligibility. On receipt of this information a decision will be made on her DA application and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (1851)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1851. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35762/19]

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 child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 21 August 2019. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Rent Supplement Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (1852)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

1852. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a rent support increase will be arranged in the case of a person (details supplied) notwithstanding replies to previous Parliamentary Questions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35780/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned had their Rent Supplement claim reviewed in April 2019. The amount payable did not change as there was no change in circumstances.

My Department has not been made aware of any change in the person's circumstances since this review. If there has been a change in circumstances, such as an increase in rent, the person concerned should contact my Department and seek a new review of their Rent Supplement claim.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Overpayments

Ceisteanna (1853)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

1853. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the basis on which a person (details supplied) came to receive an overpayment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35781/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned is in receipt of a weekly basic supplementary welfare allowance payment (BASI). One of the qualifying conditions for this payment is that a person must satisfy a means test and other social welfare payments are assessable as means.

The spouse of the person concerned is currently in receipt of a half-rate carer's allowance payment. An overpayment occurred as the half-rate carer's payment was not assessed as means at the time of application. Carer's allowance payment has now been assessed as means with effect from 11/7/19 and the weekly BASI payment has been reduced accordingly.

This Department notified the person concerned by letter dated 26/7/19 that it would recover the resulting debt by reducing his weekly BASI payment by 15% of his personal rate. The person concerned was given the opportunity to advise the Department of any facts or circumstances that may be relevant to the repayment of the debt. The person concerned was also advised that overpayment deductions would begin 3 weeks from the date of the letter.

There has been no contact to date from the person concerned regarding the recoupment of the debt, but the community welfare officer will contact the person concerned to discuss the reduction of the weekly repayment.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (1854)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

1854. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when an application for carer's allowance will be processed and approved in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35783/19]

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 child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care.

An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 23 July 2019. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (1855)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

1855. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which provision can be made to facilitate a partial social welfare payment in the case of a person (details supplied); the extent to which payment is available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35791/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Based on the evidence supplied in support of their application for disability allowance (DA), this person’s application was disallowed on the grounds that the medical qualifying condition was not satisfied. They were notified in writing of this decision on 20 March 2019.

The person concerned requested an appeal of the decision. The social welfare appeals office (SWAO) decided that the medical qualifying condition was satisfied and the DA was awarded to the person concerned with effect from 30 January 2019.

DA is a means-tested payment. Means have been assessed from the employment of the person concerned and a reduced amount of DA was awarded. If the circumstances of the person have changed they can request a review of their means and we can adjust their DA payment accordingly.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Partial Capacity Benefit Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (1856)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

1856. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a decision has been made on an application for partial capacity benefit by a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35798/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Partial Capacity Benefit allows a person who has been in receipt of Illness Benefit for six months and who may not have full capacity for work, to return to employment and continue to receive a full or partial payment from the Department.

The rate of payment is based on the assessment of the person's restriction on capacity for work; either moderate, severe or profound, and the person retains 50%, 75%, or 100% of their Illness Benefit payment respectively.

The Partial Capacity Benefit claim from the person concerned has been processed. A letter issued on the 27th August 2019 informing her that she has been assessed as having a moderate restriction on her capacity for work.

The person concerned should inform the Department in advance of starting work in order for her Partial Capacity Benefit to be put into payment.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals Status

Ceisteanna (1857)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

1857. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an oral hearing for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35839/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that the appeal from the person concerned was referred to an Appeals Officer who has decided to convene an oral hearing in this case.

The arrangements for this oral hearing will be finalised by the end of this week and the appellant will be informed when arrangements for the oral hearing have been made.

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 trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Ceisteanna (1858)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

1858. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will be made on an invalidity pension review claim by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35972/19]

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 lady concerned on 07 February 2019. Her claim was disallowed on the grounds that the medical conditions for the scheme were not satisfied. She was notified on 24 May 2019 of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of review or appeal.

The lady concerned requested a review and lodged an appeal of the decision to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO) and submitted further medical evidence in support of her request. Following a review of all the information available to date, it has been decided that there is no change to the original decision. A submission has been prepared by the Department and forwarded to the SWAO for determination.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Blind Person's Pension Data

Ceisteanna (1859)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

1859. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of persons in receipt of the blind pension at year end 2018, by gender and county. [36027/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The number of persons in receipt of Blind Pension at end of 2018 was 1,174. The breakdown of gender and county are detailed below:

County

Male

Female

Total

Carlow

15

8

23

Cavan

9

3

12

Clare

10

4

14

Cork

49

44

93

Donegal

30

33

63

Dublin

157

158

315

Galway

44

24

68

Kerry

24

22

46

Kildare

21

10

31

Kilkenny

13

14

27

Laois

12

11

23

Leitrim

3

3

6

Limerick

25

24

49

Longford

7

4

11

Louth

27

15

42

Mayo

24

23

47

Meath

14

17

31

Monaghan

8

3

11

Offaly

12

15

27

Roscommon

6

5

11

Sligo

14

24

38

Tipperary

25

21

46

Waterford

16

19

35

Westmeath

9

15

24

Wexford

22

30

52

Wicklow

18

11

29

Total

614

560

1174

Blind Welfare Allowance

Ceisteanna (1860)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

1860. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to introduce a measure to disregard the blind welfare allowance for means testing purposes; the full-year cost of disregarding the blind welfare allowance in the means test for the disability allowance; the number of persons affected; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36028/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The blind welfare allowance is a means-tested payment from the Health Service Executive to people who are blind or visually impaired. The allowance is paid to eligible people from 18 years of age.

Blind welfare allowance is considered as means when applying for disability allowance and means are calculated in accordance with Part 2 of Schedule 3 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 as amended. All cash income to the person (and, where relevant, to the person’s spouse, civil partner or cohabitant) is assessed except for specific exclusions.

There are currently just over 3,700 people receiving the blind welfare allowance. It is estimated that about 760 recipients of means tested payments from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection would be impacted by disregarding this allowance in the calculation of their means. The estimated full year cost of this disregard is €2.3 million.

Any changes to the treatment of blind welfare allowance in the means testing of social welfare payments would need to be considered in an overall budgetary context.