Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility

Ceisteanna (1886)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

1886. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which means are calculated in respect of a person’s house not occupied by him or her claiming a social welfare payment, the amount allowed for the mortgage and whether or not if rent received from the property is considered the value of the means as opposed to the value of the property less the mortgage; if the same means test rules apply to applications in respect of carer's allowance and supplementary welfare allowance applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36611/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Social welfare legislation provides that the means test takes account of the income and assets of the person (and spouse/partner, if applicable) applying for the relevant scheme. Income and assets include income from employment, self-employment, occupational pensions, maintenance payments as well as property owned (other than the family home) and capital such as savings, shares and other investments. The assessment of capital reflects the fact that there is an expectation that people with reasonable amounts of capital and property are in a position to use that capital or to realise the value of property to support themselves without having to rely solely on a means-tested welfare payment.

In the assessment of property, all second homes must be capable of being sold, let or put to profitable use before a capital value assessment is applied. If a property is let, the capital value of the property is assessed and the income from the letting is not assessed. Any outstanding mortgage registered against the property is deducted from the market value to find the capital value.

If a person leaves their home due to old age or incapacity, either on a temporary basis or indefinitely, the value of their home will not be assessed as means. However, if it is put to profitable use (for example, rented out), the capital value of the house will then be assessed as means.

The formula for assessing means from capital for all social welfare payments (except Disability Allowance and Supplementary Welfare Allowance) is as follows:

Capital

Weekly means assessed

First €20,000

Nil

Next €10,000

€1 per €1,000

Next €10,000

€2 per €1,000

Balance

€4 per €1,000

The formula for assessing means from capital for Disability Allowance is as follows:

Capital

Weekly means assessed

First €50,000

Nil

Next €10,000

€1 per €1,000

Next €10,000

€2 per €1,000

Balance (any capital over €70,000)

€4 per €1,000

The formula for assessing means from capital for Supplementary Welfare Allowance is as follows:

Capital

Weekly means assessed

First €5,000

Nil

Next €10,000

€1 per €1,000

Next €25,000

€2 per €1,000

Balance

€4 per €1,000

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Ceisteanna (1887, 1891, 1892, 1893)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1887. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost in 2020 for each one euro and each one per cent increase in each social welfare rate and principal adult social welfare rates, respectively. [36670/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1891. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated additional cost for each one euro and each one per cent increase in the qualified child payment in respect of children from 12 years of age and older. [36674/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1892. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost for each week the fuel allowance season is extended. [36675/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1893. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated first and full year cost for each one per cent increase and one euro increase in the rate of fuel allowance, respectively. [36676/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1887 and 1891 to 1893, inclusive, together.

The estimated cost for each week the fuel allowance season is extended is €8.4 million.

The estimated full year cost for each one per cent increase and one euro increase in the rate of fuel allowance is €2.4 million and €10.5 million respectively.

The estimated additional cost for each one euro and each one per cent increase in the qualified child payment in respect of children from 12 years of age and older is €6.1 million and €2.7 million, respectively.

The estimated cost in 2020 for each one euro and each one per cent increase in each social welfare rate and principal adult social welfare rates are shown in the following tables. (Totals may not be exact due to rounding).

It should be noted that these figures are subject to change in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2020.

1% increase in each payment rate

Personal

Qualified Adult

Total

Social Insurance Schemes

€m

€m

€m

State Pension (Contributory)

€50.92

€6.84

€57.76

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Con) Pension

Under 66yrs

€3.29

€3.29

Over 66Yrs

€12.49

€12.49

Deserted Wife's Benefit

Under 66yrs

€0.30

€0.30

Over 66Yrs

€0.78

€0.78

Invalidity Pension

€6.29

€0.52

€6.80

Partial Capacity Benefit

€0.19

€0.03

€0.21

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

€0.12

€0.12

Death Benefit Pension

€0.10

€0.10

Disablement Pension

€0.60

€0.60

Illness Benefit

€5.18

€0.24

€5.42

Injury Benefit

€0.08

€0.00

€0.09

Incapacity Supplement

€0.09

€0.01

€0.10

Jobseeker's Benefit

€3.55

€0.18

€3.74

Carer's Benefit

€0.31

€ -

€0.31

Maternity & Adoptive Benefit

€2.67

€ -

€2.67

Paternity Benefit

€0.14

€ -

€0.14

Total Social Insurance Schemes

€94.92

Social Assistance Schemes

State Pension (Non Con)

€11.76

€0.25

€12.01

Blind Person's Pension

€0.11

€0.01

€0.12

Widow/ers or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Con) Pension

€0.13

€0.13

Deserted Wife's Allowance

€0.01

€0.01

One-Parent Family Payment

€4.11

€4.11

Carer's Allowance

Under 66yrs

€5.24

€ -

€5.24

66yrs or Over

€0.27

€ -

€0.27

Half Rate Carer's Allowance

Under 66yrs

€1.40

€1.40

66yrs or Over

€0.95

€0.95

Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

€0.05

€0.05

Jobseeker's Allowance Max Rate

€14.06

€2.15

€16.20

JA age 18 to 24 on €107.70 rate

€0.67

€0.00

€0.67

JA age 25 on €152.80 rate

€0.15

€0.00

€0.15

Disability Allowance

€15.81

€1.09

€16.90

Farm Assist

€0.58

€0.16

€0.73

Employment Support Schemes (BTWA & BTEA)

€0.80

€0.11

€0.91

Employment/Internship Schemes (CE, Tús, RSS etc.)

€3.82

€0.51

€4.33

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

€1.72

€0.17

€1.90

Total Social Assistance Schemes

€66.08

OVERALL TOTAL

€148.73

€12.27

€161.00

€1 increase in each payment rate

Personal

Qualified Adult

Total

Social Insurance Schemes

€m

€m

€m

State Pension (Contributory)

€20.80

€2.80

€23.59

Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Con) Pension

Under 66yrs

€1.58

€1.58

Over 66Yrs

€5.06

€5.06

Deserted Wife's Benefit

Under 66yrs

€0.15

€0.15

Over 66Yrs

€0.32

€0.32

Invalidity Pension

€3.02

€0.24

€3.25

Partial Capacity Benefit

€0.09

€0.01

€0.11

Guardian's Payment (Contributory)

€0.06

€0.06

Death Benefit Pension

€0.04

€0.04

Disablement Pension

€0.25

€0.25

Illness Benefit

€2.54

€0.13

€2.67

Injury Benefit

€0.04

€0.00

€0.04

Incapacity Supplement

€0.04

€0.01

€0.05

Jobseeker's Benefit

€1.75

€0.10

€1.84

Carer's Benefit

€0.14

€ -

€0.14

Maternity & Adoptive Benefit

€1.09

€ -

€1.09

Paternity Benefit

€0.06

€ -

€0.06

Total Social Insurance Schemes

€40.3

Social Assistance Schemes

State Pension (Non Con)

€4.96

€0.11

€5.07

Blind Person's Pension

€0.06

€0.00

€0.06

Widow/ers or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Con) Pension

€0.07

€0.07

One-Parent Family Payment

€2.02

€2.02

Carer's Allowance

Under 66yrs

€2.39

€ -

€2.39

66yrs or Over

€0.10

€ -

€0.10

Half Rate Carer's Allowance

Under 66yrs

€0.64

€0.64

66yrs or Over

€0.37

€0.37

Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)

€0.03

€0.03

Jobseeker's Allowance Max Rate

€6.92

€1.16

€8.08

JA age 18 to 24 on €107.70 rate

€0.59

€0.00

€0.60

JA age 25 on €152.80 rate

€0.09

€0.00

€0.09

Disability Allowance

€7.79

€0.59

€8.38

Farm Assist

€0.28

€0.08

€0.37

Employment Support Schemes (BTWA & BTEA)

€0.40

€0.06

€0.46

Employment/Internship Schemes (CE, Tús, RSS etc.)

€1.69

€0.27

€1.97

Supplementary Welfare Allowance

€0.86

€0.09

€0.95

Total Social Assistance Schemes

€31.65

OVERALL TOTAL

€66.31

€5.65

€71.96

Direct Provision Payments

Question No. 1889 answered with Question No. 1762.

Ceisteanna (1888)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1888. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the cost in 2019 to date and in the previous four years of income and other supports to those accommodated under the direct provision system; and the number supported in 2019 and in the previous four years. [36671/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection administers the daily expenses allowance (DEA) which is paid to protection applicants living in accommodation provided by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of the Department of Justice and Equality. The Government has provided €9.38 million for the allowance in 2019. The weekly rates of payment were increased in Budget 2019 from €21.60 per adult to €38.80 and from €21.60 per child to €29.80.

There are currently 3,920 DEA claims in payment, in respect of approximately 4,300 adults and 1,770 children residing in direct provision accommodation centres and temporary emergency accommodation.

In addition, under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off, exceptional expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income. Applicants for international protection can access exceptional needs payments as these are not subject to the habitual residence condition which applies to most social welfare payments.

ENPs paid to persons in the direct provision system are largely towards clothing costs, transport costs and child related items such as prams/buggies. Supports may also be provided towards costs associated with moving into the community such as rent deposits and the purchase of items associated with setting up home.

Protection applicants with children may also access the back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA) as this is not subject to the habitual residence condition. This scheme provides a once-off payment to eligible families to assist with the extra costs when children start school each autumn. The Government has provided €57.2 million for the scheme in 2019 which operates from June to September.

Since 2018 applicants for international protection who have not received a first instance decision on their protection application for 9 months (and that delay cannot be attributed to the applicant) can apply for a renewable permission to take up employment/self-employment and have full access to the labour market. Such persons may access the Department’s Public Employment Service through the Department’s Intreo Centre network where Case Officers will assist, guide and support these clients in their job seeking efforts and/or educational needs. Where a protection applicant with children is in employment, they may qualify for the working family payment, subject to the rules of the scheme.

The following tabular statement provides details requested by the Deputy. Table 1 provides details of expenditure and numbers of claims under the daily expenses allowance scheme, previously the direct provision allowance.

Table 2 provides details of the number of payments made and expenditure under the ENP scheme to persons resident in direct provision accommodation centres in 2019 and in the previous four years. This includes payments to protection applicants and people who have received a decision on their application. In addition, ENPs are paid to applicants for international protection who are placed in temporary emergency accommodation but as this expenditure is not reported separately it is not included in this table.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Tabular statement

Table 1 Number of DEA Payments and Expenditure in the direct provision system

Year

Number of Claims

(at year end)

Expenditure

2015

2,990

€3.85m

2016

2,600

€3.99m

2017

3,080

€4.91m

2018

3,340

€6.36m (Provisional Outturn)

2019

3,920 (Aug 31st)

€9.38m (Revised Estimate)

Table 2: Number of ENPs and expenditure made to persons residing in direct provision accommodation centres, 2015-2019

Year

Number of Payments

Expenditure

2015

15,800

€1.26m

2016

18,100

€1.37m

2017

19,500

€1.50m

2018

22,500

€1.82m

2019 (up to 31/8/2019)

13,400

€1.10m

Question No. 1889 answered with Question No. 1762.

Parental Leave Expenditure

Questions Nos. 1891 to 1893, inclusive, answered with Question No. 1887.

Ceisteanna (1890)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1890. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full-year cost in 2020 of paid parental leave for each additional week added to the scheme. [36673/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

In Budget 2019 I announced the introduction of a new social insurance based parent’s benefit scheme to take effect in late 2019. The Department of Justice and Equality has responsibility for the legislation for the new parent’s leave and my Department is responsible for the associated parent's benefit.

The new scheme will provide two weeks paid leave to both parents, including those who adopt a child, who are employees or self-employed and who take parent’s leave from their employment to care for their child. This is in addition to existing maternity, paternity and adoptive leave entitlements. The scheme will support parents during the first year of the child's life, in line with the Programme for Government commitment. Child development outcomes are strongest when parents are facilitated to provide extended care for their children within the home during this first year.

Parent’s benefit will be paid at the same rate as existing maternity and paternity benefits at €245 per week. Two weeks parent’s benefit is estimated to cost approximately €32m in a full year. It estimated that each additional week of parent’s benefit will cost €15.8m in a full year.

There will also be additional costs for employers covering substitution pay costs. Public service pay costs is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

Decisions around the extension of parent's benefit would have to be considered in a budgetary context and the impact of additional leave on employers.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Questions Nos. 1891 to 1893, inclusive, answered with Question No. 1887.

Fuel Allowance Data

Question No. 1895 answered with Question No. 1786.

Ceisteanna (1894)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1894. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost for each one euro increase in the income means test applied to the fuel allowance scheme. [36677/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Fuel allowance is paid to people who are dependent on long-term social welfare payments and who are unable to provide for their own heating needs. Recipients of non-contributory social welfare payments who are eligible to apply for fuel allowance are accepted as satisfying the means test.

The fuel allowance means test is linked to the maximum rate of the state pension (contributory); fuel allowance applicants and members of their household may have a combined assessable income of up to €100 a week above this rate. The income means test applied to the fuel allowance scheme automatically increases with the state pension (contributory) rate.

The Department is compiling the data requested and will forward it to the Deputy as soon as it is available.

Question No. 1895 answered with Question No. 1786.

Community Employment Schemes Operation

Questions Nos. 1897 and 1898 answered with Question No. 1769.

Ceisteanna (1896)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1896. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to a decision by Solas to withdraw community employment staff from a family resource centre (details supplied) following antisocial behaviour in the vicinity; the steps she will take to ensure staff can return to their placements and resume the provision of services in view of the essential family support services which this centre provides to the highly vulnerable local community. [36693/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department supports a number of Community Employment (CE) projects in the Ballymun area who in turn place CE participants with local resource centres.

CE participants are employed directly by CE Sponsor organisations, who are independent companies and employers in their own right. These sponsoring bodies are responsible for the health and safety policies for their employees in accordance with all relevant Health and Safety legislation, and the Department has no role in this regard.

I trust this matter clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Questions Nos. 1897 and 1898 answered with Question No. 1769.

Carer's Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (1899)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

1899. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if outstanding arrears due to a person (details supplied) will issue with regard to carer's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36785/19]

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.

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.

An application for CA was received from the person concerned on 28 September 2017.

The evidence before the deciding officer showed that the person concerned was engaged in employment outside the home in excess of 15 hours per week.

Accordingly, the person concerned was notified on 20 October 2018 that he was not entitled to CA, the reason for it and of his right of review and appeal.

The person concerned requested an appeal of this decision and submitted additional evidence to show that he was not working in excess of 15 hours per week.

Following this appeal the person concerned was awarded CA on 16 July 2019, with effect from 28 September 2017 and the first payment issued to his nominated bank account on 25 July 2019.

I can confirm that arrears of CA due from 28 September 2017 to 24 July 2019, will issue to the nominated bank account of the person concerned on 12 September 2019.

The person concerned was notified of this on 5 September 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (1900)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

1900. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a disability allowance by a person (details supplied); if same will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36787/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance with effect from 3 July 2019. The first payment will be made by her chosen payment method on 25 September 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 (if applicable).

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (1901)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

1901. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); if same will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36788/19]

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 5 March 2019.

The application was referred to a local social welfare inspector (SWI) to assess the level of care being provided, assess means and confirm that all the conditions for receipt of carer’s allowance are satisfied.

It is a condition for receipt of CA that every claimant shall furnish such certificates, documents, information and evidence as may be required for the purposes of deciding the claim. The person concerned failed to provide the SWI with information that was required to determine if her means were below the statutory limit.

As the requested information was not supplied it was decided that the person concerned was not entitled to CA.

The person concerned was notified on 3 September 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Ceisteanna (1902)

Willie Penrose

Ceist:

1902. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a social welfare appeal with regard to a carer's allowance by a person (details supplied); if same will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36790/19]

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 12 December 2018. The claim was disallowed on the grounds that the medical conditions for the scheme were not satisfied. She was notified on 16 May 2019 of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of review and appeal.

She requested an appeal of this decision and submitted further medical evidence in support of her request. Following a review of all the information available the Deciding Officer is satisfied that the medical conditions for the scheme are satisfied. The Deciding Officer wrote to the lady on 04 September 2019 requesting her birth certificate. As soon as this information has been received the IP claim will be finalised as quickly as possible and she will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

School Meals Programme

Ceisteanna (1903)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1903. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address the situation in which schools (details supplied) have been left out of a school meals initiative in Ballymun, Dublin 9 and 11 when the profile of these schools is the same as the schools that have been included; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36839/19]

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.

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.

Funding for additional clubs can only be considered where a historical entitlement exists. No historical entitlement to an additional club exists for these three schools.

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.

JobPath Programme

Ceisteanna (1904)

John Brassil

Ceist:

1904. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will direct Turas Nua to cease contacting a person (details supplied) in view of the fact that they are in employment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36841/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department selects long-term unemployed jobseekers for a range of activation supports and those most distant from the labour market to secure and sustain full-time paid employment. These supports include the JobPath service.

Certain groups of people are excluded from referral to JobPath, one such group being Education Sector Workers.

As a school warden the customer in question is an Education Sector Worker, however, due to a clerical error they were referred for activation support to JobPath but the person in question has been withdrawn with immediate effect. My officials have advised that their claim is now correctly categorised, which will ensure that if they remain as an education sector worker, they will not be selected again for referral to JobPath during periods of unemployment.

I trust this clarifies matters for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits

Ceisteanna (1905)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

1905. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the action she plans to take to address the need to expedite the processing of carer's allowance and benefit applications (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [36911/19]

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.

Carer's benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based payment, made to persons who are providing full-time care and attention to a person who has such a disability that they require that level of care.

My Department is committed to providing a quality service to all its customers. This includes ensuring that applications are processed as quickly as possible.

In general, social welfare schemes with a number of complex qualifying conditions can take longer to process. In some cases the documentary evidence provided at initial application stage is incomplete or insufficient and this can lead to delays in processing.

At the end of July 2019 the average waiting time for a decision on a new CA claim and CARB claim was 14 weeks. Where any scheme area experiences delays, all possible steps are taken to improve processing times. This includes the assignment of additional resources, where available, and the review of business processes, to ensure the efficient processing of applications. Work is currently underway to re-assign a number of staff on a temporary basis to assist with claim processing. The position will be kept under active review to ensure waiting times are reduced.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Benefits Data

Ceisteanna (1906)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

1906. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the cost of restoring the weekly income disregard to €165.62 for all lone parents receiving the one parent family payment, jobseeker's transitional payment and jobseeker's allowance. [36928/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The cost of increasing the value of the weekly income disregard for all lone parents receiving the One Parent Family Payment, Jobseekers Transitional Payment and Jobseekers Allowance to €165.62 for 2019 would be approximately €12.4 million euro.

The costings do not take into account potential behavioural changes or the inflow of new entrants that could arise from the introduction of higher income disregards and which could give rise to additional costs.

Social and Affordable Housing Eligibility

Ceisteanna (1907)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

1907. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will review the scenario whereby a family qualifies for the working family payment but receipt of the payment puts it above the income threshold for social housing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34976/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Applications for social housing support are assessed by the relevant local authority, in accordance with the eligibility and need criteria set down in section 20 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and the associated Social Housing Assessment Regulations 2011, as amended.

The 2011 Regulations prescribe maximum net income limits for each local authority, in different bands according to the area concerned, with income being defined and assessed according to a standard Household Means Policy. The 2011 Regulations do not provide local authorities with any discretion to exceed the limits that apply to their administrative areas.

Under the Household Means Policy, which applies in all local authorities, net income for social housing assessment is defined as gross household income less income tax, and the universal social charge. Most payments received from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection are assessable, including the Working Family Payment (formerly Family Income Supplement). The Policy provides for a range of income disregards, and local authorities also have discretion to decide to disregard income that is temporary, short-term or once off in nature.

The income bands and the authority area assigned to each band were based on an assessment of the income needed to provide for a household's basic needs, plus a comparative analysis of the local rental cost of housing accommodation across the country. It is important to note that the limits introduced at that time also reflected a blanket increase of €5,000 introduced prior to the new system coming into operation, in order to broaden the base from which social housing tenants are drawn, both promoting sustainable communities and also providing a degree of future-proofing.

Given the cost to the State of providing social housing, it is considered prudent and fair to direct resources to those most in need of social housing support. The current income eligibility requirements generally achieve this, providing for a fair and equitable system of identifying those households facing the greatest challenge in meeting their accommodation needs from their own resources.

However, as part of the broader social housing reform agenda, a review of income eligibility for social housing supports in each local authority area is underway. The review will also have regard to current initiatives being brought forward in terms of affordability and cost rental and will be completed when the impacts of these parallel initiatives have been considered.

Environmental Impact Assessments

Ceisteanna (1908)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

1908. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his views on whether the system applied here under Directive 2011/92/EU adequately minimises damage to the environment from public and private projects; if he will undertake a review of the system in order to address gaps in the implementation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35113/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The objective of Directive 2011/92/EU, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive, is to ensure a high level of protection of the environment and of human health through the establishment of minimum requirements for the environmental impact assessment of projects. The EIA Directive therefore ensures that certain public and private projects that are likely to have significant effects on the environment may only be granted consent after an assessment with regard to their effects on the environment has been carried out.

Directive 2011/92/EU has been amended by Directive 2014/52/EU in order to strengthen the quality of the EIA procedures. There are numerous consent systems in Ireland which incorporate EIA and which are governed by separate pieces of legislation that are the responsibility of different Government Departments. In this context, transposing legislation implementing the changes required by Directive 2014/52/EU in respect of a number of these consent systems has already been completed while the remaining legislative amendments required are being progressed as a priority across the relevant Government Departments. In respect of the consent systems governed by legislation which falls under the remit of my Department, the 2014 Directive has been fully transposed into planning legislation by way of the European Union (Planning and Development) (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2018, which entered into force 1 September 2018 and I consider that the planning system fully implements the EIA Directive, as amended. My Department is working to finalise transposing legislation as a matter of priority in relation to the foreshore licensing, dumping at sea permit and waste water discharge authorisation systems.

Having regard to the significant work both completed and underway by the relevant Departments to transpose Directive 2014/52/EU into Irish law, involving extensive review of the legislation underpinning the various consent systems which incorporate EIA, these systems will fully implement the EIA Directive, as amended, once the transposition of Directive 2014/52/EU has been finalised across all relevant consent systems in Ireland which incorporate EIA.

Environmental Protection Enforcement

Ceisteanna (1909)

Michael Moynihan

Ceist:

1909. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the regulations regarding the spreading of slurry; if there are specific distances from households that spreading is not permitted; his plans to introduce new rules in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35708/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2017 give legal effect in Ireland to the Nitrates Directive and to our Nitrates Action Programme (NAP). The Regulations focus, inter alia, on the management of livestock manures and other fertilisers. In accordance with the requirements of these regulations, all fertilisers (including slurry) must be stored and managed in a responsible manner to ensure the protection of water quality. The Regulations do not specify distances in relation to spreading fertiliser in proximity to dwellings. However, in order to protect water quality, they do include provisions regarding the required distances for spreading organic fertiliser from a surface watercourse, a borehole and a spring or well used for the abstraction of water for human consumption. Local authorities, under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), are the authorities charged with the monitoring and enforcement of these regulations.

Regional Development Policy

Ceisteanna (1910)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

1910. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if progress has been made with respect to the regional spatial and economic strategy since 3 May 2019, which is being produced by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36330/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The making of a Regional Spatial and Economic Strategy (RSES) is a function of the relevant Regional Assembly, in this case the North West Regional Assembly (NWRA), under Section 21 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).

The NWRA, at its meeting on 9 November 2018, adopted a Draft RSES for public consultation. Further to a ten-week statutory public consultation period and the preparation of a Director's Report on submissions made, the Assembly, at a meeting on 26 April 2019, agreed to make a series of material and non-material amendments to the draft RSES.

Further to the local elections and subsequent nominations from local authorities to form a new Assembly, the incoming Regional Assembly met on 25 July 2019 to consider material amendments to the draft RSES. The amendments were placed on display on 4 August 2019 for a period of public consultation that will run until 11 October 2019.

Further to consideration of submissions on material amendments by Assembly members, it is envisaged that the final RSES will be adopted during November 2019. The adoption of the RSES will require the review and update processes in respect of City and County Development Plans in the Northern and Western Regional Assembly area to commence within six months, or if relevant, recommence within three months.