Free Travel Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (618, 619)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

618. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the funding provided for the free travel scheme from 2008 to date. [36996/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

619. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which the free travel scheme fund has been distributed to specific transport companies from 2008 to date by company. [36998/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 618 and 619 together.

The free travel scheme permits free travel on most CIE public transport services, Luas and a range of services offered by some 80 private operators in various parts of the country for those eligible under the scheme. The scheme is available to all people aged over 66 living permanently in the State. Applicants who are under age 66 must be in receipt of a qualifying payment in order to be eligible for the scheme and permanently, legally reside in the State.

There are currently 955,792, customers in receipt of Free Travel as of the end of August 2019.

A full list of the moneys paid to the transport companies and the overall budget allocation for the free travel scheme covering the years from 2008 to 2018 is available at the following link:

Free Travel Scheme

The 2019 free travel budget allocation is €95 million.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Public Services Card

Ceisteanna (620)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

620. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent of external legal advice and-or consultancy she engaged on the issue of the report of the Commissioner for Data Protection into issues pertaining to the public services card in 2018 to 4 September 2019; the name of the consultants engaged and cost of same over the period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37007/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

In my Department's consideration of the draft report of the Data Protection Commission (DPC) on the Public Services Card in 2018 and the final report received by my Department in August 2019, my officials consulted with the Attorney General's Office (AGO).

External counsel also contributed to the examination of both the draft and final reports. Counsel was engaged via the AGO, as is the normal protocol for Government Departments.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pensions Payments

Ceisteanna (621)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

621. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason the denominator is 40 when reassessing the pension entitlements of a person (details supplied) under the total contributions approach; the further reason the person could not benefit from homecaring period credits under the long average method; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37033/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

For those people who reached state pension age since September 2012, two different methods of calculating their entitlement to a contributory state pension are used, those being the Yearly Averaging (YA) approach used since the inception of the contributory pension in 1961 and an interim Total Contributions Approach (TCA).  The customer receives the higher rate of the two calculations.  There are several different elements involved in each calculating method.  The elements which make up each method are set out in the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005, as amended.  The specific legislation allowing for the introduction of the interim TCA and amending the Consolidation Act in that regard is contained in The Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018, as signed into law on 24 December 2018.

The National Pensions Framework (2010) (NPF) announced that the Government would introduce a new method for calculating State pension contributory (SPC) entitlements, from 2020.  It proposed that the current YA system be replaced with a TCA which would make the level of pension paid “directly proportionate to the number of social insurance contributions made by a person over his or her working life.” 

When the Government decided, in January 2018, to announce an interim TCA option for those who had been affected by the change in rate bands in September 2012, 40 years of contributions was set as the requirement for a full rate pension.  Crucially though this interim TCA facilitates up to 20 years of HomeCaring periods to be added to paid contributions to increase a person’s rate.  In addition, no start date was imposed on this facility (i.e., periods from before April 1994 were now allowed).  It effectively meant that the minimum number of paid contributions of 20 years needed for a full rate pension would be as the National Pensions Framework suggested.  However the additional scope for home caring would allow more people, particularly women who took time out of the work place to care for children and others, to earn a higher or the full rate pension.

The person in question applied for a pension and was assessed under the YA calculation method with having a yearly average of 37 based on 1,203 reckonable paid contributions and 94 reckonable credited contributions over 35 years.  This placed the person into the 30-39 rate band which equates to a payment rate equal to 89.89% of the maximum rate pension in 2019 rates.  When the person was assessed under the interim TCA, an additional 39 paid contributions, made in the person's 66th year, were included in the calculation (under the YA approach, contributions made after the end of the year in which the person attains 65 years of age are not counted as it can often result in a lower yearly average with a potentially lower pension payment rate).  This assessment resulted in a payment rate equal to 89.52% of the maximum rate pension based on 1,242 reckonable paid contributions combined with 526 HomeCaring periods and 94 reckonable credits.

As the person is already in receipt of 89.89% of the maximum rate of pension under the YA approach, it is more financially beneficial for them to remain on their existing payment.  A review outcome letter was issued informing the person concerned that their existing rate of payment will continue unchanged.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory)

Ceisteanna (622)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

622. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of plans to implement a total contributions approach in relation to the State pension (contributory); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37035/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The introduction of a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to establishing the level of entitlement for all new state pension contributory claims was signalled by the then Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010.  At that time it set a target date of 2020 for the implementation of TCA.  More recently, the Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023 targeted implementation of the TCA from Q3 of 2020.  This is subject to the necessary legislation being enacted and supporting structures being in place.   

Consultation is a very important part of the development and design of the new pension.  With this in mind, I launched a public consultation on the design of the TCA on the 28th of May 2018 to which a wide variety of stakeholder groups were invited.  A number of workshops were also held on the day to elicit views and feedback. 

Shortly afterwards, Oireachtas members were invited to a detailed briefing by my officials in Leinster House.  The consultation was open for over 3 months and the Department received almost 300 responses from individuals and organisations.  Those submissions outlined the views of respondents on the issues of most interest to them including how self-employed people and Class S PRSI contributions since 1988 could be treated.

Having carefully examined the outputs of the consultation process, my Department is now designing the scheme and I intend to shortly bring a proposal to Government setting out that design. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Ceisteanna (623)

Peter Fitzpatrick

Ceist:

623. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason for the delay in an invalidity pension appeal by a person (details supplied). [37051/19]

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, has decided to allow the appeal of the person concerned by way of a summary decision on 05 September 2019.  The person concerned has been notified of the Appeals Officer’s decision. 

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has also advised me that a number of new Appeals Officers have joined the Appeals Office over the past 12-18 months, to replace staff leaving on retirement.  While it is regretted that there has been a delay in this case, given the complexity of the appeals process it takes some time for new staff to be trained up and develop expertise and this has led to somewhat longer processing times during this period.  The Chief Appeals Officer has advised me that appeal processing times continue to be a priority for her Office.

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.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (624)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

624. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an application for carer's benefit by a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37065/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

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.  

An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on 8 July 2019. 

The application was awarded to the person concerned with effect from 18 July 2019 when her carer’s leave commenced. The first payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 26 September 2019. 

Arrears of benefit due from 18 July 2019 to 25 September 2019 will also issue to her bank on 26 September 2019.  

The person concerned was notified on 10 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.

Illness Benefit Payments

Ceisteanna (625)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

625. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason workers that take sick leave receive no financial support for the first six days of leave; her plans to amend the legislation in this regard; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37113/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Illness benefit is a short term payment made to insured people who are unable to work due to illness.  The payment is funded by the social insurance fund (SIF) through the payment of PRSI contributions by workers and employers and, in the event of a shortfall between contributions received and benefits paid, the Exchequer.  The fund is central to Ireland’s system of social protection and the Government needs to ensure that it can provide adequate and sustainable social insurance pensions and benefits for a growing and ageing population.

Current arrangements provide that payment of illness benefit begins from the seventh day of the illness.  No payment is made for the first six days, known as “waiting days”.  Waiting days have been a long standing feature of the social insurance system and are a feature of similar social security schemes in many other countries.  When the current waiting day arrangements for illness benefit were changed in 2014 to six days from the previous three, the then projected full-year annual savings of extending the number of waiting days was €22 million per year.  

In many instances where occupational sick pay arrangements are in place, employees in effect continue to receive their income from employers.  For those who do not have access to such assistance but need financial support during waiting days, they may apply for supplementary welfare allowance.

The Department regularly reviews its supports and payments schemes to ensure that they continue to meet their objectives.  Given the cost implications, any change to the current arrangements would have to be considered in an overall policy and budgetary context.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (626)

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

626. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if assistance will be offered in processing a carer's benefit application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37126/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Carer's Benefit (CARB) is a PRSI based payment, made to a person 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.

Before a decision can be made on entitlement to CARB, evidence must be provided in respect of the care recipient’s care requirement, the level of care the carer provides, the carer’s hours of employment and their PRSI record.  

An application for CARB was received from the person concerned on 22 August 2019.

Additional information in relation to the person’s application was requested by a deciding officer on 27 August 2019.

Once the information is received the application will be processed and the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (627)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

627. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision in respect of an invalidity pension will be issued in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37132/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The gentleman referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 09 May 2019.  Payment will issue to his nominated bank account on 19 September 2019.  Any arrears due from 09 May 2019 to 18 September 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue as soon as possible.  The gentleman in question was notified of this decision on 09 September 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Payments

Ceisteanna (628)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

628. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a basic social welfare payment will be approved in case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37133/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The gentleman referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 09 May 2019.  Payment will issue to his nominated bank account on 19 September 2019.  Any arrears due from 09 May 2019 to 18 September 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue as soon as possible.  The gentleman in question was notified of this decision on 09 September 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Review

Ceisteanna (629)

Patrick O'Donovan

Ceist:

629. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision will issue in relation to a carer's allowance review request by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37171/19]

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 the evidence, disallowed the appeals of the person concerned relating to carer's allowance applications in respect of her parents by way of  summary decisions on 9 April 2019.

Under social welfare legislation the decision of an Appeals Officer is final and conclusive and may only be reviewed by an Appeals Officer in the light of new evidence or new facts.  I am advised that the person concerned subsequently submitted additional evidence and that the Appeals Officer agreed to review the decisions in respect of these appeals on foot of this additional evidence.    

I am advised that the Appeals Officer requested more information in these cases on 28 August 2019. The person concerned submitted the additional evidence on 5 September 2019 and the Appeals Officer will now review the decisions in both cases.  The person concerned will be contacted when the reviews of these appeals have been finalised.

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.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (630)

Joan Collins

Ceist:

630. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of talks between her Department and the unions representing community employment supervisors and their pensions. [37184/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am currently engaging with representatives of CE supervisors to discuss issues arising following the 2008 Labour Court Recommendation.  All parties to the engagement process have agreed that the detail of the discussions should remain confidential while the engagement is ongoing and I would ask Deputies to respect these wishes and allow the talks to continue free from speculation which might prove unhelpful. I expect that it will take a number of weeks to reach a conclusion.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (631)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

631. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the restrictions on recipients of social welfare payments such as carer’s allowance on leaving the country for short periods of time to visit family members; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37185/19]

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.

As is the case with most other means-tested social welfare payments, CA is not payable on an extended basis to or in respect of persons outside the State, although legislation provides for the payment of CA when a person leaves the State on a temporary basis.  A Carer may be absent from the state while on holiday for a maximum of 3 weeks each year and continue to receive payment of CA.

Before going abroad the Carer is obliged to notify this department of that fact.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Reviews

Ceisteanna (632)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

632. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an oral hearing will be provided in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37197/19]

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 08 April 2019.  Her claim was disallowed on the grounds that the medical conditions for the scheme were not satisfied.  She was notified on 16 July 2019 of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of review and appeal.   

To date there is no record of a review or an appeal request of this disallowance decision and there is no record of an application for disability allowance (DA) from the lady in question.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Payments

Ceisteanna (633)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

633. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a disability allowance will be reinstated for a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37207/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned informed us that he was taking up full time employment and his disability allowance (DA) was stopped with effect from 24 July 2019.

On 9 September 2019 a request for information which is required in order to restart the DA for the person concerned was sent to him. On receipt of the requested information a decision will be made and he will be notified directly in writing.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Money Advice and Budgeting Service Funding

Ceisteanna (634)

John Brady

Ceist:

634. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that funding to a company (details supplied) is being stopped on 30 November 2019; her views on the impact this will have for those seeking help and advice from MABS; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37224/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Citizens Information Board (CIB) is the statutory body with responsibility for the  Money Advice and Budgeting Services (MABS).  A project to restructure the governance arrangements of the MABS companies  from 51 local companies to 8 regional companies was completed towards end 2018.

Following the restructure of the MABS local companies,  the Board of CIB undertook  an independent review of the company mentioned by the Deputy  in order to establish how best to align its structure and functions with the 8 new MABS regional companies.

Following that review, CIB has decided to undertake a reorganisation of that company. As part of that re-organisation, CIB issued a notice of termination at end July 2019  under the terms of  its service agreement, which allows CIB to terminate the agreement, without cause, at any time by giving four months prior written notice.

It is important to note that CIB,  which has statutory responsibility for MABS, including the company referred to by the Deputy, has confirmed to my  Department  that in the reorganisation proposed, all employees will retain their jobs, their terms and conditions of employment and will continue in their current place of employment. There will be no reduction in the money advice and budgeting services offered to the public as a result of this reorganisation.

CIB's intention is that staff currently employed  on the Helpline will transfer to the Citizens Information Phone Service (CIPS) company. CIPS is the dedicated phone service for calls relating to citizens information queries and operates on a national basis, similar to the MABS Helpline.  All of the  Helpline staff will be retained at their current base in Blanchardstown.

CIB's intention is that the remaining staff will transfer to a new support services company to further develop and enhance the functions of MABS in relation to training and quality, and will work closely with the regional MABS companies  to establish new services in the future. This company will continue to operate from the current MABS ND premises in Blanchardstown.  CIB is currently engaged in progressing arrangements for the establishment of that new company and for the orderly transfer of staff thereto.

All staff transfers will be conducted under the TUPE regulations which offer protection to all employees ( SI 131/2003 EC ( Protection of Employees on Transfer of Undertakings) Regulations 2003) 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Working Family Payment Payments

Ceisteanna (635)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

635. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when arrears of the working family payment will issue in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37245/19]

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.

Working family payment for the person concerned was due for renewal from 25 October 2018 and the form was received on 27 November 2018.

As the person concerned had new employment from 17 June 2018, correspondence issued to the customer and to the customers employer on 27 November 2018.   The customer made contact informing us that the employer lost the form and this form reissued directly to the customer on 12 February 2019.  The customer made contact again informing us that his employers mislaid the second form also and this form reissued on 28 February 2019 together with a request for his P60 and recent payslips.

On receipt of the information on 25 March 2019, working family payment for the person concerned  was processed and awarded from 25 October 2018 and working family payment arrears were held pending the outcome of the Social Welfare Inspector review.

This review has been completed and working family payment arrears have issued to the person concerned.

 I trust this clarifies matter.

Rent Supplement Scheme Payments

Ceisteanna (636)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

636. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) continues to receive a lower rate of rent support than is applicable to a similar person; if there are other issues affecting entitlement being applied by her Department without reference; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37246/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I refer to the Deputy's Parliamentary Questions 14647/19, 17527/19, 28052/19 and 35780/19 on this matter.  The rent supplement claim for the person concerned was reviewed in April 2019 and the payment awarded was based on the application and documentation submitted by the person concerned.

My Department has not been made aware of any change in circumstances since the last review was undertaken.  If there has been a change of circumstances since the last review, such as an increase in rent, it is open to the person concerned to contact my Department to seek a review of their rent supplement entitlement.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (637)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

637. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter regarding the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37248/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Following a review of this lady's entitlement to disability allowance (DA), she has been awarded the maximum rate of payment from 8th August 2018. She was notified of this decision on 11 September 2019. She was also notified on that date of her right to seek a review of this decision

or appeal directly to the Social Welfare Appeals Office.

The first payment at the revised rate will issue to the person concerned on 18 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.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Personal Public Service Numbers

Ceisteanna (638)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

638. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a PPS number will issue to a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37249/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned has applied for a Personal Public Services Number (PPSN) and was requested by an officer of this Department on 16th August 2019 to produce further documentation in order to complete their application. The documentation requested has not yet been provided to the Department.

Once the requested documentation has been submitted, the person's PPSN application will be processed.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Public Services Card

Ceisteanna (639, 640)

John Brady

Ceist:

639. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when the report carried out by the Data Protection Commission into the public services card will be published. [37261/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

640. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason she has postponed the publication of the report carried out by the Data Protection Commission into the public services card while waiting for a meeting between both parties when this will have no bearing on the contents of the report; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37262/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 639 and 640 together.

In the interest of transparency, I intend to publish the Data Protection Commission’s Report on the Public Services Card and my Department’s Summary Response to the Report later today – Tuesday 17th September.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Illness Benefit Reform

Ceisteanna (641)

John Brady

Ceist:

641. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the review into the implementation of the new illness benefit system; the date for the publication of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37263/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The review referred to is being conducted by a retired Commissioner from the Revenue Commissioners. The purpose of the review is to identify the core reasons for the issues experienced in 2018 when IB claims was migrated from a legacy platform (known as ISTS) to a newer platform known as BOMi. Most of the Department's schemes and services are successfully supported on the BOMi platform, however, Illness Benefit migration experienced a number of issues.

The investigation element of the review is now complete including the completion of interviews and meetings with relevant stakeholders including staff of the Illness Benefit Section. The compilation of findings and the drafting of the report is still ongoing. I understand that this will take some further time.

The Department intends to use the report to inform its approach to the migration of some other  large weekly payment processing scheme applications (e.g. Jobseekers, One Parent Family payments) onto the BOMi platform, and is therefore anxious that it be completed as soon as possible.

The Department expects that the report will be finalised before the end of 2019. As previously indicated, the report will be provided to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Departmental Strategies

Ceisteanna (642)

John Brady

Ceist:

642. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the date for the publication of the new national action plan for social inclusion which is overdue; the reason for the delay; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37264/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The new social inclusion strategy – ‘Roadmap for Social Inclusion: Ambitions, Goals, Commitments 2019-2025’ - is being developed following consultation with relevant Government Departments and other stakeholders.  The Roadmap is currently being finalised and it is expected that the new strategy will be published shortly. I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.