Invalidity Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (585)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

585. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if an invalidity pension application by a person (details supplied) will be reviewed. [39319/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Following a review of her application, the lady referred to has been awarded invalidity pension with effect from 29 November 2018.  Payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 10 October 2019  Any arrears due from 29 November 2018 to 09 October 2019 (less any overlapping social welfare payment) will issue as soon as possible.  The lady in question was notified of this decision on 26 September 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (586)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

586. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a domiciliary care allowance application by persons (details supplied) will be assessed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39321/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) is a monthly payment, payable to the parent/guardian of a child who requires additional care and attention as a result of a severe disability and will require  same for at least 12 months, it is payable up to the age of 16 years. 

When a DCA application is awarded, it is paid from the month following receipt of the application.  The DCA application from this gentleman was received in the department on the 3rd June 2019.  As a result the earliest payment due, if the application was to be awarded, would have been July 2019.  As the child was 16 years of age on the 19th June 2019, she was not qualified in July and as a result DCA is not payable.

A letter issued to the person concerned on the 19th August 2019 outlining the decision and their right of appeal.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Employment Data

Ceisteanna (587)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

587. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated number of persons considered bogusly self-employed to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39337/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Given the fluid, dynamic nature of the Irish workforce it isn't possible to know the precise number of falsely self-employed workers. 

The most recent CSO Labour Force Survey statistics show that the number of all self-employed individuals in Ireland at the end of June 2019 stands at 317,800.  This represents a decrease over the year of 3.8%.  Of these, 220,900 self-employed persons had no paid employees.  This also reflects a decrease over the year from 227,000 in June 2018. 

As the Deputy is aware, I have reallocated resources in my Department to this issue in order to understand, measure and quantify better the prevalence of false self-employment and to obtain a sectoral analysis of it across the workforce.

In addition, work is ongoing in my Department to detect and tackle the level of false self-employment, whatever that may be.  This includes an ongoing programme of nationwide employer inspections, supplemented by a dedicated unit focused specifically on employment status.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Community Services Programme Funding

Ceisteanna (588)

Bobby Aylward

Ceist:

588. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will consider the provision of €10,000 funding in order to save crucial community services (details supplied) including rehabilitation training and development opportunities for persons that are in recovery from drug and alcohol misuse; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39373/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The aim of Community Employment (CE) is to enhance the employability and mobility of disadvantaged and unemployed persons by providing work experience and training opportunities for them within their communities.  It also helps long-term unemployed people to re-enter the active workforce by breaking their experience of unemployment through a return to work routine. 

CE schemes are typically sponsored by groups (known as sponsors) wishing to benefit the local community.  Sponsors receive annual contracts from my Department which fund the employment of both CE participants and supervisors, and funding towards training and material costs.  Grant aid is provided by the Department to cover these costs on a per capita basis. 

The Department continues to support the objectives of the national drugs strategy “Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery” 2017-2025 with focused services for the labour market re-integration of people recovering from substance misuse. Primary amongst these is the CE Programme with an allocation of 1,000 dedicated ring-fenced drug rehabilitation places.  

The CE Drug Rehabilitation Programme Framework was implemented in January 2016 and involves a multi-agency approach to rehabilitation and is designed to meet the challenging needs of individuals in recovery and to ensure effective and sustainable outcomes.  This integrated service response is based on interventions from a wide range of voluntary and community based addiction services and includes statutory engagement through the HSE and Local Education and Training Boards (LETB’s).  The engagement of Local and Regional Alcohol and Drug Task Forces is also a feature of the scheme activities.

Currently, there are 47 dedicated drug rehabilitation CE schemes nationally.  A total of 1008 participants are placed in drug rehabilitation places on CE (910 in the dedicated ring-fenced drug rehabilitation schemes and 98 in the drug rehabilitation placements in CE mainstream schemes).  The estimated cost of the dedicated schemes is in the region of €20m.

Bagenalstown FRC sponsors the Lá Nua drug rehabilitation scheme. The scheme has been in operation since January 2015 and has approval for 15 participants and 2 Supervisors. Participant and Supervisor costs in the 12 months to 2 August 2019 amounted to €196,429. Additional amounts of €8847 and €4455 were paid in respect of material and training costs.

The weekly materials grant payable in respect of each participant on the Lá Nua scheme was €14.90 in the year to 2 August 2019. However, this was subsequently increased to €20 per participant per week from August 2019 as a result of an additional €2 million in CE materials which was provided for in the 2019 Budget. The full year cost of this increase for the Lá Nua CE scheme is €3,978. An additional training grant of €500 per participant is available to the scheme, both for accredited and non-accredited training.

The materials funding available to Lá Nua CE scheme represents the maximum funding possible and I am advised that this is at the upper range of materials grant paid to schemes, even among dedicated drugs schemes which generally receive funding above the levels paid to other schemes.

Working Family Payment Applications

Ceisteanna (589)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

589. 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. [39383/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

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

An application for WFP was received from the person concerned on 25 April 2019 and was referred to a local Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for further clarification.

Following receipt of the completed report from the SWI, they have been awarded WFP for 52 weeks with effect from 25 April 2019 to 22 April 2020.  The first weekly payment and all arrears owing issued to their nominated financial account on 26 September 2019.

The person concerned was notified of this decision on 24 September 2019 and of their right of review and appeal.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

Illness Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (590)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

590. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a claim for illness benefit in respect of a person (details supplied) will be processed to completion; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39392/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Department has received an application for Occupational Injury Benefit from the person concerned.

This claim has been processed and awarded.  All arrears due to the person concerned have issued directly to his nominated bank account.

He is currently paid and medically certified as unfit for work up to the 20th October 2019.

If the person concerned remains ill and unfit for work beyond 20th October 2019, then a further medical certificate should be submitted to the Department in order for further payments to issue.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.  

Carer's Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (591)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

591. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a carer's allowance appeal by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39418/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office.

It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. 

When these papers have been received from the Department, the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing.

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.

Illness Benefit Applications

Ceisteanna (592)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

592. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a claim for illness benefit in respect of a person (details supplied) will be processed to completion; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39429/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned is currently a qualified adult on her partner's Jobseeker's Allowance claim.  This means that her partner is in receipt of a payment in respect of her.

A claim for Illness Benefit by the person concerned has been received and the monetary difference between the qualified adult allowance and her Illness Benefit entitlement is currently being calculated and processed. Any arrears due to the person concerned will be paid to her within 10 working days. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Ceisteanna (593)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

593. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) is entitled to the maximum rate of pension; if details of the award will be provided; when the first payment will issue; and if the award will be backdated to the date of eligibility. [39517/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned was awarded state pension (contributory) at a rate of 85% of maximum rate,  based on their yearly average of social insurance contributions (of 29)  covering the period 1970 to 2019.   This pension was awarded with effect from the date they reached pension age. 

As part of the pension review, the person concerned was awarded 1,460 Homecaring periods, the maximum possible number in respect of the time they spent out of the workforce to parent their children.   Under the new aggregated contributions method pension calculation, the person concerned has 905 paid social insurance contributions, which, when combined with the maximum permissible number of Home Caring periods and reckonable credits of 1,040, (as set down in legislation) results in an overall usable total of 1945.   When this number (1,945) is divided by 2,080 (equivalent to 40 years), this results in a payment entitlement rate of 93.51% of the maximum rate of pension (€232.20 per week).   

A review outcome letter has issued to the person, outlining details of their increase and includes a breakdown of their social insurance contribution record.  Fully backdated arrears to 14 July 2019 have  also issued. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Free Travel Scheme

Ceisteanna (594)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

594. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if discussions with her British Government equivalent will be held in order to consider the possibility of allowing the free travel scheme to be utilised in the United Kingdom; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39532/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The free travel scheme provides free travel on the main public and private transport services for those eligible under the scheme.  These include road, rail and ferry services provided by companies such as Bus Átha Cliath, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann, as well as Luas and services provided by over 80 private transport operators.  There are currently approx. 953,000 customers with direct eligibility.  Following announcements in Budget 2019 the funding for the free travel scheme was increased by €5 million to a total of €95 million.

The scheme is available to all people aged over 66 living permanently in the State.  In general access to a free travel pass for those aged under 66 is linked to a person being in receipt of certain primary Social Protection payments such as disability allowance, invalidity pension, carer’s allowance, blind pension and partial capacity benefit.   

The objective of the free travel scheme is to ensure older people and people with disabilities remain active within their community.

In 2007 the All Ireland free travel scheme was introduced to allow free travel pass holders aged 66 and older to travel free of charge on all bus and rail services within Northern Ireland.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Applications Data

Ceisteanna (595)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

595. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of invalidity pension applications received in 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of applications approved and refused, respectively; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39573/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The following table shows the number of invalidity pension claims received, approved and disallowed for the  period requested. 

 

2019 (to 31/08)

2018

No of applications received

7,260

10,967

* Claims awarded

5,406

7,334

Claims disallowed

3,089

4,601

Claims withdrawn 

848

1,157

*Please note that the statistics in relation to awarded cases include cases in the disallowed category which were subsequently awarded following a review or a successful appeal.   

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (596)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

596. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a decision on a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied) will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39649/19]

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 29 July 2019. 

On 26 September 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.

Homeless Persons Supports

Ceisteanna (597, 598, 599)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

597. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress made to implement a fully functioning homeless persons unit in counties Kildare, Wicklow and Meath; the strategic planning that has been undertaken to deal with the identified demand for such a unit; the way in which the data is being collated; the other stakeholders involved; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39658/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

598. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to implement a homeless persons support unit in counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow to cope with the increasing number of homeless persons presenting; the way in which the service will accommodate the interim support needs of this cohort; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39659/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

599. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to establish a welfare officer as a point of contact for homeless persons in counties Kildare, Wicklow and Meath to enable homeless families to obtain help with social protection claims in circumstances in which no address provision is available; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that no homeless persons unit exists in this region to advise and assist persons in this situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39660/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 597 to 599, inclusive, together.

The primary responsibility for provision of accommodation for homeless persons, including homeless person’s units, rests with local authorities.  My Department’s Community Welfare Service Teams (CWS) in Counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow work closely with County Council staff to ensure all necessary income support services and entitlements are provided to homeless people or people at risk of homelessness.  This ensures that access to services for this group of people is as seamless as possible. 

My CWS officials participate on Homeless Action Teams (HATs) and/or local Homeless Forums in these counties to ensure cases where there is a threat of losing a tenancy or potential homelessness are prioritised accordingly.  While the membership of these teams may vary from county to county, they comprise of members of the County Council, the HSE, Voluntary Housing Bodies as well as officials from my Department.  These teams meet regularly to provide a multidisciplinary response to homeless people and people in emergency accommodation and ensure cooperation among the participating agencies.  CWS staff are also actively engaging with the various voluntary organisations involved in homelessness in the region, including Threshold, the Simon Community and the Peter McVerry Trust. 

My Department’s role with regard to persons who are homeless is primarily income support.  Under the social welfare system, homeless people have entitlements to the full range of social welfare schemes, including supplementary welfare allowance and associated supplements, subject to the normal qualifying conditions. 

The main purpose of the supplementary welfare allowance scheme (SWA) is to provide immediate and flexible assistance for those in need who do not qualify for payment under other State schemes.  

Under SWA, my Department can make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure, which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.  There is no automatic entitlement to these payments which are payable at the discretion of the officers administering the scheme, taking into account the requirements of the legislation and all the relevant circumstances of the case, in order to ensure that the payments target those most in need of assistance.  The Government has provided €38.8 million for the exceptional and urgent needs schemes in 2019.   

The Department provides support to tenants towards rent deposits and rent in advance under the ENP scheme.  This form of assistance is very important to those on low incomes and who are at risk of, or who are homeless, or who rely on the private rented market to meet their housing needs.    

Where people living in emergency accommodation placements have additional costs, for example travel to school costs for children, and where no there is no alternative support available, additional supports can be provided through an ENP or through a supplement under the SWA scheme which can be paid in addition to the weekly payment.  

Rent supplement continues its vital role in supporting families and individuals in private rented accommodation, with the scheme supporting approximately 18,600 recipients for which the Government has provided €132.4 million for 2019. 

In recognition of the on-going rental market difficulties, the Department continues to implement a targeted case-by-case policy approach in the administration of rent supplement.  This approach addresses the needs of customers who are at risk of losing their tenancy due to their landlord seeking rent in excess of the prevailing rent limit.   

In addition, the Protocol arrangement in place with Threshold continues to operate in the areas where supply issues are particularly acute covering Dublin, Cork, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow and Galway City. Approximately 3,000 cases have been referred to DEASP under this Protocol since its inception.  People at risk of becoming homeless should make immediate contact with their local CWS Team or with the Threshold Tenancy Sustainment Service. 

Homeless people can also continue to avail of Employment Support Services from my Department and can continue to have access to a Case Officer during any period of homelessness as required. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 

Disability Allowance Appeals

Ceisteanna (600)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

600. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance appeal by a person (details supplied); and when they can expect a decision on their case. [39672/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office.  It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant papers and comments by or on behalf of the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.  These papers were received in the Social Welfare Appeals Office on 8 August 2019 and the case has now been referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral hearing.

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.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (601)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

601. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a disability allowance in respect of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39675/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

This gentleman applied for disability allowance (DA) on 20 May 2019. The application was disallowed as the person concerned failed to supply information which was requested by this Department.

On 19 September 2019 additional information was submitted on behalf of the person concerned. Further supporting documentation which is required in order to make a decision on his entitlement was subsequently requested by the deciding officer on 20 September 2019.

On receipt of this information a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (602)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

602. Deputy Eamon Scanlon 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. [39695/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance with effect from 17 July 2019. The first payment will be made by his chosen payment method on 2 October 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.

Invalidity Pension Appeals

Ceisteanna (603)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

603. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an invalidity pension appeal by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [39700/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office.  It is a statutory requirement of the appeals process that the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal be sought. 

When these papers have been received from the Department the case in question will be referred to an Appeals Officer who will make a summary decision on the appeal based on the documentary evidence presented or, if required, hold an oral appeal hearing. 

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.

Disability Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (604)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

604. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied); and if the case will be processed [39702/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned has been awarded disability allowance with effect from 15 May 2019. The first payment will be made by her chosen payment method on 16 October 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.