State Pension (Non-Contributory) Applications

Ceisteanna (690)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

690. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for a State pension by a person (details supplied). [52912/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

An application for state pension (non-contributory) was received from the person concerned on 7 November 2019.   A request for further information was issued to the person concerned on 19 November 2019.  As no response has been received to date, a reminder has issued to the person to return the required information.

On examination of the complete information required to assess pension eligibility, the person concerned will be notified of the outcome, in writing, without delay.

 I hope that this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals

Ceisteanna (691)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

691. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an appeal by a person (details supplied). [52913/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Following the submission of further medical evidence by the person concerned, their case has been reviewed and they have been awarded disability allowance with effect from 30 January 2019.  The first payment was made on 27 November 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.

To date no request for an Appeal has been received from the person concerned. 

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Poverty Data

Ceisteanna (692)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

692. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the rate of material deprivation for lone parents here; the way in which it compares to the EU average; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52941/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The severe material deprivation rate is an indicator derived from Eurostat EU-SILC data that expresses the inability to afford some items considered by most people to be desirable, or even necessary, to lead an adequate life.  The indicator distinguishes between individuals who cannot afford a certain good or service, and those who do not have this good or service for another reason e.g. because they do not want or do not need it.

It is important to note, however, that there has been a steady reduction of the severe material deprivation rate for single parents in Ireland over the period from 2012 to 2018, and the rate has more than halved from its high point of 32.3% in 2013.  With the social welfare improvements in Budgets 2019 and 2020, this rate of reduction should continue to move closer in line with the EU average.

Budget 2020 raised the income disregard for one-parent family payment and jobseeker’s transition payment recipients to €165 per week with effect from January 2020 (the highest disregard level to date).  The weekly rates of the Qualified Child Allowance in 2020 also increased by €2 per week (from €34 to €36) for children under 12, and by €3 per week (€37 to €40) for children 12 and over.  This measure will benefit an estimated 370,000 children and will help to further tackle child poverty.

Across Budgets 2017 to 2020,  the Government increased maximum weekly welfare payments by €15 per week with proportionate increases for qualified adult dependents; introduced a new qualified child rate for children over 12 years of age and increased weekly qualified child rates by €6.20 for children under 12 and €10.60 for those over 12.  There were also increases in the income thresholds for the Working Family Payment.

It can take some time for the full impact of budgetary measures to be reflected in data from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions.  Given the continuing economic recovery and the measures introduced in recent Budgets, I expect to see the poverty data for 2019 and 2020, when they become available, to show further improvements over the 2018 outcomes.  I will continue to work with my Government colleagues to ensure that the economic recovery is experienced in all regions and by all families, households and individuals.

Severe Material deprivation rate: household type - Single Person with dependent children

 -

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

EU-28

18.4%

21.6%

20.7%

19.2%

17.1%

15.7%

13.3%

12.7%

Ireland

23.3%

27.4%

32.3%

25.1%

24.4%

22.7%

17.9%

14.8%*

  Source: EU-SILC Data

* It should be noted that the 2018 figure for Ireland is provisional.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Appeals Data

Ceisteanna (693)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

693. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of social welfare appeals lodged in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the percentage of appeals which were successful; the average waiting time in these years in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52942/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

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. 

Appeals which had a favourable outcome for the appellant consist of appeals which were either allowed in full or in part by an Appeals Officer, or which were resolved by way of a revised decision in favour of the appellant by a Deciding Officer / Designated Person.  

In any year about 85% of all claims are awarded by the Department and just 1% are appealed.  Nevertheless, the Appeals Office continues to work to ensure that these cases are dealt with as quickly as possible.  

There are a number of reasons why a decision which was refused at first instance might be successful on appeal and it is not necessarily the case that the first decision was incorrect.  It is often the case that new evidence is provided with an appeal and that, as a result, the original decision may be revised by the Deciding Officer or Designated Person; this was the case in 37.6% of such successful outcomes in 2017, 31.5% of such outcomes in 2018 and 37.3% of such outcomes to the end of November 2019.  

Where the decision was not revised by the Department in light of the appeal contentions, further evidence is often provided by the appellant as the appeal process proceeds and, in addition, the Appeals Officer may gain insights when they meet the appellant in person at oral hearing which may influence the outcome of the appeal.  

The time taken to process an appeal reflects a number of factors including that the appeals process is a quasi-judicial process with Appeals Officers being required to decide all appeals on a ‘de-novo’ basis.  In addition, appeals decisions are themselves subject to review by the High Court and decisions have to be formally written up to quasi-judicial standards.  Other factors that influence appeals processing times include the quality of the initial decision – in this respect the Department has changed the decisions process in respect of medical schemes, in order to provide more information to the claimant.  It is expected that this will help to reduce the number of appeals over time.  

Significant efforts and resources have been devoted to reforming the appeal process in recent years.  As a result, appeal processing times in respect of all schemes generally improved between 2011 and 2017 from 52.5 weeks for an oral hearing in 2011 to 26.4 weeks in 2017, and from 25.1  weeks for a summary decision in 2011 to 19.8 weeks in 2017.  

Processing performance has in the past number of years been affected by a relatively large number of retirements in the office - although these staff have been replaced it takes time for a new Appeals Officer to reach full productivity.  Nevertheless, the latest data show an improvement from 30 weeks for an oral hearing and 24.6 weeks for a summary decision in 2018 to 27.5 and 22.7 weeks respectively in 2019.  Although this is still too long additional resources have been allocated to the Appeals Office with seven additional Appeals Officers now in place compared to December 2018, and I am advised that this improvement will continue.  

Finally, where a claimant has been refused a social welfare payment, regardless of the scheme involved, and is appealing that decision, if their means are insufficient to meet their needs it is open to them to apply for supplementary welfare allowance in the interim.  If their application for supplementary welfare allowance is refused, they can also appeal that decision.  

The statistics required by the Deputy are set out in the following tables.    

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.  

Appeal Receipts and Percentage of Favourable Decisions of Appeals Finalised 2011 – 2019

Year's

Appeal Receipts     

Appeals Finalised     

Favourable Decisions     

Appeals Disallowed     

      Withdrawn     

2011

31,241

34,027

42.2%

50.1%

7.7%

2012

35,484

32,558

50.4%

42.6%

7.0%

2013

32,777

38,421

55.0%

39.0%

6.0%

2014

26,069

31,211

56.5%

37.7%

5.8%

2015

24,475

25,406

58.8%

36.1%

5.1%

2016

22,461

23,220

59.2%

35.9%

4.9%

2017

19,658

18,980

60.1%

33.9%

6.0%

2018  

18,854

18,507

58.8%

36.1%

5.1%

2019 (to 30/11/2019)

21,164

20,547

56.4%

37.4%

6.2%

Appeal Processing Times 2011 – 2019

Year's      

Average processing times (weeks) - Summary Decisions     

Average processing times (weeks) - Oral Hearings  

2011

25.1

52.5

2012

27.8

39.5

2013    

25.8

33.9

2014

21.1

28.6

2015

18.1

25.5

2016

17.6

24.1

2017

19.8

26.4

2018 

24.8

30.0

2019 (to 30/11/2019)

22.4

27.3  

Exceptional Needs Payment Data

Ceisteanna (694)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

694. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of exceptional needs payments made in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; the expenditure on same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52943/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may 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.  An urgent needs payment (UNP) may be made to persons who may not normally qualify for SWA but who have an urgent need which they cannot meet from their own resources or where an alternative is not available at that time. 

The following tabular statement shows the number of payments and expenditure on ENPs and UNPs each year since 2011.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.  

Number of payments / expenditure on ENPs and UNPs, 2011 – Nov 2019

Year

No. of Payments

Expenditure

2011

226,200

€62.6m

2012

197,500

€52.7m

2013

133,000

€35.7m

2014

107,100

€30.1m

2015

101,600

€31.0m

2016

100,100

€32.2m

2017

103,500

€38.1m

2018

112,500

€42.3m

2019 (End of Nov)

84,200

€38.6m

Social Welfare Schemes Data

Ceisteanna (695)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

695. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of social welfare recipients subject to sanctions in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52944/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Penalty rates were introduced in 2011 as a means of encouraging jobseekers to engage with activation measures and to co-operate with efforts of the Department to assist them in securing employment.  The Department is committed, under Pathways to Work, to incentivise the take-up of activation opportunities, and this includes implementing sanctions for failure to engage where appropriate.

The legislation underpinning the application of penalty rates is provided for in the Social Welfare Act.  Penalty rates can only be applied in specific circumstances and the decision to impose a penalty can only be made by a Deciding Officer of the Department.  If dissatisfied with that decision it is open to the Jobseeker to appeal the decision to the Social Welfare Appeal’s Office. 

The following table includes individuals who may have had a Penalty Rate applied in more than one year.

Details of the numbers of people who were subject to penalty rates each year since their introduction in 2011 and up to 3rd November 2019.  

Year Penalty Rates applied

 2011

 2012

 2013

 2014

 2015

 2016

 2017

 2018

 2019

No. of People Penalty rated

 353

 1,471

 3,179

 4,969

 6,115

 9,565

 13,503

 12,380

 9,878

Poverty Data

Ceisteanna (696)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

696. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the rate of material deprivation for those not at work due to an illness or disability here; the way in which this compares to the EU average; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52946/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The measurement of material deprivation for those not at work due to an illness or disability is different in the national context compared to the EU context.  In the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), disability is based on the concept of global activity limitation.  This is defined as a “limitation in activities people usually do because of health problems for at least the past six months”.  The severe material deprivation rate is defined as the share of the population with an enforced lack of at least 4 out of 9 material deprivation items. Based on the 2018 EU-SILC data, the Irish severe material deprivation rate for people aged 16 years or over who have some or severe limitation in their level of activities because of health problems was 8.1%. It should be noted that the Irish rate is provisional.    

The CSO Survey on Income and Living Conditions provides data on people aged 16 years and over who are not at work due to illness or disability.  The deprivation rate is defined as the share of the population with an enforced lack of at least 2 out of a list of 11 items.  The most recent data from the 2018 Survey on Income and Living Conditions, published by the CSO in November, shows that the deprivation rate for people not at work due to illness or disability was 36.7%, a reduction on the 2017 figure of 45.9%.  

As announced in Budget 2019, my Department has commissioned research into the cost of disability. Indecon International Consultants have been commissioned to carry out the research which will include the direct experience of people with disabilities. It is hoped that this research, when complete, will inform policy direction in relation to the provision of adequate supports to meet the needs of people with disabilities from a whole-of-Government perspective and further reduce the rate of deprivation in the context of the European average.  

In addition, given the continuing economic recovery and the measures introduced in recent Budgets, I expect to see the poverty data for 2019 and 2020, when they become available, to show further improvements over the 2018 outcomes.  I will continue to work with my Government colleagues to ensure that the economic recovery is experienced in all regions and by all families, households and individuals.

Pension Provisions

Ceisteanna (697)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

697. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the percentage of target dates and commitments met on time as set out in A roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023 in terms of introducing the total contributions approach by Q3 of 2020; her views on whether this timeframe is realistic; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52947/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

"A Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023" was launched on the 28th February 2018.  It contains six actions which will modernise Ireland's pension system while continuing to target resources at those most in need.  Among those six strands was reform of the State Pension, including the introduction of a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) for all pensioners.

There are three specific actions relating to the introduction of the Total Contributions Approach in the "Table of Actions" in the Roadmap.  They were to prepare a proposal and begin a public consultation on the design of the scheme (by Q2 2018), and to bring forward necessary legislation to implement TCA by Q3 2020.

A proposal was drafted and the public consultation began in May 2018.  The consultation was open for more than three months and the Department received almost 300 responses from individuals and organisations.  Those submissions outlined the individual views of respondents on the issues of most interest to them.

Having carefully examined the outputs of the consultation process, my Department is now designing the scheme and I intend to bring a proposal to Government setting out that design in the near future. When the Government has agreed the approach to be taken, I will initiate the work required to introduce this reform which will include the necessary legislation being enacted and supporting structures being put in place. 

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Social Welfare Payments Administration

Ceisteanna (698)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

698. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the average waiting time for decisions on social welfare payments in tabular form; the number of persons awaiting decisions on such payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52949/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department is committed to ensuring that claims for its schemes are processed as quickly as possible.  The following table shows claims performance results for November 2019:

Scheme     

No. of applications pending     

Average No. of weeks to award  

State pension (contributory)

5,079

7

Widow(er)'s & surviving civil partner's contributory pension 

450

4

State pension (non-contributory)

1,394

12

Jobseekers allowance

4,245

1

Jobseekers benefit

1,911

1

One-parent family payment

542

3

Supplementary welfare allowance

699

1

Maternity benefit

474

6

Paternity benefit

506

6

Carer's allowance

3,783

12

Carer's benefit

613

10

Disability allowance

4,994

12

Invalidity pension

2,305

12

Illness benefit

2,171

1

Occupational injury benefit

2,685

1

Child benefit

1,552

3

Working family payment

3,269

3

Domiciliary care allowance

1,075

10

Household benefits

1,061

1

Free travel

5

1

Treatment benefit

N/A

N/A

Means tested schemes have more complexity attached to the processing of applications. In a disability allowance claim, for example, in addition to providing evidence of habitual residence in the State and of the income and assets they hold, a claimant must provide details of their medical condition and the extent to which it restricts them from taking up employment.  Likewise, for carer’s allowance, details of the income and assets of the claimant, together with medical certification identifying the care needs of the person being cared for on a full-time basis, must be provided.

I wish to reassure the Deputy that claim processing is kept under active review, with all possible steps 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.  The Department's claims performance statistics indicate that over the period September-November 2019, the average no. of weeks to award has been generally maintained across the majority of schemes, with state pension contributory, jobseeker's allowance and working family payment processing showing an improvement in processing times.  

 I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Fuel Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (699)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

699. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application for fuel allowance by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52957/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Fuel allowance is a means-tested payment, payable during winter months, to assist householders on long-term social welfare payments towards the cost of their heating needs. 

The main eligibility conditions that apply to the fuel allowance scheme are that a person must be in receipt of a qualifying payment, must satisfy a means test and must either be living alone or with other qualifying persons.  The fuel allowance means test is linked to the maximum rate of the state pension (contributory).  The applicant can have a weekly household income of €100.00 above the maximum rates for state pension (contributory) and still be eligible for a fuel allowance. 

The person concerned applied for fuel allowance on 8 August 2019. As this is a means-tested payment, additional information regarding their means was required to ascertain their entitlement.  Following receipt of the requested information, fuel allowance was awarded with effect from 16 October 2019.  Written notification of this decision issued to the person concerned on 12 December 2019 together with details of arrears due.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Labour Activation Measures

Ceisteanna (700)

Pádraig O'Sullivan

Ceist:

700. Deputy Pádraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration has been given to assist those completing their term on community employment schemes to transition to alternative programs or assist with gaining full-time employment in the field they have been working in through the scheme in cases in which they have a desire to stay in that field; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52977/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to enhance the employability of disadvantaged and unemployed people by providing work experience and training opportunities for them within their communities.  The programme helps break the cycle of unemployment and improve a person’s chances of returning to the labour market.

The programme is delivered through independent Community Employment Sponsoring Bodies.  The Department gives financial support to these Sponsoring Bodies in the form of allowances and funding to assist with the Community Employment programme, for example participant wages, supervisor  grants, materials grants and specific skills training grants.

Participation on CE is intended to be for a temporary fixed-term.  On completion of a CE Scheme participants are referred to my Department’s activation areas who work with them to ensure that the benefits of the experience and training received during his time on CE are maximised.  Case Officers will engage with clients on an ongoing basis and work with them to agree a personal progression plan (PPP) and support them in order to avail of all reasonable employment opportunities offered to them.

Employment Rights

Ceisteanna (701)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

701. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the case of approximately 40 workers in the film industry who submitted their names and PPS numbers who allege they have been blacklisted from employment in the film industry as a result of their membership of particular unions or their public criticisms of employment practices in the film industry has been examined (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53035/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am informed that two workers associated with the film industry have applied to the Scope Section of my Department for a decision in relation to their employment status.  These cases are currently with Social Welfare Inspectors for investigation.  It should be noted that any individual who wishes to have a decision made on their employment status should apply directly to Scope Section.

The Deputy may wish to note that the Protection of Employees (Fixed-Term Workers) Act 2003 is applicable to every industry that uses fixed-term contracts. That legislation provides for the improvement of the quality of fixed-term work by ensuring the application of the principle of non-discrimination, that is, that fixed-term workers cannot be treated less favourably than comparable permanent workers.

The Act also provides for the removal of discrimination against fixed-term workers where such exists and the establishment of a framework to prevent abuse arising from the use of successive fixed-term employment contracts in order to suit employers.

Where individuals believe they are being deprived of employment rights under this or any other relevant Act, they may refer a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission where the matter can be dealt with by way of mediation or adjudication leading to a decision that is enforceable through the District Court.  WRC inspectors can also be asked to investigate breaches of the legislation or complaints arising.  Individuals can submit complaints online.

As the Deputy may be aware, the WRC is conducting an audit of the film and television sector which will, inter alia, examine employment practices and procedures.  As part of this audit, the WRC undertook an open consultation process inviting submissions from interested parties.  I await the results and any recommendations of this audit.

I trust this clarifies matters for the Deputy.

Living Alone Allowance

Ceisteanna (702)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

702. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53038/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The person concerned applied for the living alone increase on 8 November 2019, stating that they were residing alone since 3 November 2019. This allowance was awarded with effect from 8 November 2019, the Friday following date of receipt of their application.

As the person was already in receipt of fuel allowance, they were then automatically entitled to the telephone support allowance, also from 8 November 2019. Both decisions issued in writing to the person concerned on 9 December 2019, together with details of arrears due.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (703)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

703. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when a person (details supplied) in County Donegal will receive a decision on an application for an invalidity pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53042/19]

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 gentleman concerned on  14 February 2019.  His claim was disallowed on the grounds that the medical conditions for the scheme were not satisfied.  He was notified on 07 June 2019 of this decision, the reasons for it and of his right of review or appeal.  

He requested a review of this decision and submitted further medical evidence in support of the review.  Following a review of all the information available it was decided that there was no change to the original decision.  He was notified on 12 December 2019 of the outcome of the review.     

 I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Invalidity Pension Applications

Ceisteanna (704)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

704. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the review of an invalidity pension application by a person (details supplied) will be expedited; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53067/19]

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 this lady on 18 April 2019.  Her claim was disallowed on the grounds that the medical conditions for the scheme were not satisfied. She was notified on 06 August 2019 of this decision, the reasons for it and of her right of review and appeal. 

The lady concerned requested a review of the decision and submitted further medical evidence in support of her review request.

Following a review of all the information available the lady referred to has been awarded IP with effect from 18 April 2019.  Payment will issue to her nominated bank account on 09 January 2020.  Any arrears due from 18 April 2019 to 08 January 2020  will issue as soon as possible.  The lady in question was notified of this decision on 12 December 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Jobseeker's Benefit

Ceisteanna (705)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

705. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the social welfare entitlement of a person (details supplied); if they are entitled to support in order to secure employment; if so, the supports available; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53083/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

According to the records of my Department, an application for a Jobseeker’s payment has not been received from the person concerned.  

It is open to the person concerned to call to the Finglas Intreo Centre where she can receive information and submit an application for a Jobseeker’s payment.  Following completion of an assessment of the application, a decision will issue to the person concerned.  

An appointment can also be made at the Finglas Intreo Centre for her to see a Case Officer who can provide her with advice on options open to her in terms of seeking employment, training or education.

 I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

State Pension (Non-Contributory)

Ceisteanna (706)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

706. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the decision to refuse an application for the State pension (non-contributory) by a person (details supplied) will be examined; the reason for the refusal of same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53085/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

State pension (non-contributory) is a means-tested payment for people aged 66 and over, habitually residing in the State, who do not qualify for a state pension contributory, or who only qualify for a reduced rate contributory pension based on their social insurance record. In order to satisfy the habitual residence condition, the person must have a legal right of residence in the State.   

An application for state pension (non-contributory) was received from the person concerned on 15 August 2019.   Following an assessment of the income and assets of the person concerned, the Deciding Officer established that the person's weekly means, comprising of income and capital, exceeded the statutory weekly means limit of €262.50 and the application was disallowed on that basis. 

The person concerned was notified of this decision on 4 December 2019, together with the reasons for the decision and their right, if dissatisfied with the decision, to request a review of the decision, or to  appeal the decision to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Maternity Benefit

Ceisteanna (707)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

707. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a payment for a person (details supplied). [53088/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I am advised that the claim for maternity benefit from the person concerned was disallowed as she did not satisfy the contribution criteria.  

To qualify for maternity benefit a woman must be in insurable employment that is covered by the Maternity Protection Act, 1994, immediately before the first day of maternity leave and must also fulfill the PRSI contribution criteria associated with the scheme.  In the twelve month period prior to the commencement of her maternity leave, (22-07-2018 to 22-07-2019) the person concerned has 31 Class A PRSI contributions (39 are required for maternity benefit).  The person also falls short on contributions paid and/or credited when the other potential qualification criteria are examined, covering a combination of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 years.  

This case has been sent to the Social Welfare Appeals Office to adjudicate on her appeal against the decision to refuse the benefit. The Social Welfare Appeals Office have advised that they are due to issue a decision in the coming days.  

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (708)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

708. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53089/19]

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.

I confirm that my department received an application for CA from the person concerned on 28 August 2019.

The application was awarded to the person concerned on 4 December 2019 and the first payment issued to her nominated Post Office on 12 December 2019.  

Arrears of allowance due from 12 September 2019 to 11 December 2019 will issue shortly.

The person concerned was notified on 4 December 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal. We have not received a request to appeal this decision.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Carer's Allowance Applications

Ceisteanna (709)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

709. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53090/19]

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 16 July 2019.

As the person concerned failed to supply sufficient supporting documentation with their application, this was requested from them on 16 October 2019. When the person concerned responded, she did not provide all of the requested documentation.

A deciding officer spoke with the person concerned on 22 November 2019 and again on 27 November 2019, and she confirmed that the care recipient had passed away and that she did not wish to proceed with the application. The person concerned was requested to withdraw her application in writing which she agreed to do, however no written request was forthcoming.

As my department did not receive written confirmation of the person's withdrawal of her application, a deciding officer disallowed the claim  as the information requested in order to be able to make a full decision had not been provided.

The person concerned was notified on 12 December 2019 of this decision, the reason for it and of her right of review and appeal. This letter also expressed our condolences to the person concerned for her loss.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.