239. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a carer’s benefit application by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44366/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Carer’s Benefit Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I confirm that my department received an application for carer’s benefit from the person concerned on 14 September 2017. The application is currently being processed and once completed, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome. 
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.
 ...

240. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the recent decision by the community sports and services directorate of Pobal to discontinue funding for mid-Ireland tourism which promotes tourism in the midland region (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44442/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Community Services Programme)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): As the Deputy is aware, the Community Services Programme (CSP) provides financial support to community companies that provide revenue generating services of a social inclusion nature. The CSP works on a social-enterprise model which means that it does not fully fund contract holders but requires that they generate revenue by charging fees or raising funds. All CSP recipients are obliged to meet these criteria. Thes...

241. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to allow mothers that have lost their sons or daughters before 24 weeks gestation to have their children’s names registered on the still birth register (details supplied). (Question 44467/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Registration of Births)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The registration of stillbirths was first provided for in the Stillbirths Registration Act 1994. The definition of a stillbirth contained in that Act was carried forward to the Civil Registration Act 2004. The registration of stillbirths is provided for in section 28 of the 2004 Act. 
When the 1994 Act was introduced it was primarily to afford comfort to the bereaved parents. For this reason it was felt that the def...

242. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the progress to date in the determination of an appeal for invalidity pension in the case a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44407/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Invalidity Pension Appeals)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 5 September 2017 and form SWAO1 requesting grounds of appeal was issued. The grounds of appeal were returned and in accordance with the statutory requirements of the appeals process the relevant Departmental papers and comments by the Deciding Officer on the grounds of appeal have been sought. Whe...

243. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the extension of maternity leave for premature births will only apply to those births after 1 October 2017; her plans for an extension of the rights to those already on maternity leave; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44415/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Maternity Leave)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 243 and 245 together.
On 3 October 2017 I, together with my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D., announced increased maternity leave and maternity benefit for mothers whose babies are born prematurely.
Under the new arrangements, in addition to the current 26 weeks of paid maternity leave a mother will be entitled to an additional period of maternity ...

244. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 714 of 29 September 2017, if the matter could now be further investigated in view of the applicability of the common travel area and particularly having regard to the fact that the persons could not have remarried without presenting a copy of the decree absolute in a person’s (details supplied) first marriage; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44424/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In order to qualify for a widow(er)’s or surviving civil partner’s (contributory) pension, the surviving spouse must be deemed, under Irish State Law, to be the legal widower of the deceased. The person concerned was previously married in Ireland and subsequently divorced in Northern Ireland. Where a divorce has been granted in another jurisdiction, including Northern Ireland, legal recognition of this divorce under...

245. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to extend the maternity leave and benefit for mothers of premature babies who are currently on maternity leave but whose children were born before 1 October 2017. (Question 44425/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Maternity Leave)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 243 and 245 together.
On 3 October 2017 I, together with my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan T.D., announced increased maternity leave and maternity benefit for mothers whose babies are born prematurely.
Under the new arrangements, in addition to the current 26 weeks of paid maternity leave a mother will be entitled to an additional period of maternity ...

246. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) who was deemed to be in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance for less than 391 days and who was assessed as ineligible for the purposes of determining eligibility for fuel allowance was previously on enterprise allowance for a considerable period of time before returning to jobseeker’s allowance; if this can be reviewed in totality in terms of their eligibility for the 391 day period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44436/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Fuel Allowance Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The application for fuel allowance of the person concerned has been reviewed on 18 October 2017. It has now been determined that the applicant is residing with a qualified person. 
As fuel allowance is a means-tested payment, the applicant has been requested to complete and return a means assessment form, with supporting documentation. On receipt, a decision will be made on the person’s eligibility for fuel allowanc...

247. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) would be entitled to a State pension, either contributory or non-contributory, or a widow’s pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44437/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In order to have a person’s entitlement to state pension (contributory) or widow(er)’s or surviving civil partner’s (contributory) pension examined, a completed application form must be submitted to my Department. Both pension application forms have been posted to the person concerned. Application forms are also available to download from the Department’s website www.welfare.ie. 
Once the completed application forms...

248. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the assessment procedure for jobseeker’s allowance in terms of capital savings which a person can have in a financial institution either in their own name or held in a person’s own name or jointly with their spouse in terms of their eligibility for jobseeker’s allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44438/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Jobseeker’s Allowance Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In assessing means for social assistance payments including jobseeker’s allowance, account is taken of the value of capital and property belonging to the person and their spouse or partner. Capital includes moneys on hands or deposited in financial institutions while property includes the value of other assets such as bonds and equities as well as houses and other premises. Property such as the family home or a prem...

249. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position that pertains in respect of a person, who has to compulsorily retire at the age of 65 years and receives jobseeker’s benefit for nine months, with regard to the remaining three months in terms of an application for jobseeker’s allowance whereby that person would have received a lump sum payment upon retirement; the way this is assessed in terms of eligibility for jobseeker’s allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44439/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Jobseeker’s Allowance Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): There is no statutory retirement age in the State, and the age at which employees retire is a matter for the contract of employment between them and their employers. 
The Social Welfare and Pensions Act 2011 provides that State pension age will be increased gradually to 68 years. This began in January 2014 with the standardising of State pension age for all at 66 years and the cessation of State pension transition. ...

250. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection when an appeal will be determined in the case of a person (details supplied) regarding refusal of a carer’s allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44494/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Carer’s Allowance Appeals)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 8 August 2017. 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 w...

251. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if exceptional needs payment will be made in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44495/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Exceptional Needs Payment Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): No application for an Exceptional Needs Payment (ENP) has been received from the person concerned. An application form for Supplementary Welfare Allowance, together with a request for supporting documentation and the contact details of the department’s Community Welfare Service has been sent to the person concerned. Once a completed application for Supplementary Welfare Allowance has been received it will processed ...

252. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if in the case of a person’s (details supplied) application for a State pension, an effort was made to allow contributory credits for the period they were employed by employers who did not record contributions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44496/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is in receipt of a reduced rate state pension (contributory) based on an assessed yearly average of 19 contributions, covering the period July 1962 to December 2010. 
According to the records of my Department, the person concerned has no recorded contributions during the period 1967 to 1997. The person concerned has been requested on a number of occasions to provide details or evidence of any ins...

253. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which it is expected that a person (details supplied), previously a director of their company whose business has been wound up, is deemed to have an ability to meet a payment of €8,827.83 arising from redundancy and insolvent payment schemes in view of the fact that their only income is a State pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44497/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Redundancy Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): It is the employer’s responsibility to pay statutory redundancy and other wage related entitlements to all eligible employees. In the event that an employer is unable to pay these entitlements due to financial difficulties, the Department can step in to make a payment from the Social Insurance Fund, as part of the redundancy and insolvency payments schemes. 
When a payment is made from the Social Insurance Fund, a de...

254. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the cost in a full year of reducing the number of waiting days for entitlement to illness benefit from six to four days; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44521/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Illness Benefit Costs)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Illness benefit is a short term social insurance payment made to insured people who are unable to work due to illness. Normally payment of illness benefit begins from the seventh day of the illness; no payment is made for the first six days. These are known as “waiting days”. Waiting days have been a long standing feature of social insurance schemes and are a feature of similar social security schemes in many other ...

255. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 662 of 10 October 2017, when a jobseeker’s allowance payment will resume in the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44530/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - Jobseeker’s Allowance Payments)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): An officer of the Department conducted an interview with the homeowner of the address stated above. The homeowner confirmed that the person concerned does not reside at this address. A report has been forwarded to the deciding officer for decision and the person concerned will be advised of the outcome in due course.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy. 
 ...

256. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Clare who is currently in receipt of the State pension, contributory, did not receive the maximum rate of payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44536/17 asked on 19 Oct 2017 - State Pension (Contributory) Applications)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The person concerned is in receipt of a reduced rate state pension (contributory) based on an assessed yearly average of 35 contributions, covering the period from July 1970 to December 2016.
The person concerned has a social insurance record of 1,625 reckonable contributions and credits. There are gaps in their insurance record for the years 1978 to 1989, from 1990 to 1992, and for the year 2016. These gaps impact ...

198. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the way in which the task of lifting 113,000 children out of consistent poverty can be achieved with budget 2018 only allocating a small increase to the child dependant allowance of €3 per week; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44267/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Child Poverty)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The increase of €2 in the payment for qualified children (IQC), which most weekly social welfare payments can include, represents an increase of 6.7% in this payment, and will bring the estimated cost of this child-related element of the welfare budget to in the region of €579 million in 2017. This budgetary measure specifically targeted children in low-income families, and as such should assist in the goal of liftin...

199. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason back to work enterprise allowance is not included as a qualifying scheme for the purpose of awarding back to work family dividend; if she will include the back to work enterprise allowance as a qualifying criterion for the back to work family dividend; if she will address the case of a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44105/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Back to Work Family Dividend Scheme)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): In order to be eligible for the BTWFD a customer must be aged under 66, must be resident and employed (the employment or self-employment can commence up to four weeks of the claim/scheme ending) in the State, and have been in receipt of an IQC (or equivalent) while in receipt of one of the following payments:
 1. Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB) or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) for at least 312 days – of which at least 156 days...

200. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of a pension appeal by a person (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44147/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Social Welfare Appeals Status)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare Appeals Office has advised me that an appeal by the person concerned was registered in that office on 28 August 2017. 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 ...

201. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the basis and the way in which debts of approximately €89 million are owed in customer debt to the Social Insurance Fund; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44149/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Social Insurance Fund)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Insurance Fund (SIF) was established by the Social Welfare Act 1952 (as amended). The SIF operates under the terms of the Social Welfare (Consolidation Act) 2005. Under section 9 of that Act the SIF comprises a current account managed by the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection and an investment account managed by the Minister for Finance. The income of the SIF derives mainly from the pa...

202. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons under 26 years of age who are in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance, jobseeker’s benefit and signing for credits for 12 months or more; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44157/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The following table provides the number of persons under 26 years of age in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance, jobseeker’s benefit and credits with a duration greater than 1 year at end of September 2017.
 Age Jobseeker’s Allowance Jobseeker’s Benefit Credits Only 18 19 906 20 1,379 3 21 1,439 2 22 1,544 3 5 23 1,578 5 9 24 1,661 5 13 25 2,041 16 15 10,548 29 47 


Lower weekly r...

203. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of young persons aged 18 to 25 years of age who have applied for a jobseeker’s benefit or jobseeker’s allowance and were unsuccessful and-or were ineligible for a payment in each of the years 2013 to 2016; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44158/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Data)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I regret that this information is not readily available at this time, as the requested statistics are not routinely compiled by my Department.
 ...

204. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the actions she is taking to address the increase in consistent poverty and deprivation among young persons aged 15 to 24 years of age as detailed in the social inclusion monitor report published by her Department (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 44160/17 asked on 18 Oct 2017 - Anti-Poverty Strategy)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The effects of the economic recession were most severe during the period of time from 2009-2012. The number of young people experiencing consistent poverty rose sharply in these years – reflecting increased youth unemployment, and, more significantly, increased unemployment among the parents of young adults who were mainly still studying and living at home. Some improvement was already visible by 2015; the at-risk-o...