1478. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of families in receipt of assistance payments for fuel in their home; her views on the prevalence of fuel poverty in here as outlined by a charity (details supplied); the steps she is taking to work with other agencies and departments to address this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35044/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Fuel Allowance Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The fuel allowance is a payment of €22.50 per week for 26 weeks from October to April, to low income households, at an estimated cost of €229 million in 2017. The purpose of this payment is to assist these households with their energy costs. The allowance represents a contribution towards the energy costs of a household. It is not intended to meet those costs in full. Only one allowance is paid per household. At the end of the 2016/17 ...

1553. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding Irish persons that live in South Korea, in which there is no reciprocal agreement between it and Ireland, which results in a person being unable to collect contributions upon their departure from their second country; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36269/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Social Insurance)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare (Agreement With the Republic of Korea on Social Security) Order 2008 (S.I. No. 552/2008) provides that periods of social insurance in Ireland and in the Republic of Korea may be taken into account, where necessary, by either State in order to qualify for certain benefits and pensions. In effect, it protects the pension rights of people who have worked and paid reckonable social security contributions in Ireland and in Kor...

1178. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Social Protection the types of job schemes that are available to young persons with learning disabilities and mental health issues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34409/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Disability Activation Projects)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): My Department does not fund programmes that are specifically targeted at young people with learning disabilities and mental health issues. However, those aged 18 years or over who are currently in receipt of any of the following payments from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) - Disability Allowance, Blind Pension, Invalidity Pension or Illness Benefit (for 6 months or more.), may participate in the Communi...

1179. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to address the unemployment blackspots in County Wexford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 34416/17 asked on 13 Jul 2017 - Job Creation)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): Government policy to reduce unemployment is twofold. First, through policies set out in the Action Plan for Jobs, to create an environment in which business can succeed and create jobs; and second, through Pathways to Work to ensure that as many of these new jobs and other vacancies that arise in our economy are filled by people taken from the Live Register.
The Pathways to Work 2016-2020 strategy continues to prioritise actions for the new...

295. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Social Protection the penalty clauses that apply to his Department under the agreement with Turas Nua and Seetec; the circumstances in which they arise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11257/17 asked on 07 Mar 2017 - Labour Activation Projects)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): As the Deputy will be aware, JobPath is a service that supports people who are long-term unemployed (over 12 months) and those most at risk of becoming long-term unemployed to secure and sustain paid employment. Contractors are paid via a combination of an initial registration fee and thereafter only on the basis of job sustainment fees: which are only paid in respect of each period of 13 weeks the former jobseeker is in sustained employment...

32. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will ensure that all of his staff, departmental staff and all civil servants who fall under his Department undertake training with respect to mental health first aid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 8368/17 asked on 21 Feb 2017 - Departmental Staff Training)

Deputy James Browne: I ask the Minister for Social Protection if he will ensure that all his staff, Departmental staff and all civil servants who fall under his Department undertake training in mental health first aid and to make a statement on the matter.
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229. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Social Protection when a claim for domiciliary care allowance will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 33620/16 asked on 08 Nov 2016 - Domiciliary Care Allowance Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): An application for domiciliary care allowance (DCA) was received from this lady on 9 August 2016. This application has been forwarded to one of the Department’s Medical Assessors for their medical opinion. Following receipt of this opinion, a decision will be made by a Deciding Officer and notified to the applicant. Applications are processed in date of receipt order. It can currently take 16 weeks to process a...

265. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Social Protection his plans to simplify the farm assist scheme and in particular to remove the requirement for audited accounts; his further plans to restore income and child disregards to the farm assist scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18123/16 asked on 28 Jun 2016 - Farm Assist Scheme Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The farm assist scheme provides support for farmers on low incomes and is similar to jobseeker’s allowance. Farm assist recipients retain the advantages of the jobseeker’s allowance scheme such as the retention of secondary benefits and access to activation programmes. The 2016 Revised Estimates for my Department provide for expenditure of €85 million on the farm assist scheme.
Changes introduced in Budgets 2012 and 2013 brought farm assist...