1488. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 452 of 12 July 2017 and the revised projected inflation figure for 2018 included in the summer economic statement published on 12 July 2017, the rates of all weekly payments; the resulting rates if they were to be increased in line with the revised harmonised index of consumer prices for 2018; and the estimated cost of this increase per scheme identifying the full and partial year effect if relevant, in tabular form. (Question 35199/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The information that the Deputy is looking for is detailed in the following table. The costs are based on the 1.2% Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices rate for 2018, forecast in the Department of Finance’s Summer Economic Statement.
 Scheme Total Full Year Cost     -     €m Rate of Payment  2017 Proposed Rate of Payment 2018 Social Insurance Schemes     State Pension (Contributory) 56.93 €238.30 €241.10 Widow/er’s or Sur...

1507. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the average processing times in respect of applications for the domiciliary carer’s allowance payment; the number of all applications which upon receipt have still yet to be determined in respect of applicants waiting for three months, six months, nine months, 12 months, 15 months and greater than 15 months, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35469/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Domiciliary Care Allowance Data)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): The Department is currently experiencing delays in the processing of Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) claims. We are extremely sorry for any worry or concern this may cause to parents/guardians of children with additional care needs. At present it is taking 20 weeks on average to finalise an application. 
There are a number of factors that have contributed to the extended time required to process claims. The numb...

1524. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the net saving of closing JobBridge to new applicants from 1 January 2018. (Question 35827/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - National Internship Scheme)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): JobBridge was introduced in July 2011 in response to the sharp and dramatic increase in unemployment. Since then more than 49,000 participants commenced a work experience placement provided by over 19,000 host organisations.
Participants are paid an allowance equivalent to their underlying social welfare payment plus an additional ‘top-up’ of €52.50 per week for the duration of the placement. The cost of the scheme therefore depends on th...

1525. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the net saving if the Gateway scheme were abolished on 1 January 2018. (Question 35828/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Departmental Expenditure)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1525, 1546 and 1547 together.
The Gateway Initiative was introduced in 2013 at a time of high unemployment in Ireland. It is administered through the local authorities and is one of a number of work programmes that my Department operates. Given the capacity in the system at present through the other employment schemes such as Community Employment ( CE), Tús and the Rural Social Scheme ( RSS) and the contin...

1526. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated saving to her Department of moving an additional 5,000 long-term unemployed into employment via JobsPlus in 2018. (Question 35829/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - JobsPlus Scheme)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): As the Deputy is aware, JobsPlus provides a direct monthly financial incentive to employers who recruit employees who are long-term on the live register and those transitioning into employment. It provides employers with two levels of payment: €7,500 and €10,000. The €7,500 is paid primarily in respect of those who are 12 months or more on the live register with the higher grant paid in respect of those who have been unemployed for more t...

1542. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason for the delay in processing a domiciliary care allowance application by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36054/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - Domiciliary Care Allowance Payments)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Department is currently experiencing delays in the processing of Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) claims. We are extremely sorry for any worry or concern this may cause to parents/guardians of children with additional care needs. At present it is taking 20 weeks on average to finalise an application. Applications are processed in date of receipt order. There are a number of factors that have contributed to the extended time required...

452. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection further to Parliamentary Question No. 481 of 21 March 2017, the rates of all weekly payments; the resulting rates if they were to be increased in line with the harmonised index of consumer prices for 2018; and the estimated cost of this increase per scheme identifying the full and partial year effect if relevant, in tabular form. (Question 33549/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The information that the Deputy is looking for is detailed in the following table. The costs are based on the 1.8% Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices rate for 2018, forecast in the Department of Finance’s 2017 Budget Day publication.
 Scheme Total Full Year Cost - €m Rate of Payment  2017 Proposed Rate of Payment 2018 Social Insurance Schemes     State Pension (Contributory)  €         85.74 €238.30 €242.50 Widow/er’s o...

453. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated cost of each €1 increase to the age reduced JSA and SWA weekly rate of €102.70 in 2018. (Question 33550/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 431, 432, 453 and 454 together.
The full year cost of increasing jobseeker’s allowance, supplementary welfare allowance and the back to education allowance by €5 per week is estimated to be €64.8 million in 2018.
The full year cost of increasing the age related reduced jobseeker’s rates of €102.70 per week and €147.80 per week to the maximum jobseeker’s rate of €193 per week is estimated to be €109.1 million...

454. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated cost of each €1 increase to the age reduced JSA and SWA weekly rate of €147.80 in 2018. (Question 33551/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 431, 432, 453 and 454 together.
The full year cost of increasing jobseeker’s allowance, supplementary welfare allowance and the back to education allowance by €5 per week is estimated to be €64.8 million in 2018.
The full year cost of increasing the age related reduced jobseeker’s rates of €102.70 per week and €147.80 per week to the maximum jobseeker’s rate of €193 per week is estimated to be €109.1 million...

455. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated cost of each €1 increase to the age reduced back to education weekly rate in 2018; and the full year effect. (Question 33552/17 asked on 12 Jul 2017 - Back to Education Allowance Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) scheme is one of a range of activation supports and policies administered by my Department. The main focus of the BTEA is to assist qualifying applicants to improve their qualifications and, therefore, improve their prospects of returning to sustainable employment. The objective of the scheme is to raise the educational and skill levels to enable jobseekers better access to the emerging needs of the ...

249. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason a person (details supplied) in County Donegal was refused an exceptional needs payment to purchase special equipment for a child with cerebral palsy; if this decision will be reconsidered in the event that supporting medical evidence is provided; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31662/17 asked on 05 Jul 2017 - Exceptional Needs Payment Applications)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I wish to advise the Deputy that the person concerned was not refused an exceptional needs payment in respect of special equipment for a child with cerebral palsy.
An application for an Exceptional Needs Payment was made on 29 June 2017 and a decision is expected to be taken this week, the person concerned will be notified directly of the outcome.
I trust that this clarifies the matter.
 ...

604. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection when a farm assist application will be processed for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31330/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Applications)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 604 and 605 together.
To remain eligible for Farm Assist, an individual must continue to satisfy the qualifying criteria for the scheme including a means test. In April 2017 a review of the means in this case was conducted. The person concerned was found to have weekly means in excess of that allowable under the scheme and a decision was taken to terminate the payment. 
The person concerned made an applic...

605. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection when a jobseeker’s benefit application will be processed for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 31331/17 asked on 04 Jul 2017 - Social Welfare Benefits Applications)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 604 and 605 together.
To remain eligible for Farm Assist, an individual must continue to satisfy the qualifying criteria for the scheme including a means test. In April 2017 a review of the means in this case was conducted. The person concerned was found to have weekly means in excess of that allowable under the scheme and a decision was taken to terminate the payment. 
The person concerned made an applic...

210. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection when a decision on an application for a domiciliary care allowance by a person (details supplied) will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29305/17 asked on 22 Jun 2017 - 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 the person concerned on the 29th March 2017. The application will be examined by a Deciding Officer and the decision notified as soon as possible. Applications are processed in date of receipt order. Due to the increased volume of applications currently being received, it can currently take 18 weeks to process an application for DCA.
I hope ...

1995. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason Pobal has taken the decision to withdraw funding support via the community services programme which was previously provided to a company (details supplied) in County Donegal; if her attention has been drawn to the fact that members of the client company have expressed dissatisfaction with this decision and did not voluntarily withdraw from the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26871/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Community Services Programme)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The organisation referred to by the Deputy is a not-for-profit co-operative society working to promote tourism and arts and crafts in the Inishowen peninsula in county Donegal. The company operates from two offices based in Buncrana and Carndonagh, which open five days per week. The company manages the website www.visitinishowen.com, develops packages and marketing material, prints brochures, collates visitors data and works with tourist tr...

2072. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the status of a carer’s allowance application by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; when it is expected a decision will be made; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28487/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - Carer’s Allowance Applications)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I confirm that my Department received an application for carer’s allowance (CA) from the person concerned on 21 December 2016.
The application was referred to a local social welfare inspector (SWI) on 30 March 2017 to assess the level of care being provided, assess means and confirm that all the conditions for receipt of carer’s allowance are satisfied. The SWI’s report was received in the CA section on Monday 19 June and is currently bei...

112. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the expenses incurred by his Department relating to insurance of all types in each of the past five years; the cost of each insurance policy held by his Department over the same time period per annum; if he will provide the same data for all bodies under the aegis of his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 26292/17 asked on 01 Jun 2017 - Insurance Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Department does not take out insurance policies but pays out compensation where necessary. Accordingly, there are no insurance expenses incurred by my Department and no insurance policy costs. In cases where a person takes a personal injury claim against the Department, this is handled by the State Claims Agency. The Pensions Authority, Pensions Ombudsman, Pensions Council and Social Welfare Tribunal have no insurance costs.
The Citize...

265. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection when backdated maternity benefit arrears will issue to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 25326/17 asked on 30 May 2017 - Maternity Benefit Applications)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The person concerned has been awarded maternity benefit at a weekly rate of €235.00 commencing from 10 April 2017. As her claim was processed late she was due arrears of maternity benefit payment, from which the amount paid under the illness benefit scheme had to be deducted. This arises as maternity benefit and illness benefit cannot be paid simultaneously. Accordingly, a net arrears balance of €246.70 issued to her along with her first p...

167. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the specific documentary evidence deemed acceptable in circumstances in which a British citizen does not have a driving licence or passport as identification for the purposes of securing a public services card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 23823/17 asked on 18 May 2017 - Public Services Card Authentication)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): In circumstances where a British citizen applying for a Public Services Card does not have acceptable photographic ID, such as a driving licence or a passport, they are interviewed by a supervisor and asked to provide information in relation to their employment, social welfare and address history. Where the person has been living in the State, the answers can then be checked against the information held on the Department’s systems. Where th...

295. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection if an additional community employment scheme placement will be allocated to a community centre (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 21912/17 asked on 09 May 2017 - Community Employment Schemes Places)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The activation supports and services available to those who are long term unemployed include work experience and training schemes such as Community Employment (CE), TÚS, Gateway and Rural Social Scheme (RSS). 
In this case, the primary sponsor, Udaras na Gaeltachta, Gaoth Barra has 25 CE participant places and one supervisor position. The Halla Naomh Bride project, which is attached to this project, currently has one CE placement assigned t...

304. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection when a jobseeker’s application will be processed for a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22039/17 asked on 09 May 2017 - Jobseeker’s Allowance Applications)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Letterkenny Intreo Centre has advised that the person concerned was issued a cheque payment on 2nd May 2017 for the total amount of jobseekers benefit due to her for the Easter holiday period.
 ...

525. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of community employment scheme placements in County Donegal that are currently vacant and waiting to be filled; the number of such placements which have been vacant for three months, six months, nine months, 12 months and longer than 12 months, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19318/17 asked on 02 May 2017 - Community Employment Schemes Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): At any point in time, there will be vacancies on Community Employment (CE) schemes at the various stages of being filled. The first stage involves the Employer (sponsor) advertising the vacancy on the Department’s JobsIreland website. This is a free service to all employers and in the case of CE the vacancy is generally advertised in advance of the vacancy arising. The next stage is where the employer has identified suitable candidates and...

526. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the number of refusals per county which have been made in respect of persons seeking to take up a placement through the community employment scheme for each month in 2016 and to date in 2017, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 19319/17 asked on 02 May 2017 - Community Employment Schemes Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Sponsors of Community Employment (CE) schemes advertise CE vacancies free-of-charge on the Department’s JobsIreland website, www.jobsireland.ie. Posting vacancies is a relatively simple process and a dedicated video tutorial is available on the site to assist sponsors. Anyone requiring further assistance can contact my Department’s National Contact Centre by phone at Lo Call 1890 800 024 or (01) 248 1398, or by email at jobsireland@welfare....

617. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection the reason for the delay in processing a disability allowance application by a person (details supplied) in County Donegal which was submitted in September 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 20694/17 asked on 02 May 2017 - Disability Allowance Applications)

Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection (Deputy Finian McGrath): I confirm that an application from this lady for disability allowance (DA) was received by my department on 5 September 2016. 
The application has been referred to a Social Welfare Inspector (SWI) for a report on the person’s means and circumstances. The inspector was in contact with person concerned on occasions previously. At the request of the person concerned, the interview has been rescheduled for early M...

187. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection if JobPath participants may undertake and participate in voluntary unpaid community based work; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 17320/17 asked on 06 Apr 2017 - Jobseeker’s Allowance)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Legislation provides that a person must satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work in order to be entitled to a jobseeker’s payment. 
However, I am deeply conscious of the long tradition of volunteering in this country and the contribution that volunteering makes to Ireland’s social fabric. In recognition of the vital role played by the voluntary community, my Department operates a Voluntary Work Option for cus...