Dáil Éireann - Volume 595 - 16 December, 2004

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

  136. Mr. Wall asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the position regarding a person (details supplied) in County Kildare who had to transfer from the back to work payment to unemployment assistance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33948/04]

  Mr. Brennan: The back to work allowance scheme incentivises and encourages long-term unemployed people, lone parents and certain persons with disabilities to return to work by allowing them to retain their social welfare payment on a tapered rate over a three or four year period when they take up employment or self-employment. Participants in the scheme may also retain secondary benefits for the three or four year period.

An evaluation of the scheme carried out by independent consultants has shown that 78% of those who participated in the scheme had not returned to the live register. In the event that a participant does not claim back to work allowance for the full period of entitlement, that is, three years in the case of the employee strand or four years in the case of the self-employment strand, then, subject to satisfying all the usual conditions, he or she may apply for unemployment benefit or assistance.

The period spent participating in the back to work allowance scheme is not treated as a period of unemployment as the recipient is in insurable employment while receiving a payment under the scheme and there is no link back to the previous period of employment for the purposes of calculating the cumulative total days of the unemployment claim. A person who claims unemployment assistance after a period on the back to work allowance scheme would be entitled to a payment of a Christmas bonus after 15 months on such assistance payment.

[1092]   137. Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a person (details supplied) in County Kildare will be awarded one parent family allowance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34002/04]

  Mr. Brennan: There is a statutory obligation on all claimants of one parent family payment to satisfy and continue to satisfy the conditions for entitlement to the payment. In the case of the person in question, she was requested during the investigation of her claim to provide documentation regarding her means. She failed to provide information on her means and her application was duly refused.

The person in question subsequently informed the Department that she had changed address and provided some documentation on her means. The application has been referred to a local officer who has interviewed the person in question at her new address. However, as all the information required to finalise inquiries was not made available investigations are still ongoing regarding her means. A meeting is scheduled for today between the local inspector and the person’s employer. On completion of the necessary inquiries a decision will be made and the person concerned will be notified of the outcome.

Under social welfare legislation decisions on claims must be made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.

  138. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs when a person (details supplied) in County Mayo will be awarded the carer’s allowance. [34020/04]

  Mr. Brennan: The person in question applied for carer’s allowance on 8 November 2004. The principal conditions for receipt of the allowance are that full-time care and attention is required and being provided and that the means test that applies is satisfied. A decision issued to the person in question refusing his application on the basis that full-time care and attention was not required in this case. He was afforded the opportunity to submit further medical evidence for review, which he has provided. This information has been forwarded to my Department’s chief medical adviser for consideration. His application was also referred to an investigative officer of my Department on 17 November 2004 to determine that all conditions necessary for receipt of this allowance are satisfied. On completion of the necessary investigations, a formal decision will be made and the person in question will be notified directly.

Under social welfare legislation decisions on claims must be made by deciding officers and [1093] appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.