Thursday, 19 March 2020
An Bille Sláinte (Caomhnú agus Cosaint agus Bearta Éigeandála Eile Ar Mhaithe Le Leas an Phobail), 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
I am inclined to agree with Deputy Brady. Practically all the social welfare amendments have been ruled out of order on the basis that they are a charge on the Exchequer. I put down an amendment to prevent the Government from introducing regulations to impose additional conditions of entitlement to the increased illness benefit payment in section 40(A)(1)(e). For the life of me, I cannot see how that could be interpreted as a charge on the Exchequer, yet it was ruled out of order on that basis. I was trying to ensure that the Government does not impose extra conditions in the regulations which will appear at some time in the future which might result in some of those people having to repay the Department of Employment and Social Protection.
I have three brief questions on my excluded amendments. First, what is the situation when someone is in receipt of jobseeker's allowance or benefit and their employer wishes to top up that payment? I know the Government's arrangement is that they pay them the whole lot and get back €203. Many employers are not in a position to pay out the full amount but they do wish to top up the payment. Second, what is the position relating to someone who is already in receipt of family income supplement, a widow's pension or working family payment? Third, the Minister is aware that if an individual's income is below a certain rate he or she is not entitled to the full rate of jobseeker's benefit. Will people who fall into that category be in a repayment situation when they submit the other form within the six week period?