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
Willie O'Dea (Limerick City, Fianna Fail)
My amendment has also been ruled out of order. I simply wanted the Government to say what it intends to do by way of regulation on the face of the Bill in plain language. I cannot understand why that cannot happen. The Minister's colleague, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, announced today that the signing-on process would be on a fortnightly basis from here on in. What is the situation with old age pensioners? Do they still have to collect their pensions every week through a nominated deputy in the post office? Does the Government intend to make any concessions on that? I put it to the Minister that I understand that the system will operate such that one fills out the one-page form, the Department assesses whether one is entitled to jobseeker's benefit or jobseeker's allowance, one then has six weeks to submit the larger form, which means that if one has dependants etc., his or her payments will be adjusted accordingly and backdated. What is the situation if one's spouse has an income that would disentitle one from receiving jobseeker's allowance? Will there be a lot of claims for rebates from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection when this is all over? Will the Minister clarify the situation a number of Deputies asked about in the last section about topping up? What is the precise position? Can an employer top up the €203 per week, whether it be jobseeker's allowance or jobseeker's benefit?