Written answers

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Department of Social and Family Affairs

Social Welfare Benefits

10:00 am

Photo of John PerryJohn Perry (Sligo-North Leitrim, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 48: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the processing time for each individual social welfare office to deal with a claim for jobseeker's allowance to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27956/10]

Photo of Dan NevilleDan Neville (Limerick West, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 55: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the average processing time it takes for a claim in respect of jobseeker's allowance to be dealt with to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27947/10]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 66: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the numbers of persons on a national, county and local social welfare office basis awaiting for their application for jobseeker's allowance and benefit to be processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27958/10]

Photo of Kieran O'DonnellKieran O'Donnell (Limerick East, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 71: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the processing time for each individual social welfare office to deal with a claim for jobseeker's benefit to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27951/10]

Photo of Michael NoonanMichael Noonan (Limerick East, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 85: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the average processing time it takes for a claim for jobseeker's benefit to be dealt with to date in 2010; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27948/10]

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Minister, Department of Social and Family Affairs; Galway West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I propose to take Questions Nos. 48, 55, 66, 71 and 85 together.

The national average processing times for jobseeker claims decided during May was 2.43 weeks for jobseeker's benefit and 6.58 weeks for jobseeker's allowance. Processing times can be affected by the requirements of the schemes such as the necessity for a means assessment or it may be necessary to ascertain details of foreign insurance records. I have made available a table showing the processing times at each local office during May.

The total number of jobseeker's awaiting a decision on their claim at 19 June was 48,261 and represents 9% of the total jobseeker claim load nationwide. As has previously been said in the House, when we look back over several years when the live register was at its lowest, there was always around 9% or 10% of claims awaiting a decision.

I think the Deputies will agree that over the past year or more the Department has made huge efforts to reduce processing times and the number of claims awaiting a decision. The current performance should be seen in the context that, in 2009 alone, local offices received over 670,000 jobseeker claims and so far this year they have received over 200,000 claims.

I have also made available to the House a table showing the breakdown of jobseeker's benefit (JB) and jobseeker's allowance (JA) claims awaiting a decision at each local office. These data have been compiled from data that is maintained on a local office catchment area basis and the figures do not correspond exactly with county boundaries.

I appreciate the importance of getting claims decided as quickly as possible and I want to assure the House that staff in local offices and in the Department's inspectorate are doing all they can to ensure that claims are processed as quickly as possible. There are still some offices where processing times and claims awaiting a decision are not as good as I would like. The Department will strive to reduce processing times and the number of claims awaiting a decision even further where we can, either through streamlining processes and procedures further or through the introduction of new technology to assist with claims processing much of which is well in development.

Table 1: Average processing times for Jobseeker claims, May 2010 (weeks)

JBJA
ACHILL0.120.93
APOLLO HOUSE0.712.29
ARDEE3.197.79
ARKLOW0.911.80
ATHLONE2.644.79
ATHY2.087.81
BALBRIGGAN4.0713.29
BALLINA3.399.00
BALLINASLOE0.776.44
BALLINROBE3.856.44
BALLYBOFEY1.303.71
BALLYCONNELL4.267.49
BALLYFERMOT1.683.62
BALLYMUN2.012.81
BALLYSHANNON1.223.61
BALTINGLASS3.897.57
BANDON3.677.03
BANTRY3.395.88
BANTRY CO1.405.24
BELMULLET1.062.45
BIRR1.455.00
Bishop Square1.328.65
Blanchardstown1.9110.94
BOYLE4.218.94
BRAY1.763.63
BUNCRANA2.485.55
CAHIR1.104.31
CAHIRCIVEEN3.824.67
CARLOW0.634.33
CARRICKMACROSS2.076.23
CARRICK-ON-SHANNON1.392.93
CARRICK-ON-SUIR3.406.36
CARRIGALINE1.167.92
CASHEL1.444.80
CASTLEBAR3.545.06
CASTLEBLAYNEY2.135.13
CASTLEPOLLARD2.888.56
CASTLEREA5.0412.49
CAVAN2.297.00
CLAREMORRIS5.6312.97
CLIFDEN2.233.15
CLONAKILTY2.986.65
CLONDALKIN2.286.34
CLONES0.944.53
CLONMEL0.844.34
COBH0.431.77
Coolock LO3.117.15
CORK1.849.35
DINGLE0.802.44
DONEGAL1.232.20
DROGHEDA2.358.06
DUNDALK0.993.17
DUNFANAGHY0.971.63
DUNGARVAN1.825.79
DUNGLOE2.141.82
DUN LAOGHAIRE1.945.13
EDENDERRY2.897.46
ENNIS2.635.60
ENNISCORTHY3.758.87
ENNISTYMON4.167.90
FERMOY5.758.28
FINGLAS1.213.18
GALWAY2.8411.33
GOREY3.289.43
GORT5.077.85
KELLS3.218.06
KENMARE2.421.40
KILBARRACK0.893.40
KILKENNY1.923.27
KILLARNEY1.4710.05
KILLORGLIN0.853.75
KILLYBEGS0.941.54
KILMALLOCK1.693.28
KILRUSH4.217.08
Kings Inns Street Local Office2.015.56
KINSALE2.716.61
LETTERKENNY0.623.70
LIMERICK2.965.88
LISTOWEL2.936.97
LONGFORD5.4112.48
LOUGHREA3.129.35
MACROOM5.979.17
Mallow Branch Office4.697.29
MANORHAMILTON1.560.57
MAYNOOTH2.424.23
MIDLETON3.356.07
MONAGHAN3.434.04
MUINE BHEAG0.725.89
MULLINGAR4.4213.15
NAVAN5.2811.56
NAVAN ROAD1.6510.25
NENAGH2.494.22
NEWBRIDGE1.917.65
NEWCASTLE WEST2.133.63
NEWMARKET4.166.72
NEW ROSS1.625.68
NUTGROVE1.883.97
PORTARLINGTON1.175.39
PORTLAOISE2.727.06
RATHDOWNEY1.359.72
ROSCOMMON2.927.54
ROSCREA0.942.81
SKIBBEREEN1.814.81
SLIGO0.857.11
SWINFORD2.7510.81
Swords LO3.504.94
TALLAGHT1.884.86
THOMAS STREET1.125.07
THOMASTOWN2.008.93
THURLES1.353.66
TIPPERARY2.244.17
TRALEE1.372.83
TRIM6.919.87
TUAM1.8110.67
TUBBERCURRY0.930.92
TULLA4.314.72
Tullamore Control Office0.724.06
TULLOW1.684.62
WATERFORD3.028.80
WESTPORT1.402.32
WEXFORD4.147.21
WICKLOW1.482.47
YOUGHAL2.903.97

Table 2

Jobseekers claims awaiting a decision – 19 June 2010

Local OfficeParent OfficeTypeClaimloadPending% Pending
AchillAchillSWLO59461%
Apollo HouseApollo HouseSWLO31142418%
ArdeeDroghedaSWBO284428810%
ArklowArklowSWLO3819932%
AthloneAthloneSWLO47164289%
AthyNewbridgeSWBO31302959%
BalbrigganBalbrigganSWLO535581015%
BallinaBallinaSWLO42243308%
BallinasloeAthloneSWBO29882268%
BallinrobeLoughreaSWBO143114610%
BallybofeyDonegal COSWBO32211334%
BallyconnellCavanSWBO151416511%
BallyfermotBallyfermotSWLO38881343%
BallymunBallymunSWLO32921414%
BallyshannonDonegal COSWBO18691056%
BaltinglassNewbridgeSWBO17641398%
BandonCarrigalineSWBO182918810%
BantryBantry COSWBO15161329%
Bantry COBantry COSWLO427307%
BelmulletBelmulletSWLO1408876%
BirrAthloneSWBO27302298%
Bishop SquareBishop SquareSWLO10661104510%
BlanchardstownBlanchardstownSWLO9241132314%
BoyleLongfordSWBO127615312%
BrayBraySWLO60175068%
BuncranaBuncranaSWLO60425619%
CahirClonmelSWBO1532845%
CahirciveenCahirciveenSWLO941677%
CarlowCarlowSWLO42922095%
CarrickmacrossDundalkSWBO19481266%
Carrick-on-ShannonCarrick-on-ShannonSWLO32091956%
Carrick-on-SuirWaterfordSWBO233224210%
CarrigalineCarrigalineSWLO28562619%
CashelClonmelSWBO1396977%
CastlebarCastlebarSWLO295843515%
CastleblaneyDundalkSWBO21931336%
CastlepollardMullingarSWBO165523714%
CastlereaBallinaSWBO229237316%
CavanCavanSWLO72786589%
ClaremorrisBallinaSWBO180317610%
ClifdenClifdenSWLO1471393%
ClonakiltyCarrigalineSWBO152314510%
ClondalkinClondalkinSWLO1143110859%
ClonesDundalkSWBO999586%
ClonmelClonmelSWLO31651796%
CobhCobhSWLO1275413%
CoolockCoolockSWLO607982013%
CorkCorkSWLO22655328915%
DingleTraleeSWBO856374%
DonegalDonegal COSWBO1668885%
DroghedaDroghedaSWLO9304117013%
Dun LaoghaireDun LaoghaireSWLO88327508%
DundalkDundalkSWLO76133114%
DunfanaghyDunfanaghySWLO1860473%
DungarvanWaterfordSWBO267632712%
DungloeDungloeSWLO27391495%
EdenderryMullingarSWBO255441916%
EnnisEnnisSWLO68594837%
EnniscorthyWexfordSWBO528558311%
EnnistymonEnnisSWBO19191397%
FermoyMallow COSWBO327338112%
FinglasFinglasSWLO64483846%
GalwayGalwaySWLO14642224515%
GoreyWexfordSWBO454144610%
GortEnnisSWBO178221012%
KellsNavanSWBO230734615%
KenmareKenmareSWLO806344%
KilbarrackKilbarrackSWLO62284788%
KilkennyKilkennySWLO72134026%
KillarneyKillarneySWLO33082076%
KillorglinTraleeSWBO1576443%
KillybegsDonegal COSWBO1529654%
KilmallockNewcastlewestSWBO30212789%
KilrushEnnisSWBO17181539%
King's Inns StreetKing's Inns StreetSWLO87646167%
KinsaleCarrigalineSWBO15331278%
LetterkennyLetterkennySWLO67592574%
LimerickLimerickSWLO17261207012%
ListowelListowelSWLO36792687%
LongfordLongfordSWLO629882313%
LoughreaLoughreaSWLO311849616%
MacroomMallow COSWBO229129913%
MallowMallow COSWBO316846115%
ManorhamiltonManorhamiltonSWLO1134404%
MaynoothBallyfermotSWBO71936519%
MidletonCarrigalineSWBO365535610%
MonaghanDundalkSWBO31471655%
Muine BheagCarlowSWBO20511437%
MullingarMullingarSWLO580986015%
NavanNavanSWLO6517119418%
Navan RoadNavan RoadSWLO7361117716%
NenaghThurlesSWBO354143912%
New RossWexfordSWBO39072767%
NewbridgeNewbridgeSWLO11222124611%
Newcastle WestNewcastlewestSWLO39132567%
NewmarketListowelSWBO25602229%
NutgroveNutgroveSWLO60192124%
PortarlingtonTullamoreSWBO36702788%
PortlaoiseKilkennySWBO44823768%
RathdowneyKilkennySWBO138214310%
RoscommonLongfordSWBO15121319%
RoscreaThurlesSWBO16281519%
SkibbereenBantry COSWBO16761479%
SligoSligoSWLO53844639%
SwinfordBallinaSWBO215222811%
SwordsSwordsSWLO523351510%
TallaghtTallaghtSWLO118477957%
Thomas StreetThomas StreetSWLO54813326%
ThomastownWaterfordSWBO165819212%
ThurlesThurlesSWLO34532036%
TipperaryClonmelSWBO20341156%
TraleeTraleeSWLO81672994%
TrimNavanSWBO407678719%
TuamLoughreaSWBO444150311%
TubbercurrySligoSWBO1305252%
TullaEnnisSWBO17241479%
TullamoreTullamoreSWLO46481613%
TullowCarlowSWBO17531116%
WaterfordWaterfordSWLO14491163911%
WestportWestportSWLO24351024%
WexfordWexfordSWLO76264856%
WicklowArklowSWBO2451914%
YoughalCarrigalineSWBO20571296%

512,416 48,261*

*The figure of 48,261 (Pending) includes 776 Jobseeker's Benefit Credits Only claims.

Photo of Andrew DoyleAndrew Doyle (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 49: To ask the Minister for Social Protection his plans to reform the one parent family payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27914/10]

Photo of Ulick BurkeUlick Burke (Galway East, Fine Gael)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 69: To ask the Minister for Social Protection if he has conducted a review of the one parent family payment; the details on the recommendations of this review; if he will publish this review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27893/10]

Photo of Willie PenroseWillie Penrose (Longford-Westmeath, Labour)
Link to this: Individually | In context

Question 79: To ask the Minister for Social Protection his policy regarding the ending of the ban on cohabitation for persons in receipt of one parent family payment and the replacement of this payment with a parental allowance. [27971/10]

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Minister, Department of Social and Family Affairs; Galway West, Fianna Fail)
Link to this: Individually | In context

I propose to take Questions Nos. 49, 69 and 79 together.

The Government discussion paper, "Proposals for Supporting Lone Parents", was published in 2006 and can be viewed at http://www.welfare.ie/EN/Policy/PolicyPublications/Families/Documents/prop_lp.pdf.

It put forward proposals for the expanded availability and range of education and training opportunities for lone parents, the extension of the National Employment Action Plan to focus on lone parents, the focused provision of childcare, improved information services for lone parents and the introduction of a new social assistance payment for low-income families with young children.

The One-Parent Family Payment, by its nature, is not payable where the lone parent is co-habiting with the other parent of the child or with someone else as husband and wife. The Discussion Paper proposed that the category of lone parenthood would be abolished. Instead, a parental allowance would be made to all parents (living alone or with a partner) with young children on a low income, thus ending the co-habitation rule. It will not be possible for my Department to progress this aspect of the proposal due, at present, to the current economic climate.

These proposals have, however, informed deliberations regarding the One-Parent Family Payment scheme. The current One-Parent Family Payment provides long-term income support, until children are 18 years of age, or 22 years of age if in full-time education, to those who are parenting alone – with no systematic engagement with recipients by the State. At present, lone parents are not required to engage in employment, education or training as a pre-condition to receiving the payment. Such long-term welfare dependency and passive income support to individuals of working age are not considered to be in the best interests of the recipient, of his or her children or of society in general.

Despite significant State spending on one-parent families as well as improvements made to the One-Parent Family Payment over the years, the results have been poor in terms of tackling poverty and social exclusion and encouraging economic independence. A large proportion of lone parents and their children continue to experience poverty.

Social welfare supports for lone parents should be designed to:

¡ prevent long-term dependence on welfare and facilitate financial independence;

¡ recognise parental choice with regard to care of young children but with the expectation that parents will not remain outside of the labour force indefinitely, and

¡ include an expectation of participation in education, training and employment, with supports provided in this regard.

To meet these social policy objectives, my Department has introduced changes to the One-Parent Family Payment in the Social Welfare (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, 2010 which are being discussed in the Oireachtas at present.

These changes will bring Ireland's support for lone parents more in line with international provisions, where there is a general movement away from long-term and passive income support.

Comments

No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.