Written answers

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Payments

Photo of Martin BrowneMartin Browne (Tipperary, Sinn Fein)
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609. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the impact on the social protection payments of a person if they outline the measures they are taking to secure employment rather than engaging with Turas Nua and or JobPath; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32678/22]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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All persons in receipt of a jobseeker payment must be available for and genuinely seek work, and must engage with the activation process.

Labour Market activation policies are designed to give jobseekers a better chance of finding employment. Activation is the process of selection and referral of a person in receipt of a jobseeker payment to a compulsory engagement and case management process that aims to support them into employment. Activation measures may include the requirement to attend group or individual meetings, and/or avail of suitable education, training or development opportunities, or specified employment programmes considered appropriate to the person’s circumstances.  This includes engaging with JobPath providers Turas Nua and Seetec.

The process is designed to support and complement the person's individual efforts to secure employment. The person may outline the measures they are taking to secure employment and Employment Services will assist them in those efforts by providing advice and agreeing a personal progression plan.

Activation is a mandatory process and failure to engage without good cause may result in a reduced rate of payment.  A reduced rate of payment is only applied where a jobseeker fails to engage as requested without just cause, and following at least two warnings from the Department’s employment services. Full payment is restored as soon as the jobseeker engages in the process.

JobPath providers do not apply or recommend the application of a reduced rate of payment.  They simply advise the Department if a jobseeker is failing to attend scheduled activation meetings.  Officials in the Department then contact the Jobseeker and seek to arrange a meeting to discuss the matter directly with them.  The application of a reduced rate of payment is entirely a matter for the Department and the Deciding Officer will take all relevant circumstances into account.

Any person who is dissatisfied with a Deciding Officer’s decision may appeal that decision to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).

I trust this clarifies the matter.

Photo of Róisín ShortallRóisín Shortall (Dublin North West, Social Democrats)
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610. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding backdating a social welfare payment for a person (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32688/22]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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I confirm that my Department received an application for disability allowance (DA) from the above named person on 27 September 2021.  She was awarded disability allowance with effect from 29 September 2021.

The person concerned sent requests to the DA section in November 2021 for her claim to be backdated to 13 March 2020. The requests were considered by a deciding officer (DO). Having reviewed all of the evidence submitted in support of her application, the DO decided to award her claim from 18 March 2020. She was notified in writing of this decision on 2 December 2021. Arrears of allowance due for the period from 18 March 2020 to 28 September 2021 issued to her bank account on 8 December 2021.

The person concerned sent a further request to my Department for her claim to be backdated to when she was 12  years old. This request was refused and the person in question was notified in writing of this decision on 13 January 2022. 

Following a further review, the deciding officer decided to backdate her claim to 16 October 2019 under the good cause clause. The person concerned was notified in writing of this decision on 5 May 2022.  Arrears of allowance due for the period from 16 October 2019 to 17 March 2020 issued to her bank account on 11 May 2022.

She lodged an appeal with the independent social welfare appeals office (SWAO) requesting that her claim is backdated to her 18 February 2015.  All the relevant papers requested by that office were prepared and submitted by this department to the SWAO who will be in touch with the person in due course in relation to the progress of the appeal.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

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