June 24, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Social Protection her views on the unreasonable delays in the payment of arrears of disability allowance payable to applicants who have been approved on appeal and have already waited approximately two years to have their claim approved; the steps she will take to improve this situation; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Reply from Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD: The Department aims to process and pay without delay all successful appeals returned by the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO). There are, however, some temporary delays currently being experienced by some successful disability allowance (DA) appellants. Over the past year, the Department has been working to reduce the number of DA applications awaiting decision and the successful clearing of high level of claims has resulted in an equally high level of appeals which are been serviced as quickly as possible.
Additional staff resources have been assigned to this work. As most of these customers are already in payment on other schemes, arrears due (if any) will issue once overlaps with these other scheme payments have been calculated and resolved.
March 4, 2014
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if she will consider including Springboard courses under the childcare and employment training support scheme.
Reply from Minister Frances Fitzgerald:
Funding is made available by my Department to support a number of childcare programmes which provide a range of supports to parents of pre-school and after-school children, including the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) programme.
The CETS programme provides funding to support parents, who are participating in Solas and the Education Training Boards training and education courses, with the cost of childcare. The eligibility criteria for parents availing of this support is determined by Solas and the Education Training Boards, which come under the remit of the Department of Education and Skills. A number of new strands to the programme have been added, including an after-school programme which provides support to social welfare recipients returning to employment and a further strand which provides support to parents participating in Community Employment schemes. Eligibility for support under these strands is determined by the Department of Social Protection.
The function of my Department is to monitor the take-up of childcare places available to those parents approved for support and to administer the relevant funding. Determining which courses will enable parents to qualify for support under the CETS programme is therefore a matter for the Departments of Social Protection and Education and Skills.