Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 744 - Illness benefit eligibility [38167/12].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 744 - Illness benefit eligibility [38167/12]. (18 Sep 2012)

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744. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Social Protection if she has decided to withdraw disability benefit payment to persons who take up addiction rehabilitation as part of a community employment scheme; when this decision was made; the savings made as a result of this cut; and the assessments carried out to determine the effect this cut will have on the amount of drug misusers taking up special community employment rehabilitation. [38167/12] 

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The decision to cease Illness Benefit payments to recipients commencing a Community Employment (CE) scheme on or after the 16th January 2012 was announced in Budget 2012 and is detailed in Section 12 of the Social Welfare Act 2011.

The disqualification under Section 12 from certain payments while participating on a Community Employment scheme also covers other CE-qualifying payments including Disability Allowance, Invalidity Pension, Blind Pension, One-Parent Family Payment, Deserted Wife’s Benefit/Allowance and Widow/ers Pension. Those affected commencing CE after 16th January 2012 would cease their original social welfare payment and swap onto an equivalent CE payment which is €20 higher (due to the CE participation bonus), including any applicable dependants increases.
Those CE Participants already on CE at 16th January 2012 in receipt of the above listed payments continue to receive their original social welfare payment simultaneously with their standard CE allowance until they exit the scheme or exhaust their eligibility to participate on CE or they reach the final cut-off date for the cessation of all double payments in December 2014.
The savings to the Department per person, per year would be €9,776 for those formerly in receipt of Illness Benefit. If all former Illness Benefit clients currently on CE were only in receipt of CE allowances, the savings would be in excess of €5.6million per annum.
As at 12th September 2012, there are 22 CE participants listed as drug rehabilitation clients classified under the Illness Benefit eligibility category. Of these 22, only 4 have commenced CE since 16th January 2012 and have ceased their Illness Benefit payment. Each of them is still €20 per week better off compared to their original payment.
Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 773 No. 1

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