Tuesday, 22 June 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
291. Mr. Andrews asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the savings expected on foot of the decisions not to award child benefit to incoming asylum seekers as and from 1 May 2004. [18264/04]
Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan): Since 1 May 2004 all new applicants for child benefit payments, irrespective of nationality, must satisfy the condition of being habitually resident in the State before payment can be made.
It is too early to make accurate estimates of savings in child benefit payments to asylum seekers arising from the introduction of a habitual residence condition. As the Deputy will be aware, the number of people claiming asylum in Ireland has fallen sharply over the last year and a half.
Furthermore, asylum seekers who are granted refugee status or humanitarian leave to remain in the State may qualify for child benefit as they are regarded as satisfying the habitual residence condition on being granted either refugee status or humanitarian leave to remain.
292. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason her Department claims that a person (details supplied) would not be eligible for the back to education allowance, when this person, an Irish citizen, has been in receipt of a rent allowance for the past four years from their community welfare officer, holds a current medical card and has been accepted on a course of study by the Ballyfermot college for further education to complete a higher national diploma in professional traditional music; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18575/04]
Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mary Coughlan): Eligibility for back to education allowance is dependent on the claimant being in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment. The person concerned is not currently in receipt of a payment from my Department, or of rent supplement and he is not entitled to payment of back to education allowance under the rules of this scheme. As his means have not been reviewed for some time, however, I have arranged for his circumstances to be examined to establish whether he would now be entitled to a payment from my Department which would count for qualification for back to education allowance.
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