Dáil Éireann - Volume 503 - 22 April, 1999
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.
Mr. Naughten Mr. Naughten
116. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the plans, if any, he has to extend the free travel pass to cancer patients on either radium or chemotherapy treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10607/99]
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. Ahern
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): The free travel scheme is available to people who are permanently resid ing in the State who are aged 66 or over and to people under that age who are in receipt of certain qualifying payments. The qualifying payments are mainly various types of disability pensions or allowances. People in receipt of the carer's allowance can also qualify for free travel.
The scheme is intended to encourage older people and other categories of eligible people to remain active in the community.
Some of the people referred to by the Deputy are probably in receipt of qualifying payments by virtue of the nature of their illnesses and consequently qualify for a free travel pass. Any expansion of the scheme along the lines considered by the Deputy would fall to be considered in a budgetary context.
Ms Clune Ms Clune
117. Ms Clune asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the amount of rent allowance paid to recipients in the health board regions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10613/99]
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. Ahern
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): Statistics on the total amount of rent supplement paid in 1998 under the supplementary welfare allowance scheme are presented in the following tabular statement.
Expenditure on rent supplements has increased substantially over the last ten years. In recent years, this was mainly due to increases in rent levels rather than recipient numbers. Expenditure is expected to exceed £100 million in 1999.
An interdepartmental committee, under the aegis of the Department of Environment and Local Government, is currently examining the implications of transferring the administration of rent and mortgage interest supplements to the local authorities.
It comprises representatives from the Departments of Health and Children, Social, Community and Family Affairs and Finance as well as Environment and Local Government. I understand that the committee will report shortly. Any further development of the rent supplement scheme will be considered in the light of the findings of that report.
Dáil Éireann 503 Written Answers. Social Welfare Benefits.