Dáil Éireann - Volume 590 - 12 October, 2004
Written Answers - Social Welfare Code.
Mr. Ring Mr. Ring
381. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the way in which his Department decides that a person is not genuinely seeking work; the criteria used regarding this issue; and the way in which these criteria are applied, in particular in an area in which there is a low employment prospects or very little employment. [24407/04]
Mr. Brennan Mr. Brennan
Mr. Brennan:Social welfare legislation provides that, to be entitled to unemployment benefit or unemployment assistance, a person must prove, inter alia, that he or she is available for and genuinely seeking work. Unemployment benefit and assistance claimants are expected to demonstrate they have taken reasonable steps to secure suitable employment and to provide examples of such steps. A person who fails to satisfy the deciding officer that he or she is available for full-time employment and genuinely seeking work is not entitled to an unemployment payment. In applying the legislation, deciding officers have regard to local conditions, including job vacancies in the locality, and the extent to which a claimant has sought to take advantage of available labour market opportunities.
The steps which a person might be expected to take to seek employment will vary with the circumstances. They could, for example, include making oral or written applications for work to employers or persons who have advertised job  offers on behalf of an employer; seeking information on the availability of employment from employers, advertisements, employment agencies and people who have placed advertisements indicating that employment is available; availing of reasonable training opportunities suitable in his or her case; or acting on the advice given by a jobs facilitator, a FÁS adviser or other placement agency such as the local employment service.
It would not be possible or desirable to specify a set of requirements which would guarantee qualification for benefit in all cases. The present system is based on the exercise of judgment by the deciding officer or, as appropriate, the appeals officer as to whether a claimant meets the conditions of entitlement. Each case is decided on its own merits within the framework of the legislation.
If unemployed persons are unable to find employment in their usual employment or within the area in which they are living, they would be expected, after a reasonable period of job search activity, to broaden their search for suitable employment to other employments or to other areas having regard to factors such as the availability of public or private transport.
Dáil Éireann 590 Written Answers Social Welfare Code.