Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

Michael Ring

Question:

730 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo was refused unemployment benefit in view of the fact that she is genuinely available for work and actively seeking employment. [19336/00]

Having left her full-time job, the person concerned applied for unemployment benefit stating in her application that she was now seeking part-time employment.

The deciding officer considered her claim and was of the view that she was neither available for nor genuinely seeking work and, accordingly, disallowed her claim.

The person concerned appealed this decision to the social welfare appeals office. Following careful consideration of all the available evidence an appeals officer has disallowed her appeal.

Under social welfare legislation decisions in relation to claims must be made by deciding officers and appeals officers. These officers are statutorily appointed and I have no role in regard to making such decisions.

Question No. 731 taken with Question No. 116.

Tony Gregory

Question:

732 Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in Dublin 7 was refused a back to education allowance; and if he will review the decision. [19375/00]

The back to education allowance is a second chance educational opportunities scheme designed to encourage and facilitate unemploymed people, lone parents and people with disabilities who are in receipt of a relevant social welfare payment to improve their skills and qualifications with a view to returning to the work force.

To qualify for participation an applicant must,inter alia, be in receipt of a relevant social welfare payment for at least six months, 156 days, prior to commencing an approved course of study.

The person concerned has been in receipt of a social welfare payment and therefore does not come within the scope of my Department's back to education allowance. I understand that she has just recently finished participation on a FÁS community employment scheme but there are no facilities under that scheme for people to continue in payment while undertaking further education courses.

The question of any change in the present arrangements for back to education support would have to be considered in a budgetary context because of the financial implications which would be involved.