Written Answers. - Community Employment Scheme.

Jack Wall

Question:

132 Mr. Wall asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if the spouse of a recipient of invalidity pension, with particular reference to a person (details supplied) in County Kildare, is eligible to participate on a community employment scheme; if the necessary changes will be made to the scheme if this category is not currently eligible to join a scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8169/01]

Invalidity pension is payable to persons who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the qualifying PRSI conditions. Persons in receipt of an invalidity pension are automatically eligible for participation on community employment, CE. However, spouses must satisfy the qualifying criteria in their own right before being eligible to participate in the CE programme.

As part of the continuing need to facilitate the reintegration of women back into the workforce, the general terms and conditions relating to participation on CE have been reviewed and adjusted in the context of both the Government's decision in 1999 to restructure the programme and the recommendations contained in the P2000 report on facilitating women's access to labour market opportunities. Direct access to the programme has been extended to widows/widowers, qualified adults of long-term unemployed persons, deserted wives benefit recipients and persons previously in receipt of the carers allowance.
The eligibility of further categories of persons for participation in CE, including that of qualified adults, adult dependants, of invalidity pension recipients, will be kept under continuing review by my Department.