Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (392)

Joe McHugh

Question:

392. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Social Protection the supports that are available to Irish students who completed leaving certificate examinations in 2012 and who are studying a course (details supplied) at the Northwest Regional College in Derry City. [8100/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Social)

The Department operates a range of employment support measures designed to encourage and support social welfare recipients of working age to reduce their dependency on welfare payments. Amongst the supports available is the back to education allowance scheme (BTEA) and the part time education option (PTEO). These supports may be available to persons on qualifying social welfare payments.

One of the conditions for receipt of BTEA is that a person in receipt of a jobseekers payment, under the age of 21 years of age, must be out of formal education for at least two years. BTEA is essentially a social welfare replacement income which is paid in lieu of the relevant social welfare payment that qualifies the applicant for participation in the scheme.

However, if a person wishes to pursue a part time education course they may be able to do so while retaining their jobseekers payment under PTEO of the back to education programme. They must apply at their local social welfare office and verify that participation on the course does not reduce their availability for work.

The person in question is not in receipt of a social welfare payment or has never received a social welfare payment in their own right. The Department of Social Protection does not offer specific income supports for students outside of the Back to Education programme.