Thursday, 17 April 2014

Questions (121)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

121. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Social Protection her plans to change the criteria to allow persons who are unemployed but do not qualify for a social welfare payment due to the assessment of their means to partake in programmes such as JobBridge; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18341/14]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

Given the scale of unemployment levels, the key objective of activation policy and labour market initiatives is to offer assistance to those most in need of support in securing work and achieving financial self-sufficiency. This policy objective prioritises scarce resources to those in receipt of qualifying welfare payments. Accordingly the employment services and schemes provided by the Department are focused in the first instance on this cohort of unemployed people.

A range of services are available to persons who are unemployed but not in receipt of a social welfare payment. For example employment services, such as advice on job-search activities and the use of online job search tools, are available to people if they register with the Department’s employment services offices, regardless of their social welfare status.

Further, unemployed persons not in receipt of payments may also be eligible to avail of up-skilling opportunities, for example through ETB (formerly FÁS) training for unemployed people, but are not eligible to receive a training allowance while undertaking the course.

The Work Placement Programme is also open to persons not in receipt of a social welfare payment, although the participant will not receive a payment while on the programme.

An unemployed person who does not qualify for a social welfare payment due to the assessment of their means may be eligible to sign for social insurance contribution credits. Persons who sign for credits for three months (78 days) of the last six months are eligible to participate in the JobBridge programme.