Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Questions (62)

Gerry Adams


62. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a student (details supplied) in County Louth has been refused a student grant on the basis that their stepfather, who is on disability allowance, is not their legal guardian and therefore that income cannot be considered in the context of the assessment of income; if he finds this to be a discriminative decision for this student and all other students who apply for a student grant but are turned down on the basis that their father or mother may not be their biological parent; if he will reconsider the decision not to grant this person a student grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23869/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

To qualify for the special rate of grant an applicant must meet the following conditions:

a. Reckonable income must not exceed €22,703.

b. On the 31st December of the relevant period the reckonable income must include an eligible long-term social welfare payment prescribed under the scheme.

In the case of a student whose parents are divorced, legally separated or it is established to the satisfaction of the awarding authority that they are separated, the reckonable income shall be that of the applicant and the parent with whom the applicant resides. The income of a stepparent who is not a legal guardian is not included in determining reckonable income. Where the reckonable income does not include a long-term social welfare payment, as listed in the Student Grant Scheme, the special rate of grant is not payable. I have no plans at present to change the criteria in relation to persons whose income is considered in determining reckonable income for student grant purposes.