Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Questions (659)

John Brassil


659. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the assisted technology grant for partially sighted and blind persons will be reviewed (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28005/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) does not operate an "assisted technology grant". The Department of Education and Skills does administer an "Assistive Technology Grant" under the Assistive Technology scheme, where funding is provided to schools towards the cost of computers and specialist equipment which are required for educational purposes. Any funding to Community Healthcare Organisations (CHO) areas as mentioned in the Deputy's question, is likely to come through the HSE, which is under the remit of the Department of Health.

However, this Department does administer the Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant (WEAG) under the Reasonable Accommodation Fund (RAF). A range of employment support grants for people with disabilities and employers are provided under the RAF.

The fund is comprised of -

- Employee Retention Grant: The purpose of the Employee Retention Grant Scheme is to assist employers to retain employees who acquire an illness, condition or impairment which impacts on their ability to carry out their job.

- Workplace Equipment / Adaptation Grant: Where a person with a disability has been offered employment or is in employment, and requires a more accessible workplace or adapted equipment to do the job, funding / a grant will be provided by the department.

- Personal Reader Grant: If a person is blind or visually impaired and needs assistance with job-related reading, s/he may be entitled to a grant to allow him/her to employ a Personal Reader.

- Job Interview Interpreter Grant: A jobseeker who is deaf, hard of hearing or has speech impairment and is attending job interviews, may apply for funding to have a sign language interpreter or other interpreter to attend the interview with him/her. Funding can also be provided to cover the costs of an interpreter during an induction period when starting work.

- Disability Awareness Support Scheme. This scheme is open to all organisations in the private sector and is available for raising the awareness of personnel at all levels and occupations. It may be regarded as grant support for staff development programmes that deal with disability etiquette. The purpose of this scheme is to assist the integration of people with disabilities into the workforce and to eliminate mistaken perceptions about people with disabilities and their capacity to be productive and effective colleagues and employees.

The Department intends to commence a focussed policy review of the Reasonable Accommodation Fund in 2019.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.