Thursday, 24 October 2019

Questions (298)

Joan Burton

Question:

298. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if persons qualifying under the long-term illness scheme are eligible for workplace programmes and training courses even if they are drawing credits rather than receiving a social welfare payment; the supports available for persons in this category to assist them in returning to the labour market in circumstances in which this is possible; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [43860/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

My Department is committed to supporting as many people as possible to participate in employment and to become more self-sufficient by providing supports that address barriers they may encounter in finding and sustaining employment or self-employment. There are a range of supports available to people with long term illness to assist them to enter employment.

Community employment (CE) and Tús are work placement schemes that aim to provide quality work opportunities while also assisting in providing certain services of benefit to communities. The Department’s main focus is on activation and to progress as many participants as possible from Community Employment and Tús into full-time and sustainable employment.  These work programmes are available to persons on a qualifying social welfare payment which may include time spent on certain long term illness schemes for example disability allowance, blind pension, illness benefit and invalidity pension.   

The back to work enterprise scheme assists people on certain social welfare payments including disability allowance, carer’s allowance, incapacity supplement, invalidity pension, illness benefit and blind pension who wish to become self-employed.  The back to work enterprise allowance is designed to provide a monetary incentive for people who are on social welfare payments to develop a business. Individuals in receipt of the back to work enterprise allowance may also receive financial support in the form of the enterprise support grant subject to a maximum amount of €2,500 over the two year period of the back to work enterprise allowance scheme.

The wages subsidy scheme gives financial support to employers who employ people with disabilities. The objective of the wages subsidy scheme is to increase the likelihood of people with disabilities obtaining and sustaining employment in the open labour market by providing financial incentives to private sector employers. 

Youth employment support scheme aims to give you the opportunity to learn basic work and social skills in a supportive environment, while on a work placement in a host organisation. The scheme is open to organisations in the private, community and voluntary sectors. People in receipt of disability allowance and blind pension can be supported under this scheme.

The training support grant funded by my Department is designed to facilitate quick access to short-term training that is identified to assist participants in receipt of long term illness schemes such as disability allowance, illness benefit (after 6 months), carer’s allowance, blind pension, invalidity pension.  This grant can support someone up to €500 per annum with the costs associated with training or development.  

The back to education allowance scheme, operated by my Department, provides people with a second chance education that will improve their prospects of securing employment.  It enables eligible people such as those in receipt of disability allowance, incapacity supplement, blind pension, invalidity pension, illness benefit/credits and carer’s allowance to pursue approved education courses and to continue to receive income support for the duration of a course of study, subject to meeting certain conditions.   

I would advise the Deputy to advise any one in the situation she has outlined to contact their local intreo centre for information on the options available to them.