Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (1073)

Dara Calleary


1073. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the fact that the decision to remove lone parents from jobseeker's transitional payment automatically when the youngest child turns 14 years of age is having a negative impact on such applications for other funding streams such as SUSI (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44903/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

When a customer on Jobseekers Transitional (JST) wishes to commence a course of education, they are required to advise their Intreo Centre where an appointment will be made with a case officer to discuss the customer’s options.

Customers in receipt of Jobseekers Transitional (JST) payments have two options if they wish to complete a course of education. First, where the course can be completed within the 7 years that they have access to JST (i.e. until their youngest child is 14 years of age), these customers can avail of the SUSI grant and a JST payment subject to the conditions of both schemes.

Secondly, where the course cannot be completed within the 7 years available on JST, for example if the course is over 3 years and the youngest child is now 12, the customer may instead apply for the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) when s/he commences the course. This allowance will continue to be paid, subject to the conditions of the BTEA scheme, until the course is completed even when the customer’s youngest child reaches 14 years of age.

The BTEA is not intended to be an alternative form of funding for people entering or re-entering the third-level education system. The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) Grant, payable by the Department of Education and Skills, is Ireland’s single national awarding authority for all higher and further education grants.

The Deputy should note that applicants approved for BTEA are not eligible for a maintenance grant from SUSI. The type of funding that BTEA recipients may be eligible for from SUSI for will depend on the course that they are studying. The eligibility rules that govern the payment of a student maintenance grant are a matter for the Department of Education and Skills.

Since September 2017, recipients of BTEA can get a Cost of Education Allowance of €500 if they have a dependent child.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.