Thursday, 24 September 2020

Questions (169)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

169. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection if recipients of the pandemic unemployment payment such as former workers of a company (details supplied) who have no prospect of returning to their previous employment, are entitled to access further education and training courses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26031/20]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Back to Education Allowance provides income support for jobseekers and certain others in receipt of social welfare payments who pursue courses of education at second or third level. The main focus of the allowance is to assist qualifying applicants to improve their educational qualifications and their prospects of gaining employment. The Back to Education Allowance has recently been extended as part of the July Stimulus in response to Covid-19. Ordinarily a person must be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a minimum period before being eligible to apply for the scheme when pursuing training or education. This condition is now being waived for recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment seeking to return to education. This ensures that those who have lost their employment during the pandemic have immediate access to these supports. A person in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment is required to apply for a jobseeker payment to access the Back to Education Allowance. I would advise that any person seeking to return to education in the circumstances as referred to by the Deputy contacts the Department to discuss the options available.