The HEAR scheme is operated by the Irish Universities Association (IUA) www.iua.ie who set the policy criteria for the scheme. Admissions under the HEAR scheme are regulated by the higher education institutions themselves. Applications to the scheme are submitted to the Central Applications Office (CAO) who coordinate the scheme for participating institutions.
As such, The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science has no role in the policy criteria or operation of the scheme.
The HEAR handbook for 2021 can be accessed at www.accesscollege.ie. It confirms that applications to the HEAR scheme for 2021 are based on income from 2019 and therefore the pandemic unemployment payment is not a factor in this years applications.