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Social Welfare Benefits

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 29 June 2021

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Questions (376)

Mairéad Farrell


376. Deputy Mairéad Farrell asked the Minister for Social Protection if there has been a rule change regarding the use of the herd number to qualify for the rural social scheme (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34953/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is an income support initiative which provides part-time employment opportunities in community and voluntary organisations for farmers or fishermen and women who are in receipt of certain social welfare payments and who are underemployed in their primary occupation. It is a supplementary income support scheme designed specifically for those participants whose income falls below a certain limit.

There have been no rule changes made to the use of the herd number to qualify for RSS.

To remain eligible to participate on the scheme, the participant must be actively farming or fishing and must retain an underlying entitlement to the qualifying payments of Farm Assist or Fish Assist.

A herd number is required for participation on RSS, and may also be required for receipt of Farm Assist. A single herd number can be used to support only one RSS participant application at a time, or one Farm Assist claim/application at a time. It is not possible for a single herd number to be used to support more than one application for either RSS or Farm Assist, and it is not possible for a single herd number to be used to support an RSS application and a Farm Assist claim/application concurrently, as this would result in the RSS participant becoming ineligible to participate on the scheme.

Two people from the same household may qualify for Farm Assist if they satisfy the conditions for the scheme.

Where two or more people farm what may originally have been a single unit, but is now claimed to be made up of separate units and being now managed as two separate entities/businesses, they may qualify for Farm Assist in their own right, provided that each person has their own herd number.

I trust that this clarifies the matter.