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Social Welfare Benefits

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 25 November 2021

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Questions (20)

Rose Conway-Walsh


20. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Social Protection if she will engage with the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science to find a solution to the situation in which parents in education are seeing a substantial loss of income in cases in which they are moved from the jobseeker's transitional payment to the back to education allowance when their child turns 14 years of age due to the impact it has on SUSI support; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [57970/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

I understand that the issue raised refers to the fact that applicants approved for the Back to Education Allowance, including those transferring from the Jobseeker's Transition scheme, are not eligible for a maintenance grant from SUSI. Whereas the Jobseeker's Allowance Transition payment is an eligible payment for the special rate of maintenance grant. The rules around the eligibility for the SUSI grant are a matter for the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science. The Programme for Government contains commitments to review SUSI eligibility criteria, adjacency rates and postgraduate grant supports. A Steering Committee has been established to provide direction for the external consultants undertaking the review which contains representation from my Department. I understand that this review is at an advanced stage and it is expected that the final Report will be brought to Government for approval once approved by that Minister. Apart from the Student Grant Scheme, students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. While supports for students are not the primary responsibility for my Department, I should also advise the Deputy of the availability of the Cost of Education Allowance paid by my Department which provides €500 per academic year to back to education recipients who have a dependent child or children, which assists lone parents accessing education. I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.