Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Ceisteanna (247)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

247. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason the rural social scheme is not available to those in receipt of a blind pension in view of the fact that it is available to those in receipt of disability allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1917/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The Rural Social scheme (RSS) provides part-time employment opportunities in the community and voluntary organisations for low-income farmers and fishermen/women in receipt of certain social welfare payments who are actively farming /fishing and underemployed in their primary occupation. It also gives participants an opportunity to develop new skills.

The blind pension is not currently a qualifying payment for RSS. A person in receipt of the blind pension may qualify for participation on Community Employment (CE) scheme provided they satisfy the eligibility criteria pertaining to the scheme.

I will ask my Department officials to give consideration to the possibility of extending the eligibility criteria for RSS to include recipients of the blind pension.