Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Ceisteanna (153)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

153. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will consider allowing persons in receipt of a permanent invalidity pension to attend college. [41298/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Invalidity pension (IP) is a payment for people who are permanently incapable of work because of illness or incapacity and who satisfy the pay related social insurance (PRSI) contribution conditions.

Persons in receipt of IP who wish to attend college may apply for either an exemption to undertake a course of study and retain their Social Welfare payment or the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) scheme.

BTEA is an educational opportunities scheme for persons in receipt of certain social welfare payments wishing to pursue second or third level courses of education, subject to meeting the qualifying conditions. The objective of the scheme is to raise educational and skills levels to enable them to better access to emerging labour market needs.

In order to qualify for BTEA the applicant must satisfy all of the following:

- be a specific age

- be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a specified period of time

- be commencing the first year of a course of study

- full time college attendance for the complete academic year

- be leading to a recognized qualification in a recognised college

- be progressing in the levels of education held

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.