In addition to providing income supports, the Department has a wide range of schemes in place which have been designed to assist people with disabilities to enter, re-enter or sustain employment. One of these supports is the Reasonable Accommodation Fund (RAF). This fund is comprised of four elements namely:
1. Employee Retention Grant: The purpose of the Employee Retention Grant Scheme is to assist employers to retain employees who acquire an illness, condition or impairment which impacts on their ability to carry out their job.
2. Personal Reader Grant: If a person is blind or visually impaired and needs assistance with job-related reading, a grant can be made available to allow him/her to have access to a Personal Reader.
3. Job Interview Interpreter Grant: A jobseeker who is deaf, or has a hearing loss or speech impairment and who is attending job interviews, may apply for funding to have a sign language interpreter or other interpreter to attend the interview with him/her. Funding can also be provided to cover the costs of an interpreter during an induction period when starting work.
4. Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant: Where a person with a disability has been offered employment or is in employment, and requires a more accessible workplace or adapted equipment to do the job, funding/a grant can be provided by the Department.
The Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant seeks to increase job opportunities for people with a disability by supporting additional costs, related to the disability, incurred by private sector employers employing or retaining an employee with a disability. For example a person with a disability may avail of the Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant if they are about to take up employment with a private sector employer, change job as a result of re-deployment or promotion, or become self-employed, and require assistive technology (or an adaptation to the workplace) in order to undertake the duties of the role.
Subject to some conditionality, funding of up to €6,350 is available under the Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant. Applications in excess of this sum may be considered on an individual basis, up to a maximum of €9,523, if specialist training for the assistive technology is required.
By way of additional information, the Department of Education and Skills provides an ‘Assistive Technology Grant’. Full details in relation to this scheme are available on the DES website at: https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/Grants-and-Additional-Support/Assistive-Technology-Grant/
I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.