Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Ceisteanna (530, 568, 588)

Cathal Crowe

Ceist:

530. Deputy Cathal Crowe asked the Minister for Social Protection if a person (details supplied) will be considered for a SOLAS training course while temporarily out of work due to Covid-19. [27346/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

568. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection if the Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment will be considered as a qualifying payment for FET courses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26900/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

588. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Social Protection the supports being made available to persons availing of VTOS that are unable to work part-time in the evenings or on weekends due to the current restrictions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27235/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 530, 568 and 588 together.

My Department’s Back to Education Allowance provides income support for jobseekers and certain others in receipt of social welfare payments who pursue courses of education at second or third level. The main focus of the allowance is to assist qualifying applicants to improve their educational qualifications and their prospects of gaining employment.

The Back to Education Allowance has been extended as part of the July Stimulus in response to Covid-19. Ordinarily a person must be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a minimum period before being eligible to apply for the scheme when pursuing training or education. Similar arrangements will apply for further education or VTOS delivered by SOLAS. This would ensure that those who have lost their employment during the pandemic have immediate access to a range of educational options.

In order to avail of continued financial support while pursuing a full-time course, a person in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment should apply for and transfer to a jobseeker payment. I suggest that the person referred to by the Deputy should contact their Intreo Centre to discuss this option to them.

I trust this clarifies the issues for the Deputies.