Written answers

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Department of Social Protection

Social Welfare Benefits

8:00 pm

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry South, Independent)
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Question 265: To ask the Minister for Social Protection the position regarding qualification for schemes in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17343/11]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
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One of the functions of my Department is to provide income support for the unemployed. This is provided through the payment of jobseeker’s benefit and jobseeker’s allowance to those who have an entitlement. Jobseeker’s benefit is payable to a person who has the necessary amount of paid eligible PRSI contributions for an entitlement to exist. Jobseeker’s allowance is a means-tested payment and in assessing a person’s means for the purposes of this allowance, account is taken of all income including a spouse’s earnings.

As well as providing income maintenance my Department also has a role in supporting people from welfare to work. A range of employment support programmes is available to eligible people which assist unemployed people, particularly the long-term unemployed, lone parents, and sickness related welfare recipients to return to the active labour market through encouraging participation in education, taking up employment or becoming self-employed. Given the range of people supported the requirement to be in receipt of a relevant social welfare payment for a minimum period has always been a feature of employment support schemes and this is considered necessary to ensure that limited resources are directed at those most in need.

FÁS, as the National Training Authority, anticipates the needs of, and responds to, a constantly changing labour market. It strives to do this through the provision of tailored training programmes that suit everyone’s needs and access to many training programmes is not determined by a person’s welfare status. Through a regional network of 66 offices and 20 training centres, FÁS operates these training programmes including some in co-operation with community, voluntary and statutory organisations. Further information is available locally at these FÁS offices.

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