Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Code
Joan Burton (Minister, Department of Social Protection; Dublin West, Labour)
The National Internship Scheme is currently limited to individuals who are currently on the Live Register and have been in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance/Benefit or are signing on for credits for at least 3 of the last 6 months.
Given the scale of the unemployment crisis, it is important that as employment opportunities become available they are taken up by those on the Live Register. The key objective of labour market policy is to keep those on the Live Register close to the Labour Market and prevent the drift into long-term unemployment. This will ensure that Live Register members availing of activation measures such as the National Internship Scheme will, while retaining social welfare unemployment payments and a top up allowance of €50, get an opportunity to engage in the workplace, get work experience and so be in a position to avail of employment opportunities as the economy improves.
For these reasons, it has been proposed as a matter of public policy that eligibility for the scheme be confined to those on the Live Register and in receipt of unemployment payments or signing for credits for 3 of the last 6 months. As such, the policy objective is to prioritise scarce resources on those on the Live Register so as to increase their chances of leaving it thereby ensuring a reduction in Exchequer costs over time.
Individuals who are in receipt of a disability allowance however can access the Work Placement Programme, which provides participants with a work experience placement of between two and nine months. During this time participants may be able to retain their social welfare entitlements.
In addition, people in receipt of a disability allowance can access a range of other specific programmes, such as the Supported Employment Programme and the Wage Subsidy Scheme. Both of these programmes aim to assist people with a disability to secure and maintain a job in the labour market. Our Department continues to monitor and review the operation of the JobBridge scheme including its eligibility criteria on an ongoing basis. The extension of JobBridge to those in receipt of Disability Allowance forms part of this broader review process.