Thursday, 28 April 2005
Department of Social and Family Affairs
Social Welfare Benefits
Question 165: To ask the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason community employment scheme participants are excluded from access to the family income supplement, when social employment scheme participants and those availing of the part-time job initiative are not; and if he will address this anomaly. [13843/05]
Family income supplement is designed to assist people in low income employment with qualified child dependants where they might otherwise be only marginally better off than if they were fully dependent on a welfare payment.
The part-time job incentive, PTJI, scheme applies where a recipient of long-term unemployment assistance takes up insurable employment for up to 24 hours per week. A weekly allowance is paid, which does not include an increase for child dependants. Participants in this scheme are obliged to continue to make efforts to find full-time work. To qualify for FIS, PTJI recipients must work in insurable employment for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight. The part-time job allowance is counted as income for FIS purposes.
Participants on CE, which was previously called the social employment scheme, SES, have never been eligible for FIS payments. CE is a publicly funded employment and training programme with the specific objective of progressing the long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged people from social welfare dependency towards employment in the open labour market. CE allowance includes an increase for qualified adult and child dependants, where applicable.
As a State-funded employment and training programme rather than full-time remunerative employment, CE earnings are specifically excluded by regulation for the purpose of FIS qualification. There are no plans to amend these regulations.
On 22 April 2005, there were 16,726 persons under the age of 25 years in receipt of an unemployment assistance payment. Of these, some 1,332 received a part-payment as they were employed on a casual or part-time basis.
In addition, some 4,253 persons under the age of 25 years were claiming unemployment assistance but not receiving a payment. Of these, 50 are being disallowed, 1,106 are suspended while the remainder are awaiting a decision on claims which have been recently made.