Tuesday, 14 July 2015
Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Code
200. To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider a revision of the regulations relating to the back to work enterprise allowance to allow claimants of illness benefit to avail of the allowance in advance of being three years on illness benefit. [28589/15]
201. To ask the Minister for Social Protection if she will consider a revision of the regulations relating to the short-term enterprise allowance to allow claimants of illness benefit to avail of the allowance. [28590/15]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 200 and 201 together.
The Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA) is designed to provide a monetary incentive for people who are dependent on certain social welfare payments to develop a business. During the first two years of self-employment, the allowance is paid at 100% for the first year of operating and at 75% for the second year. The Short Term Enterprise Allowance (STEA) provides immediate access to those who have lost their jobs and qualify for jobseeker’s benefit and wish to set up a business. Payment under the scheme is at the same rate and for the same duration as their entitlement to jobseeker’s benefit. At the end of June, 2015 there were 11,621 people availing of the BTWEA and 490 on STEA.
One of the qualifying conditions for BTWEA is that a person must be in receipt of illness benefit for three years or more, there are no plans to change this. STEA only applies to those on jobseekers benefit.