Wednesday, 16 January 2019
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Rural Social Scheme Eligibility
247. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason the rural social scheme is not available to those in receipt of a blind pension in view of the fact that it is available to those in receipt of disability allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1917/19]
The Rural Social scheme (RSS) provides part-time employment opportunities in the community and voluntary organisations for low-income farmers and fishermen/women in receipt of certain social welfare payments who are actively farming /fishing and underemployed in their primary occupation. It also gives participants an opportunity to develop new skills.
The blind pension is not currently a qualifying payment for RSS. A person in receipt of the blind pension may qualify for participation on Community Employment (CE) scheme provided they satisfy the eligibility criteria pertaining to the scheme.
I will ask my Department officials to give consideration to the possibility of extending the eligibility criteria for RSS to include recipients of the blind pension.