Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Student Support Schemes

Photo of Martin KennyMartin Kenny (Sligo-Leitrim, Sinn Fein)
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1198. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to put some supports in place for students in summer 2020 that under normal circumstances would take up employment or travel abroad for employment mainly in the hospitality sector but due to Covid-19 this will not be possible in view of the fact this summer income is vital to pay for college for the next year. [5632/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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1255. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the point at which students from the class of 2020 will be eligible to apply for a jobseeker's allowance or payment should they wish to do so in view of the fact it is normally three months after exams but this is not an option in 2020 due to Covid-19 and the cancellation of exams. [6387/20]

Photo of Cian O'CallaghanCian O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay North, Social Democrats)
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1300. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the number of Irish students completing masters and other post third-level education abroad who have returned home due to Covid-19 and find themselves without access to Covid-19 pandemic payments due to having been abroad prior to the 13 March 2020 cut-off or access to unemployment benefit due to their student status; if her attention has been further drawn to the financial duress they are experiencing as a result; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6985/20]

Photo of Regina DohertyRegina Doherty (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 1198, 1255 and 1300 together.

The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) Grant, payable by the Department of Education and Skills, represents the primary support for persons pursuing third level education.  The matter of supports for students for the forthcoming academic year should be referred to the Minister for Education and Skills.  

Under Social Welfare legislation students are disqualified from receiving jobseekers allowance while attending a course of study, including school or college holiday periods and for the 3 month period after completing the Leaving Certificate or leaving second level education.  Following the cancellation of this year's Leaving Certificate Examination, these students will be eligible to apply for jobseekers Allowance from 30 August 2020, which is 3 months after their the end of term on 29th May. 

The COVID 19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment was introduced in March 2020 as a time-limited emergency measure to meet the surge in unemployment which resulted from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.  In order to be eligible for this payment a person must have been in employment or self-employment on or after 6th March 2020 and have become unemployed due to the downturn in economic activity caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.  For this reason seasonal workers, including students, who had not taken up employment before 13 March 2020 are not eligible for the payment.  It is not possible to construct a scheme based on claims of potential or prospective but unrealised employment, particularly in an environment where the economy was operating at full-employment with many unfilled vacancies prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Where a person is experiencing financial hardship they can apply for assistance through the means tested Supplementary Welfare Allowance.  Information on the supports available under this scheme is available at .

I trust that this clarifies the matter.

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