Written answers

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Back to Education Allowance

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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571. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the position regarding the proposed review of the back to education allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18822/20]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The back to education allowance (BTEA) is a scheme that allows persons in receipt of certain social welfare payments the opportunity to pursue a course of study, while still maintaining their income support, subject to satisfying a number of conditions. As part of the July stimulus package, the Government has announced an extension of the BTEA supports to recipients of pandemic unemployment payment.

Entitlement to BTEA is conditional on having ongoing entitlement to the qualifying scheme payment.  BTEA participants with eligibility based on jobseekers, transitional jobseekers or one parent family payments who engage in part-time work will be assessed in accordance with their primary payment.  This measure ensures that only participants who continue to satisfy the means test of their primary payment or another qualifying BTEA payment will continue to receive income support under BTEA and that resources are directed at those most in need of assistance.

The student universal support Ireland (SUSI) grant payable by the Department of Education and Skills represents the primary support for persons pursuing education.  The BTEA was never intended to be an alternative form of funding for people entering or re-entering the third level education system. 

The guidelines for the scheme are reviewed and updated annually to ensure the supports address the objective of supporting those in receipt of welfare payments into employment. 

There are no plans to review the BTEA scheme at this time.

 I trust this clarifies the matter. 

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