Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
1147. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if consideration will be given to adjusting the terms of the pandemic unemployment payment scheme to allow persons to undertake day and night-time courses to upskill and potentially retrain for other forms of employment. [19184/21]
Recipients of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) who lost their job as a consequence of the pandemic, must continue to satisfy the statutory qualifying conditions of the scheme to maintain their payment, which includes that they must be in a position to return to their employment.
Persons in receipt of PUP who apply for part-timecourses can retain their payment as long as they continue to satisfy the scheme conditions.
The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is a support available which provides income support for jobseekers who pursue full-time courses of education at second or third level. The BTEA was extended as part of the July Stimulus in response to Covid-19. Ordinarily a person must be in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a minimum period before being eligible to apply for the scheme and these periods have been waived for those in receipt of PUP. Similar arrangements apply for further education or VTOS delivered by SOLAS. This ensures that those who have lost their employment during the pandemic have immediate access to a range of full time education options.
A person in receipt of PUP seeking access to full time further education will be required to make an application for a jobseeker's payment. The BTEA is payable at the jobseeker's rate, currently €203 for the weekly maximum personal rate and increased allowances may be paid for qualifying adults and child dependents. The BTEA may be payable for the duration of the course depending on a person’s individual circumstances and entitlement to the payment.
I would advise any person seeking to return to education to engage with their local Intreo Centre to assess their options.
I trust that this clarifies the position for the Deputy.