Written answers

Tuesday, 18 May 2021

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Benefits

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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74. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if modifications in short-time working or rent supplements are envisaged to help persons in cases in which the return to full-time working post-Covid is phased. [25553/21]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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Short-Time Work Support is a social insurance contribution payment provided under Jobseekers Benefit for employees temporarily placed on a shorter working week by their employer and who are not being paid for days of unemployment.

Jobseeker's Benefit support is paid for up to 9 months (or 234 days) for people with 260 or more PRSI contributions paid. It is paid for up to 6 months (or 156 days) for people with fewer than 260 PRSI contributions paid. It is a fundamental feature of a range of PRSI related benefits that they are time limited including Maternity Benefit and Illness Benefit.

Where a person exhausts their entitlement to Jobseekers Benefit, they may be eligible for support under the means tested Jobseeker's Allowance scheme. In these cases, the Department will contact the recipient in advance to advise them of the expiry of their claim and the availability of Jobseekers Allowance.

In addition, there are a range of supports that allow people to combine work with welfare including the availability of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme for employers to support job retention. The wide ranging nature of the assistance available constitutes a comprehensive suite of supports. On that basis I believe there are sufficient supports available at this time.

Rent supplement continues to play a key role in supporting families and individuals in private rented accommodation, with the scheme currently supporting 19,570 recipients.

The scheme ensures that eligible persons who were renting, but whose circumstances have changed due to temporary loss of employment, can continue to meet their rental commitments. Since the introduction of the Government’s Covid emergency response in March 2020 there have been over 12,500 applications approved, of which 8,640 remain in payment.

The overarching Covid-19 response in the case of Rent Supplement is to provide a flexible case-by-case driven solution for customers and my Department will continue to operate on this basis for those returning to full-time work on a phased basis.


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