Wednesday, 6 October 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Benefits
76. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if a person (details supplied) in County Clare will be reconsidered for an application for fuel allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48487/21]
Fuel allowance is a means-tested payment to assist householders on long-term social welfare payments towards the cost of their winter heating needs.
The main eligibility conditions for receipt of fuel allowance are that a person must be in receipt of a qualifying payment, satisfy a means test and live alone or with other qualifying persons. The fuel allowance means test is linked to the maximum rate of State pension (contributory). An individual can have a weekly income of up to €100.00 above the maximum rate for State pension (contributory) and still be eligible for fuel allowance.
An application for fuel allowance from the person concerned was registered by my Department on 10 September 2021. A member of their household is currently in receipt of Illness Benefit, which is not a qualifying payment for fuel allowance.
Since the qualifying conditions for the scheme are not satisfied, the person’s application for fuel allowance was disallowed and they were notified in writing of this decision on 18 September 2021.
If the person’s circumstances change, it is open to them to reapply for fuel allowance.
I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.
77. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the reason an application for the back to education allowance by a person (details supplied) was refused; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48503/21]
The Back to Education Allowance scheme (BTEA) is an educational opportunities scheme for customers in receipt of certain Social Protection payments wishing to pursue second or third level courses of education. The objective of the scheme is to raise educational and skills levels to enable successful applicants to improve labour market opportunities by providing them with income support while they study.
In order to qualify for BTEA the applicant must meet the qualifying criteria for this scheme. These criteria include that an applicant, if over 21 years and in receipt of a Jobseekers payment from this Department, must have been in receipt of this payment for 9 months (234 days). The customer's Jobseekers Claim commenced very recently and as a result she does not qualify for a Back To Education Allowance.
Although the customer previously had a Carer’s Benefit claim with this Department, Carer’s Benefit is not a qualifying payment for the Back To Education Allowance scheme.
The customer was previously informed in writing of the Department’s decision that she does not qualify for BTEA and was also informed that if she was unhappy with the decision that she could request to have her case reviewed by another officer. This review was requested in a letter received by the Department on September 27th last. A reply to this letter will issue to the customer in the coming days but I can confirm that the review has upheld the original decision.
If the customer wishes to discuss other training options with a Case Officer from this Department she should contact the Wexford Intreo Office at 051 9165400 to arrange a phone call.