Wednesday, 6 October 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment
79. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if second year students that were in receipt of the pandemic unemployment payment are eligible to apply for the back to education allowance considering many students will have lost their job as a result of the pandemic; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [48547/21]
The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) provides income support for jobseekers and others in receipt of certain social welfare payments who pursue courses of education at second or third level. Government has provided €96.5 million for BTEA in 2021.
A person wishing to pursue a course of study under the BTEA scheme must satisfy several conditions, including commencing the first year of a course of study. In the case of Jobseeker payments, a Department Case Officer or Job Coach must have considered and recommended the application prior to a decision to allow BTEA as an appropriate progression path for the individual. Any person planning to undertake an education course should engage with their local Intreo Centre to assess the options available to them.
Full time students do not have an underlying entitlement to Jobseekers and therefore do not qualify for BTEA. Under normal jobseekers terms, full time students are not available to apply for and receive jobseeker payments. The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) Grant, payable by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, represents the primary support for people pursuing third level education.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.