Thursday, 12 May 2022
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
188. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to the meeting between her Department and a representative from an organisation (details supplied) on 3 May 2022; the learnings that were derived from this meeting; the actions that will follow from the meeting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24020/22]
I am aware of the meeting my officials held with the organisation referred to by the Deputy.
The issues raised relate primarily to the manner in which social welfare schemes assess income from other sources. It is important to emphasise that eligibility for social welfare supports is a matter for the Minister for Social Protection and I do not have any statutory function in that regard.
However, I can assure the Deputy that the issue of disabled artists participating in the basic income scheme it is a matter which I take seriously.
The pilot scheme is a three-year research programme to examine the impact a basic income style payment could have on artists and creative arts workers and their creative practice. A key research question will be the impact such a payment could have on artists with disabilities.
I was determined since the outset of the BIA pilot scheme that artists with disabilities would be in a position to participate in the scheme to the greatest extent possible within the legislative framework to ensure the research captured the experience of disabled artists. To that end bilateral engagement has been ongoing between my Department and the Department of Social Protection, to get agreement that the payment will be treated as earnings from self-employment and can be taken into account in earnings disregards that applies to many social welfare payments including Disability Allowance. That means that the basic income for the arts will be treated like any other income a person on social welfare earns from employment.
The actual impact of the Basic Income on a person's welfare entitlements will depend on each individual’s circumstances, applicants will need to engage with the Department of Social Protection on the matter.
The Department of Social Protection published a guide to the Interaction of the Basic Income for the Arts Pilot Scheme with DSP Payments (www.gov.ie/en/publication/bd818-interaction-of-the-basic-income-for-the-arts-pilot-scheme-with-dsp-payments/#) on Gov.ie on 13 April to assist all applicants for BIA in receipt of DSP supports including those with disabilities.
The Department of Social Protection has also undertaken to engage directly with disabled artists who are selected for the pilot to help them understand the impact accepting the payment would have in their individual circumstances.