Written answers

Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Social Welfare Schemes

Photo of Neasa HouriganNeasa Hourigan (Dublin Central, Green Party)
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225. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will provide an update on her plans to launch a reformed scheme to give effect to all nine recommendations outlined in the review of the reasonable accommodation fund; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26122/24]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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My Department provides a wide range of income and employment supports to assist jobseekers and employees with disabilities, and their employers. These supports include the Reasonable Accommodation Fund and the Disability Awareness Support Scheme.

The Reasonable Accommodation Fund provides financial support for people with disabilities and for employers to help make their workplaces more accessible. The Disability Awareness Support Scheme provides funding for disability awareness training for employees.

Last autumn, I published a review of these schemes. The review recommends combining the two schemes into a single flexible scheme, simplifying systems and processes, providing approval in principle, and promoting the reformed scheme.

It also recommends increasing funding, extending workplace needs assessments, and job coaching to new recruits and all existing employees, increasing the number of support hours eligible for funding, providing support for blended working, and opening the scheme to other employers, for example the voluntary and community sector.

I have allocated an additional €1 million to implement all nine recommendations in the review.

My officials are finalising work to make these recommendations operational. I expect to launch the reformed scheme in the next few weeks.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.


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