Dáil Éireann - Volume 607 - 11 October, 2005

Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.

  281. Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason an application for the back to education allowance was refused to a person (details supplied) in Dublin 9 in 2004-05 and 2005-06; the reason the allowance will not be awarded if the person is not commencing the first year of a course of study; if he will review this case again with a view to reversing this decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27503/05]

  Mr. Brennan: The back-to-education allowance is a second-chance education opportunities scheme designed to encourage and facilitate people on certain social welfare payments to improve their skills and qualifications and, therefore, their prospects of returning to the active workforce. The scheme is not intended for students who have already commenced full-time education or for the short-term unemployed. To qualify for participation in the scheme an applicant pursuing a third level course must be, inter alia, in receipt of a relevant social payment for 12 months or nine months, if participating in the national employment action plan process.

Since the scheme was introduced, it has been a condition that the eligibility criteria must be satisfied immediately prior to the commencement of the first year of the course and the course being pursued must be in its first year. The person concerned commenced her course in September 2004. She did not satisfy the qualifying conditions for participation in the scheme at that time as she had been unemployed for only two months. In any event, as she is in the second year of the course, it would not be possible to commence payment of the back-to-education allowance.

[626]   282. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the reason a person (details supplied) in County Mayo is not receiving the free telephone rental allowance. [27529/05]

  Mr. Brennan: The person concerned has been awarded an electricity allowance with effect from 2 September 2005 and a telephone allowance from 6 September 2005. The relevant service providers have been notified to apply the allowances to the customer’s account. A free lifetime television licence has also been awarded with effect from the expiry date of the customer’s current television licence.