Back to Education - Part-Time Education Option


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(Retention of Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit)

Index:

Introduction
Information Leaflet
Legislation
Administration
Description of Option
Eligibility
Courses Covered
Retention of JA / JB
Payment
Decisions
Appeals

Appendix
Information Leaflet (SW 70) & Application Form (BTE1) available from.


Introduction

As part of its Social and Family Support Services, the Department of Social Protection provides a wide range of second chance education opportunities for unemployed people, lone parents and people with disabilities.

The Department's objective in this area is to raise educational and skills level among the long term unemployed, in order to help them to meet the requirements of the modern labour market. Studies have shown that there is a strong link between unemployment and educational attainment and this Department's Back To Education Programmes were introduced to provide a comprehensive range of options from which an unemployed person can choose, or be directed to, the most appropriate for his/her needs.

The Back To Education Programmes range from basic courses of education, training or development through to third level postgraduate courses of study, and are:

Information Leaflet

Social and Family Support Services, Back to Education Programmes ( SW 70).

Legislation

The main provision relating to Jobseeker's Allowance are contained in Chapter 2 of Part III of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act, 2005, as amended.

The main provisions relating to Jobseeker's Benefit are contained in Chapter 12 of Part II of the Social Welfare (Consolidation) Act, 2005, and Chapter 5 of Part II of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Payments Provision) Regulations, 2007, (S.I. No. 142 of 2007) as amended.

Administration

The Part-Time Education Option is administered by:

Social and Family Support Services
Back to Education Schemes
Shannon Lodge
Carrick on Shannon
Co. Leitrim.

Description of Option

The Part-Time Education option was introduced to enable unemployed persons to attend part-time day/evening courses of education or training and retain their Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit provided that they continue to satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking employment on an on-going basis. The purpose of this option is to enhance the employability prospects of participants.

Eligibility

Unlike the other educational opportunity schemes there are no specific eligibility criteria for availing of this option. The person may be of any age and may be unemployed for any length of time before commencing a part-time course of education.

Courses Covered

Part-time day/evening/early morning courses, distance education or part-time courses under the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) may be approved under the PTEO. In some cases, part-time courses which run during the normal working day can be accepted e.g. courses under the BTEI Programme which are administered by the Department of Education and Skills. Courses under the ICT Skills Programme 2012 may be approved under atypic PTEO to eligible participants on a pilot basis only during 2012.

Retention of JA / JB

Local offices approach such applications in a flexible way bearing in mind the following requirements;

  • Jobseekers Allowance & Jobseekers Benefit recipients may participate in a part-time course and continue to receive their JA / JB payment under the Back to Education Programme, Part-Time Option.
  • Participants on part-time courses who continue to receive payment of JA / JB are required to satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking employment on an ongoing basis.
  • Where a JA / JB recipient is pursuing a part-time course of study on the understanding that the course will help to enhance his/her employment prospects, s/he should be encouraged to complete the course. However, attendance on a part-time course under the PTEO is allowed on the clear understanding that availability for and genuinely seeking reasonable work opportunities must take precedence over course attendance, should a conflict arise.

Payment

This scheme does not involve any special payment or allowance and participants satisfy all the conditions for receipt of JA / JB (including eligibility for secondary benefits, where applicable). In all respects the person should be treated as any other JA / JB recipient.

Decisions

All applications for the PTEO should be made on the form BTE1. The person should be asked to produce evidence of the time-table for the course. Decisions on the PTEO are made in the Social Welfare Local Office (SWLO).

Once the Deciding Officer is satisfied that the person meets all the requirements concerning availability, the BTE1 is authorised and clearly marked "Part-time Education Option". The BTE1 is retained with the claim papers.

Where a request for participation in the PTEO is refused, it should be explained to the applicant that if s/he takes up the course a decision will be made to disallow the unemployment claim on the availability condition.

Appeals

A decision to refuse the PTEO should be based on availability and this should be explained to the person involved so they may appeal the decision on the same basis.

Since a decision to allow or refuse the PTEO is based on the person's continuing availability for employment on JA / JB, this decision is statutory and may be appealed to the Appeals Office.

APPENDIX 1.

Information Leaflet ( SW 70) and Application Form ( BTE 1) are available from:

  • Nation-wide network of Social Welfare Local Offices,
  • Social and Family Support Services, Shannon Lodge, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim,
  • Social Welfare Services Office, College Road, Sligo,
  • Social Welfare Services Office, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford,
  • Information Services, Social Welfare Services Office, College Road, Sligo.

Last modified:22/02/2012
 

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