Can I take up employment, education or training and still get Disability Allowance?


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Employment Supports

Rehabilitative employment

If you wish to take up employment, either with an employer or as self employed, you should write to Disability Allowance Section giving full details of the type of work you intend doing including the total weekly hours you will work and the amount you will earn and your claim will be reviewed. If the employment is deemed to be of a rehabilitative nature you can avail of an earnings disregard when we work out your weekly means i.e. the first €120 of your earnings will be disregarded and 50% of earnings between €120 and €350 will also be disregarded. We will count as means earnings above this limit.

If your employment or self employment is not deemed to be of a rehabilitative nature the disregard will not apply and all your earnings will be assessed as means.

Back to Work Enterprise Allowance (BTWEA)

If you are getting Disability Allowance for at least 12 months and wish to become self-employed, you may be able to transfer to the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance. If taking up self-employment, you will be paid an allowance equal to 100% of your Disability Allowance for the first year and 75% for the second year. You should apply for BTWEA before starting self-employment. For more information, click here.

While on the Back To Work Enterprise Allowance you will also keep any secondary benefits you already have, such as Free Travel, Electricity Allowance and Telephone Allowance. You will also keep any Fuel Allowance you are already getting.

Any Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement you are getting may be withdrawn gradually over four years. For more information,  click here.

You will keep your medical card while you get BTWEA regardless of your income.

If you are unable to continue on the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance, you will automatically start getting Disability Allowance again.

For further information, contact your local Social Welfare Office, or:

Employment Support Services
Department of Social Protection
Social Welfare Services
Government Buildings
Shannon Lodge
Carrick-on-Shannon
Co Leitrim

LoCall: 1890 92 79 99 (from the Republic of Ireland only) or
+ 353 71 9672616 (from Northern Ireland or overseas).

Educational Supports

Back to Education Programme

If you are getting Disability Allowance, you can do further educational courses without them affecting your payments. However, you should inform Disability Allowance Section if you take up any kind of educational course.

Back to Education Allowance

This payment covers both second and third level approved courses.

To get this payment, you must be:

  • aged 18 or over,
  • getting Disability Allowance for at least 3 months for the second level option or 9 months for the third level option,
    and
  • attending an approved full-time second or third level course at a recognised school or college.

While doing the course, you will get the maximum rate of Disability Allowance and can keep any secondary benefits you already have such as Free Travel or Fuel Allowance. You can have any other income such as earnings from part-time or holiday work without it affecting your payment.

However, any Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement that you are getting will be affected. You should contact your Community Welfare Officer to see if this is the case.

You can also get a Cost of Education Allowance of €500 at the start of the academic year in September. For more information,  click here. If you also intend to apply for a maintenance grant from the Local Authority or VEC you are advised to check if this grant is payable with the BTEA.

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)

This Scheme is operated through local VEC’s. The courses can last for up to two years and can lead to the Junior Certificate, Leaving Certificate, Post Leaving Certificate and to City and Guilds Certificates.

Under this scheme, you do not pay any fees for the course. Books and materials are provided free of charge.

To take part, you must be:

  • aged 21 or over, and
  • getting Disability Allowance for at least 6 months.

Under this scheme, you will get the maximum rate of Disability Allowance and you keep any secondary benefits you already have such as Free Travel or Fuel Allowance.

If you were getting Disability Allowance for at least 12 months immediately before starting the VTOS course, you may get an extra allowance of €31.80 a week.

As the VTOS is not means-tested, you can work without it affecting your payments. However, any Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement you are getting will be affected by any additional income.

For more information,  click here or contact your local Social Welfare Office.

Vocational Training

If you take part in vocational training, you can get a training allowance from FÁS instead of your Disability Allowance. This is equivalent to the maximum personal rate of Disability Allowance. If you are getting an Increase for a Qualified Adult, a Qualified Child, Living Alone Increase or Fuel Allowance, your FÁS Training Allowance will include these too. You may also receive a Training Bonus.

You may also continue to qualify for:

  • Household Benefits Package (Electricity, Natural Gas or Bottled Gas Refill allowance, Telephone allowance and Free Television Licence),
  • Free Travel,
  • Rent or Mortgage Interest Supplement.

If you are unable to continue the training course, you will automatically start getting Disability Allowance again.

You should contact both your local FAS Office and Disability Allowance Section in order to get your claim restarted.

Last modified:12/04/2011
 

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