STEP - Starting Temporary Earnings Top-Up Programme


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Note: From 8th December 1999, no new cases were approved for the STEP. This Guideline is being retained for reference only.

GUIDELINES ON ROLE OF DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL & FAMILY AFFAIRS IN THE STARTING TEMPORARY EARNINGS TOP-UP PROGRAMME (STEP)

Table of Contents:

PART 1: ENTITLEMENT
Description of scheme
Administration
Legislation
Qualifying Conditions
Who can qualify?
Jobs Acceptable
Rates Of Payment
Extra Benefits

PART 2: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES
Claims
Decisions

PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD
Payments
Duration of Payment
Review


PART 1: ENTITLEMENT

Description of scheme

Starting Temporary Earnings top-up Programme (STEP) is a pilot programme to help combat youth unemployment and to encourage unemployed 18 & 19 year olds in seven designated areas to take up work. Ten Social Welfare Local Offices are involved (Cork, Limerick, Ballymun, Finglas, Navan Road, Kilbarrack, Gardiner St., Nth. Cumberland St., Apollo House, and Tallaght).

Participants who take up work under STEP retain 75% in year 1, and 50% in year 2, of their Unemployment Assistance (UA) payment. There are 2,000 places available.

The Local Employment Service (LES) under the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment identify and decide on suitable participants. The role of the Department of Social & Family Affairs is to pay the weekly allowance at local offices. STEP clients are not required to sign on the Live Register.

Administration

The scheme is administered by the Local Employment Service under the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. An information leaflet on the scheme is published by the Department is available.

Legislation

The scheme is a non-statutory one and operates on an administrative basis consequent on a Government decision to that effect.

Qualifying Conditions

The qualifying conditions are determined by the Department of Trade, Enterprise & Employment.

Who can qualify?

To qualify, applicants must be : -

  1. at least 6 months in receipt of UA (periods on FS or other training / educational schemes are acceptable as periods of unemployment if preceded by UA, for this initiative)
    and
  2. 19 years of age, or younger at the time of application
    and
  3. residing in one of the following LES areas - Cork City, Limerick, Dublin Inner City, Finglas/Cabra, Northside, Tallaght, and Ballymun.
Jobs Acceptable

The job need not be in a Local Employment Service area. It must provide a minimum of 30 hours work per week. It does not have to be a new job. The work must have potential to develop into a lasting job. Displacement of existing employees must not occur. Work of a contractual or commission-only nature is outside the scope of the scheme. Casual work is not allowed.

Rates Of Payment

STEP will provide participants with an income supplement for two years : 75% of the Unemployment Assistance payment for year 1; 50% for year 2. STEP payments are not subject to PRSI or TAX deductions. Qualified Adult and Child Dependant allowances are payable, where relevant.

Extra Benefits

Participants can also retain their medical card for the two years on STEP. However, no other secondary benefits are payable and FIS is NOT payable.

PART 2: CLAIMS, INVESTIGATION AND DECISION PROCEDURES

Claims

Persons wishing to take up a job opportunity under the STEP programme must contact the nearest Local Employment Service (LES) office to get advice regarding the suitability of STEP to their needs.

Application forms and Information leaflets are available from the LES office or the Social Welfare Local Office in the LES areas.

The completed application form is sent by the LES mediators to the local office.

Decisions

Local Employment Service Mediators decide on the person's eligibility.

The mediator dealing with the person advises the Local Office in advance and in writing that the person is commencing STEP in order to arrange for payment. However, some applications may be received after the customer starts work in which case STEP is started at the local office from the next convenient date.

PART 3: PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD

Payments

Payment is issued weekly by local offices by postdraft, cheque, EFT or such other method as is deemed appropriate.

Duration of Payment

If the person does not continue with the 2 years of the programme a fresh application for UA will have to be submitted which would be determined by reference to the circumstances then obtaining.

Review

Generally, a person's means for Unemployment Assistance purposes are not reviewed during the course of STEP.


Last modified:28/01/2009
 

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