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(Retention of Jobseeker's Allowance/Jobseeker's Benefit)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Information Leaflet
Legislation
Administration
Description Of Option
Approved Courses
Study Options available
Qualifying Conditions
Out of Pocket Expenses
Special Provisions
Rates of payment
Extra Benefits
Assessment of Rent/Mortgage Supplement

CLAIMS, DOCUMENTATION AND DECISIONS PROCEDURES:
Claims
Documentation
Decisions

PROCEDURES FOLLOWING AWARD:
Payment
JA /JB Conditions
Duration Of Payment
Maintenance
Lost Payments
Certificates
Review
Credits

APPENDIX 1
Information Leaflet (SW70) & 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 Affairs Support Services, Back to Education Programmes ( SW70)

Legislation

Article 120 of Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. 142 0f 2007) as amended. Statutory conditions administered by JA/JB Schemes

Administration

The Education, Training and Development (E,T&D) is administered by:

Employment Support Services,
Shannon Lodge
Carrick on Shannon
Co. Leitrim.

EDUCATION TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT (ET&D) OPTION

(Retention of Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit)

Description of Option

The qualifying conditions for receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit require a person to be available for and genuinely seeking full-time employment. A person pursuing a full-time course of study would not satisfy this condition and, therefore, would not qualify for Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit.

However, under the Education, Training and Development (ET&D) Option of the Back To Education Programmes, a person may continue to receive, subject to satisfying certain conditions, his/her Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit while attending certain courses of education, training or development.

It should be noted that, unlike the Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) Scheme, this option is not a stand alone scheme. Persons who qualify under the ET&D option continue to be paid Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit, as appropriate, and are deemed to be available for employment for the duration of the course of education, training or development.

Approved Courses

Courses which are not recognised for BTEA Second and Third Level Options, and which are being pursued at an institution which is funded wholly or partly by state agencies may be approved if they lead to improved employment prospects on completion.

NOTE::- Particular attention should be paid to the difference between a course which is recognised for BTEA purposes, and a participant who does not qualify for BTEA due to failing one or more of the qualifying conditions. For example, a person who participates in a full-time degree course in a recognised University, but who fails to qualify for BTEA on the grounds that s/he is already the holder of an equivalent qualification, would not normally be considered to be a suitable candidate for the ET&D option.

Courses in a private institute of education will not be approved under the ET&D option unless it is a course approved and recommended as leading to employment on completion by a Partnership, in a Partnership Area.

Study Options available

A broad range of courses may be approved under the Education, Training and Development Option:

  • Personal development courses
  • Basic education e.g. literacy classes
  • General training courses
  • Acquisition of specific job skills
Qualifying Conditions

In order to qualify for retention of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit under the Education, Training and Development Option a person must, immediately prior to commencing an approved course be :

  • at least 21 years of age, or
  • aged between 18 and 20 and out of the formal education system for at least 2 years, and
  • In receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit and have received a total of at least 6 months (156 days) of unemployment payment during his/her current period of unemployment.

NOTE: A person in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit wishing to avail of the ET&D option as an early school leaver must supply, to the Facilitator, written evidence from their former school/college of their previous educational qualifications and date of leaving formal education.

Jobseekers Allowance/Jobseekers Benefit

Claimants approved for this option are deemed to be available for work and may attend a course of education, training or development while continuing in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit.

Note: All other conditions for receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit must continue to be satisfied.

Out of Pocket Expenses

In circumstances where a person receiving Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit agrees to attend a specified short-term course of education, training or development that is initiated and organised by a Department Facilitator, s/he will be paid "Out of Pocket Expenses". This payment is in recognition of the fact that attendance on a specified course may entail expenses for those on a small budget. The "Out of Pocket Expenses" is a payment towards costs i.e. meal and travel that participants may incur as a result of participation on a course of education, training or development.

NOTE: Out of Pocket Expenses are payable only to JA/JB recipients who agree to attend specified short-term courses of education, training and development that are initiated and organised by a Facilitator. JA/JB recipients who secure a place on an approved course of education, training or development themselves are not eligible for payment of Out of Pocket Expenses.

Rate of Out of Pocket Expenses

Out of Pocket Expenses is paid at a weekly rate of �32.00 (May 2007) for Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit recipients who agree to attend a course of study/training for three days or more per week. This is reduced to a weekly rate of �20.00 for participants who agree to attend a course of study/training for two days or less per week.

Payment of Out of Pocket Expenses

In the case of Jobseekers Allowance and Jobseekers Benefit payment of the Out of Pocket Expenses is the responsibility of the relevant SWLO. On approval of payment, the Facilitator completes and signs form ESSF1 with client and course attendance details. Form ESSF1 is then forwarded to the relevant SWLO for payment. Payment of Out of Pocket Expenses should be made weekly by the SWLO using the Exceptional Payment facility on ISTS.

Payment of Out of Pocket Expenses to persons in receipt other relevant qualifying payments, including PSO/ ISTS cases, is the responsibility of Social and Family Affairs Support Services (SFSS), Shannon Lodge, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim (See seperate Guideline - "Out of Pocket Expenses"). The Facilitator should complete and sign form ESSF1 with client and course attendance details and forward to SFSS for payment.

NOTE: In all cases, payment of Out of Pocket Expenses will only be made on the basis of certified daily/weekly attendance on the course of education, training or development.

Means disregard

Out of Pocket Expenses is a payment towards costs i.e. meal and travel that participants may incur as a result of participation on a course of study/training. This payment is made by the Department of Social Protection and is disregarded for Jobseekers Allowance means purposes.

NOTE: See seperate Guideline - "Out of Pocket Expenses" for details of other relevant Social Welfare payments that qualify for this provision.

Special Provisions ( ET&D)
  • Under Article 73 of Social Welfare (Consolidated Payments Provision) Regulations, 1994 (SI 417/94 as amended by SI 54/98) persons in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit attending an approved course under the ET&D option are deemed to be available for work.
  • Persons who qualify under the Education, Training and Development Option are not required to "sign-on" for the duration of an approved course.
  • Persons who qualify under the ET&D Option to pursue an approved course of education, training or development are not entitled to receive a "Training Allowance" while retaining entitlement to Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit. However, participants are allowed to receive a small amount for out of pocket expenses i.e. meal and travel costs, they may incur as a result of participation. This amount should be disregarded for JA means purposes.

NOTE: This reference to a "Training Allowance" should not be confused with the "Out of Pocket Expenses" paid by the Department of Social and Family Affairs for courses of education, training or development initiated and organised by a Facilitator. Certain course providers i.e. FAS, VEC's, HSE etc. may offer certain courses that involve payment of a training allowance by the course provider.

  • A course of education, training or development in private organisations or institutions may not be approved for the purposes of the ET&D Option, (except as outlined below)
  • If the claimant resides in a "Partnership Area" and wishes to avail of the ET&D option in respect of a private course, his/her chosen course may be approved provided it is approved or recommended by the Partnership.
Rates of Payment

The Education, Training and Development Option does not involve any special payment or allowance. Participants continue to be eligible for their Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit while attending an approved course, provided that they would otherwise have an entitlement. Payment should continue by the same method as prior to approval, e.g. postdraft, cheque, electronic fund transfer (EFT).

Extra Benefits

Participants in the Education, Training and Development Option continue to receive any secondary benefits to which they would otherwise have an entitlement. These may include:

  • Fuel Allowance
  • Smokeless Fuel Allowance
  • Christmas Bonus
  • Rent Allowance /Mortgage Interest Supplement under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance scheme (see ** below).
** Assessment of Rent/Mortgage Supplement

All additional income, e.g. training allowance, out of pocket expenses, maintenance grant, may affect entitlement to Rent/Mortgage Supplement.

Claims, Documentation and Decision Procedures

Claims

Responsibility for securing a place on a course rests with the claimant. The Department of Social Protection does not provide assistance in this regard.

Once a person has been accepted on a course s/he must notify the Department before commencing the course by completing the application form ( BTE 1) which is available from:

  • Nation-wide network of local Social Welfare Offices
  • Back to Education Schemes Section, Gandon House, Amiens Street, Dublin 1.
  • Information Services, Department of Social and Family Affairs, Aras Mhic Dhiarmada, Store Street, Dublin 1

The completed application form should be returned to the Jobs Facilitator at the Social Welfare Local Office.

Documentation

Claimants are responsible for the production of the information required. This includes written confirmation from the relevant institute that the claimant has registered for the course as outlined in their application form. Failure to supply the relevant documentation will result in the application being disallowed.

Participants may be requested to furnish confirmation of on-going course attendance. Failure to supply this information within the period specified may result in a suspension of payment.

Participants are also required to notify the Department of cessation of participation on a course.

Decisions

On receipt of a completed application form (BTE1) the Facilitator confirms that the applicant satisfies the eligibility criteria for retention of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit under Article 120 of Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations, 2007 (S.I. 142 0f 2007) as amended.

If the qualifying conditions are satisfied the Facilitator should inform the SWLO that the applicant has been approved for participation in the Education, Training and Development Option and the conditions under Article 120 are satisfied. The approval, together with BTE1 should be associated with JA/JB claim papers in the relevant SWLO.

The Facilitator should also notify the applicant of his/her approval/refusal to participate in the Education, Training and Development Option.

Procedures Following Approval

Payment

The Education, Training and Development Option does not involve any special payment or allowance. The claimant approved for participation in this option retains entitlement to the appropriate rate of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit. Payment will continue by the same method as prior to the award, e.g. postdraft, cheque, electronic fund transfer.

JA /JB Conditions

While the claimant is participating in a course of education under the ET&D option, the condition of availability is waived. Also, the normal "signing" arrangements are suspended.

Duration of payment

Payment under Education, Training and Development is paid on a weekly basis as long as the participant continues to satisfy the conditions for receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit.

Maintenance

Claims are maintained on an on-going basis in the relevant Social Welfare Local Office.

Lost Payments

If a postdraft/cheque payment is not received by a participant, a replacement may be issued. See guideline on "Payments" in respect of the action to be taken when a postdraft/cheque is reported as uncashed, lost or stolen.

Certificates

Applicants are required to furnish written verification from the school/college or institute to confirm that they have registered for the course as outlined and the specific duration of the approved course.

Review

Participants in the Education, Training and Development Option may be periodically reviewed to confirm that the conditions of entitlement continue to be satisfied. A review may also be initiated on receipt of notification of any change in circumstances which may affect entitlement or the appropriate rate of payment.

Credits

Where a person has established an entitlement to the award of credited contributions, these will continue to be awarded for the duration of participation in the Education, Training and development Option.

APPENDIX 1.

Information Leaflet (SW70) and Application Form (BTE1) are available from:

  • Nation-wide network of Social Welfare Local Offices,
  • Employment Support Services, Shannon Lodge, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim,
  • Pension 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:25/05/2010
 

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