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Written Answers - Community Employment Schemes

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 260.  Deputy Catherine Byrne Information on Catherine Byrne Zoom on Catherine Byrne  asked the Minister for Social Protection Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton  if she will outline details of changes to community employment schemes relating to double payments; who is affected by these changes; if current participants will be affected if they register and sign a new contract for a further year on CE; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6490/12]

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Information on Joan Burton Zoom on Joan Burton As announced in the Budget, from 16 January 2012, new participants on community employment (CE) schemes will not be able to simultaneously claim their original social welfare payment and a CE allowance, as per section 12 of the Social Welfare Act 2011. This measure affects those in receipt of the following payments commencing CE after that date: One-Parent Family Payment; Deserted Wife’s Benefit; Widow(er)’s Pension; Illness Benefit; Disability Allowance; Invalidity Pension or Blind Pension.

These new CE participants will receive payments directly via the CE scheme at a rate equivalent to their original social welfare payment (including any increase for a qualified adult and/or child dependants) plus an additional €20 CE participation bonus.

New participants are defined as those persons who, with effect from 16 January 2012, have not been employed on a CE scheme in the 12 months prior to commencing the current CE placement. CE participants on maternity leave or sick leave at 16 January will not be considered new entrants when they return as they will have participated on CE within the 12 month period. Persons who were approved by DSP staff for CE positions before 16 January 2012 but, due to operational reasons, only commence working on or after 16 January 2012, will be treated as existing CE participants for the purpose of retaining their social welfare payments.

Existing CE participants who have their contracts renewed after the 16 January 2012 will retain their social welfare payment provided they are continuously employed on CE from that date. This provision is subject to the standard CE participation limits and a final cut-off date for double payments of December 2014. All CE participants will receive a single payment only from that date. In addition, payment of two qualified increases per child where the person is employed on a CE scheme and in receipt of either One-Parent Family Payment, Deserted Wife’s Benefit/Allowance or Widow(er)’s Pension will cease for new and existing recipients with effect from Monday, 20 February 2012. Existing CE participants will continue to receive increases for qualified children from their original social welfare payment only. New CE participants will receive the qualified child increase (where applicable) on their CE payment.


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