Dáil Éireann - Volume 436 - 01 December, 1993

Written Answers. - Back-to-Work Allowance Scheme.

116. Mrs. Doyle asked the Minister for Social Welfare the number eligible for the back to work allowance in County Wexford; and the number who have availed of the scheme.

Minister for Social Welfare (Dr. Woods): The back-to-work allowance scheme provides a financial cushion for people in receipt of unemployment payments and lone parent's allowance who take up self-employment or paid employment in indigenous industries or in the voluntary sector.

People who participate in the scheme receive 75 per cent of their weekly social welfare entitlement, including adult and child dependant allowances, for the first year of payment and 50 per cent for the second year. They also retain access to a range of secondary benefits such as for example fuel allowance, butter vouchers, [1166] back-to-school clothing and footwear allowance and the Christmas Bonus.

Persons must be over 23 years of age to participate in the scheme. It is open to certain recipients of either unemployment assistance or lone parent's allowance. In the case of the former, they must be in receipt of unemployment assistance for at least 12 months at a rate more than £40 a week, if single, or £62 a week, if married.

It is believed that a significant proportion of those in receipt of unemployment assistance or lone parent's allowance would satisfy the eligibility criteria. However, detailed statistics on the number of people who are eligible to participate in the scheme are not available on a county basis.

To date 25 people have been approved for the back-to-work allowance in County Wexford.