For Written Answer on : 30/03/2023
Question Number(s): 203 Question Reference(s): 15799/23
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Social Protection if consideration has been given to allowing for the admission of retired people to the newly expanded community employment scheme at a half rate payment similar to the half rate carer’s allowance payment; her future plans, if any, to allow those who are retired to take part in the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The Community Employment Scheme (CE) is an active labour market programme designed to provide eligible long-term unemployed people and other disadvantaged persons with an opportunity to engage in useful work within their communities on a temporary, fixed term basis.
CE sponsoring bodies receive state funding to cover the salary costs of supervisors, assistant supervisors, and participant remuneration, along with training and material costs from my department.
CE is a working age activation scheme and CE participants who continue to be funded through CE must be of working age. As a consequence, funding for CE participants is provided up until a CE participant reaches the State Pension age, which is currently 66.
Minister Humphreys and I have announced a number of reforms and enhancements to CE since December 2021, however as the Deputy will appreciate, any extension to participation on CE beyond the State Pension age could undermine CE as an active labour market programme, which has as an objective of helping people back to work.
I trust this clarifies the position for the Deputy.