Kerry TD calls for review of application process for Carers’ Allowance

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A Kerry TD is calling for a review of the application process for Carers’ Allowance. Independent TD Michael Healy Rae says operational guidelines for the scheme have not been updated since January 2012. michael healy rae TD kerry south Deputy Healy Rae says since 2012 there have been a number of changes in the Back to Education Allowance programme rules. He says they have left many ineligible for the assistance that they were seemingly entitled to. Applicants for the Back to Education Allowance programme, which allows an individual to enter full time education and receive a payment equal to a full rate carers’ allowance, were previously entitled to assistance providing they were over 21 years old, had been in receipt of welfare for over twelve months and were attending a recognised college. The scheme also outlined that flexibility would be applied to applicants, arranging suitable start times for their course. However Mr Healy Rae says updates to the scheme, yet unpublished, include the course of study having to be full time, during the day and for the full academic year as well as being subject to a Case Officer’s recommendation. He says there are also stricter guidelines in place with regard to the length of time an applicant is in receipt of social welfare payment. The objective of the scheme was to enable carers’ better access to emerging labour markets and to raise the educational skills of those seeking future employment alongside their caring duties. Deputy Healy Rae says the lack of clarity in the guidelines for applicant, has left many carers questioning the credibility of the programme.