Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins, has stated that students who have been on the PUP will not miss out on their college grant, SUSI, when they return to college this September.
Minister Collins said, “The student support scheme is a critical financial support for students participating in higher education. Some opposition politicians are scaremongering saying that students in receipt of the PUP will not qualify for their SUSI grant – this is completely false.”
Collins explained that as in any statutory scheme, a core principle is that there is a consistency of approach and equitable treatment for applicants as part of the means assessment process. This applies to people who are dependent on different types of social protection payments.
Minister Collins added, “The PUP has been treated as reckonable income since it was introduced in March 2020. Income from the Covid-19 payment has the same standing and is treated in a similar fashion to other Department of Social Protection payments, such as jobseeker's benefit or jobseeker's allowance. This means that a student or family on the PUP should be treated in the same way as a student or family who are dependent on jobseeker's benefit or allowance.
“An important feature of the SUSI scheme is the change of circumstance provision. If a student has experienced a change of circumstances during 2021, they can apply to SUSI for their application to be assessed or re-assessed under a change of circumstances. Such a change in circumstances will clearly include no longer being in receipt of the PUP. Students will no longer be able to receive the payment from early September, in line with normal circumstances where students do not qualify for unemployment payments while at college.
“Therefore, no student will miss out on the SUSI grant as a result of them being in receipt of the PUP because they will not be receiving it from September onwards” concluded Minister Collins.
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