Calls to raise the age limit on community employment scheme

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Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte has been among those calling for a reform of the Community Employment Scheme to raise it’s age limit.

The CE Scheme helps people who have been long term unemployed to keep themselves busy by finding part-time and temporary job placements within the local community.

Currently the age limit for people to make use of the CE Scheme is 55 years old.

But Fianna Fáil have tabled to the Social Welfare Bill to remain on the CE Scheme until they are 62.

Deputy Rabbitte explained, “Thousands of people benefit from their time on a CE scheme and for many it offers the opportunity to get back into the workplace.”

“Many of the people who take part in these schemes are older and the 55 year age limit is proving problematic.”

The amendment would expand on a pilot scheme tested by then Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton in 2015.

The Service Support Stream pilot initiative allowed people to stay within the CE Scheme until they qualified for a state pension.

Deputy Rabbitte said this isn’t just a financial matter for many people, “Many older people enjoy participating in a CE scheme as it gives them a sense of worth.”

“They enjoy the work and social element of these scheme and many learn new skills.  It also works from an economic perspective as participants undertake work which benefits their local communities.”

The Fianna Fáil TD said it’s important to keep older people as engaged as possible in the local community until they retire.