Qualifying applicants must be aged 21 or over and on one of the following for at least 6 months (156 days):
- Jobseeker’s Allowance or Benefit,
- Signing for Credits,
- One-Parent Family Payment,
- Disability Allowance,
- Illness Benefit,
- Invalidity Pension,
- Blind Pension,
- Deserted Wife's Allowance,
- Deserted Wife's Benefit,
- Widow's, Widowers or Surviving Civil Partner's Contributory or Non-Contributory Pension,
- Prisoners Wife's Allowance,
- The spouse of a qualifying person is also eligible.
The six months qualifying time may include time spent on SOLAS training courses, Community Employment, Job Initiative or time in prison or Youthreach may count towards the six month qualifying period.
- Jobseekers Benefit/Assistance
- One-Parent Family Payment
- Invalidity Pension
- Disability Allowance/Illness Benefit 3
- Farm Assist
- Be signing for credits for at least 6 months;
- Be a dependent spouse of an eligible person4
- Blind Person’s Pension
- Deserted Wife’s Allowance/Benefit
- Widow(er) Contributory/Non-Contributory Pension
- Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance
The 156 Days Qualifying Period.
Individuals in receipt of Jobseeker’s Assistance may accumulate the 156 days qualifying period within a period of 52 weeks. Jobseeker’s Benefit may not be broken for more than 13 weeks. The local DSFA office should confirm the number of days an applicant is in receipt of a social welfare payment or signing for credits.
A person in receipt of statutory redundancy but not in receipt of a qualifying payment for the required period may participate in a VTOS course after being made redundant. Please refer to DES letter of 1st April 2009 issued to VECs.
Asylum Seekers & Refugees.
Asylum Seekers and Refugees may be eligible to participate in VTOS. For eligibility requirements please refer to DES letter of 27th September 2001 issued to VECs.
EU Social Welfare Payment.
Where a course is not fully subscribed and all other eligibility requirements are satisfied, the duration of a social welfare payment received in another EU country that equates to one of the qualifying payments detailed above may be counted towards the required 156 days qualifying period. The VEC must receive confirmation of this from the local DSFA office.
1 Those in receipt of Carer’s Allowance are therefore not eligible. They may participate in courses of up to 15-hours weekly duration, e.g. BTEI. Where an applicant is in receipt of a qualifying payment, time in receipt of Carer's Allowance may be counted towards the 156 day requirement.
2 If a person is granted a relevant payment before joining VTOS that is backdated, this time period may be counted towards the 156 days.
3 Those in receipt of Disability Benefit should firstly contact their local DSFA office to get permission to join VTOS and to find out about exemption/entitlement to the continuation of their payment. Should such a participant’s payment be reduced or discontinued during the course they may continue the course at their own expense. The VEC has no responsibility should payments cease.
4 The eligible person may also join the scheme at the same time
5 Time spent on Back-To-Work Allowance is not relevant to VTOS eligibility requirements. However, applicants may still meet VTOS eligibility requirements. The local DSFA office should be consulted in such cases.
6 as for 1
7 as for 2