Tuesday 26 September 2017

Homeless single mother refused education allowance

Erica Fleming and daughter Emily (9) in Trinity College. Photo: Tony Gavin
Erica Fleming and daughter Emily (9) in Trinity College. Photo: Tony Gavin
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

A homeless single mother is being refused the Back to Education Allowance, despite having secured a place at Trinity College Dublin.

Erica Fleming (30) has been admitted to TCD through the Trinity Access Programme and is due to begin in September.

However, Ms Fleming - who has been homeless for around a year - said she has been denied the grant to return to education because she has been working part-time. She was told that in order to qualify, she would have to be unemployed for 234 days.

Erica has one daughter, Emily (9). Last year, Erica lost her One Parent Family payment and transferred to Family Income Supplement.

This followed changes to the allowances by then Minister for Social Welfare Joan Burton.

However, while receiving the One Parent Family payment would have qualified her for the Back to Education Allowance, receiving the Family Income Supplement does not.

Ms Fleming said she needed the €217 a week to support herself and her daughter, otherwise she would not be able to attend the college. "When I saw the letter [rejecting the application] I was sick," she said.

Irish Independent

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