Rural Social Scheme
The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is aimed at low-income farmers. To qualify for the RSS you must be getting a social welfare payment. In return, people participating in the RSS provide services that benefit rural communities.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has overall responsibility for policy in relation to the Rural Social Scheme, including eligibility criteria. The Department monitors the implementation of the RSS and supports the various bodies that manage the RSS locally. The Department may also inspect any Scheme and visit projects. At a local level, the Scheme is managed by implementing bodies such as local development companies and in the Gaeltacht areas, by Údarás na Gaeltachta.
What type of work is carried out by people participating in the Scheme?
The type of work carried out by RSS participants includes:
Maintaining and enhancing various walking routes (that is, waymarked ways, agreed walks) and bog roads
Energy conservation work for older people and those at risk of poverty
Village and countryside enhancement projects
Social care and care of older people
Community care for pre-school and after-school groups
Environmental maintenance work -maintenance and caretaking of community and sporting facilities
Projects relating to not-for-profit cultural and heritage centres
Community administration or clerical work
Any other appropriate community-based project
How many hours' work is involved and how long does the Scheme last?
You work 19.5 hours per week. These hours are based on a farmer friendly schedule. This is to ensure participation on the scheme does not affect your farming activities. If you get a place on the Scheme, you are offered a contract from your start date up to the following 31 March.
You may be considered for a further term following the initial contract, if you continue to meet all the criteria for the Scheme.
The rates of payment for new participants on the RSS depends on your qualifying DEASP payment. The minimum weekly payment increased to €220.50 from March 2018.
From March 2018, if the actual social welfare payment (including dependants) you were getting was €198 a week or less, then you will get the minimum RSS weekly rate of €220.50 (that is €198 plus €22.50). If your actual weekly social welfare payment (including dependants) was €198.01 or more, then you will get the equivalent rate plus €22.50.
If you were getting an age-related reduced rate of payment your payment is increased to the minimum weekly rate of €220.50.
How to apply
As this scheme is administered locally, you should contact your local RSS implementing body for further information or an application form.
You can also read the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection's Guide to the Rural Social Scheme.
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