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13.3.5 Allowances for Homeless students


13.3.5 Allowances for Homeless students

See paragraph 3.6 of the Instruments

A full time student (or student approved for benefits while undertaking part-time study under MRCAETS) may, once they are at least 15 years old and "independent", be granted Homeless Student status where the Commission is satisfied that the student is not receiving or likely to receive continuous support either direct or indirect, in cash or in kind, from parents or any other person other than as provided for in this Scheme; and

(a) there is no family home; or

(b) the parents will not allow the student to reside in the family home; or

(c) it would be unreasonable to expect the student to live with the parents because of domestic violence, or comparable circumstances.

Generally speaking, where a student is unable to return to the family home, they would be likely to be considered independent. The policy position is that this would require an actual inability to live in the family home, not simply a choice to live independently or in other shared accomodations.  Applications for homeless allowance usually involve circumstances of family dysfunction and often students are able to provide supporting documentation from a counsellor, local doctor, other health professional, police report etc.

Usually, a written statement and/or documents providing details of circumstances are required to support the application. A statement from a third party, preferably a counsellor/doctor/social worker is also required.

If a student has been granted homeless student status, education allowance is to be paid at the ‘homeless rate’.

The Education Schemes Secretary has the delegation to approve or not approve the application based on the information provided. If the Secretary is in doubt they should discuss the case with an Education Schemes Policy Officer.

The homeless rate is not payable unless the eligibility criteria in legislation are met. In the event that an Education Schemes officer believes an otherwise eligible student living outside of the parental home does not meet the eligibility criteria for any of the education schemes rates, they should consult with policy on a case-by-case basis. A person does not have to be strictly homeless, per the usual meaning of the word, to be eligible for the homeless rate.