Specialist Employment Programmes & Grants

Specialist Employment Programmes & Grants

Rural Social Scheme

The Rural Social Scheme (RSS) is aimed at low-income farmers and fishermen/women. 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.

Permitted Work

The Department of Social Development under the Social Security Agency have an scheme which allows individuals on certain social security benefits to work and maintain some of their benefits. It is called Permitted Work.

Permitted Work

Generally, you are not allowed to work while you are getting Employment and Support Allowance/Incapacity Benefits/Severe Disability Allowance/Income Support because of an illness or disability.

Supported Employment/EmployAbility Service

Supported Employment is an employment and recruitment service to assist people with a disability to secure and maintain a job in the open labour market.

Supported Employment is delivered by EmployAbility Service which provide a range of supports to employers and people with a disability, through Job Coaches. They provide a range of supports to a job seeker through career advice, employment support, information on employment benefits and entitlement as well as providing advice and support to employers.  


The Department of Social Protection provide a range of grants to assist people disabilities to access employment and whilst in employment.

Pathways to Work Initiative

Pathways to Work assist people with health conditions and disabilities to consider their options for returning to work. Anyone who is not in work because of an illness or disability can volunteer to participate in Pathways to Work.

Pathways to Work Initiatives are available to anyone who is not in work because of an illness or disability and are in recipient of the one or the following Social Security Benefits:

Occupational Psychology Service

Occupational Psychology Service (OPS) offers consultancy, advice and guidance in areas relating to work, disability and health. It is based in Belfast and provides services across Northern Ireland. OPS is available to support employers, clients with disabilities, Employment Service Advisers and also provide occupational psychology consultancy to the Department and other agencies.

For further information contact:


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