Business The Measures

Thursday 21 August 2014

Single parents to lose out most

Basic social welfare rates untouched but variety of schemes have been hit

Aideen Sheehan

Published 07/12/2011 | 06:00

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BASIC social welfare rates remain unchanged, but major changes to eligibility for certain schemes will have a huge impact on incomes -- cutting €500m in total.

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One-parent families stand to lose most, as the Government is moving to phase out their payments once children reach seven years of age, while entitlements to double payments for training, and top-up earnings, will also be whittled away.

Part-time workers who sign on a few days per week also stand to lose up to 20pc of their jobseekers' benefit. And young people on disability payments will see swingeing cuts of up to 50pc in their social welfare entitlements - and they will be axed altogether for those aged under 18. Key changes being introduced include:

Children

- Child benefit cuts for larger families will cost €228 a year for a third child and €204 for a fourth child.

- Qualified child payments for new social welfare claimants whose partner earns over €400 a week will be halved.

- Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance cut from €305 to €250 for secondary school children and from €200 to €150 for primary pupils.

Fuel allowance

- Fuel allowance of €20 a week for many welfare recipients cut from 32 to 26 weeks.

One-parent families

- Child age limit for one-parent family payments reduced from 14 to 12 next year, and to seven by 2014 for new claimants.

- The amount one-parent families can earn without reducing their social welfare entitlement will be slashed from €146.50 to €130 next year and to €60 within four years.

People with disabilities

- Disability payments axed for those under 18 and slashed from €188 a week to €100 for those aged 18 to 21.

Widows/widowers

- People need to be paying PRSI far longer under the new rules to qualify for a widow or widower's contributory pension.

New applicants will have be making contributions for 10 years -- 520 weeks -- rather than the current total of three years -- 156 weeks.

Unemployed

- Part-time jobseekers' benefit calculated over five days instead of six -- a person currently getting €94.50 for three days on dole will now get €75, saving the State almost €6m next year.

Employer

- Employer redundancy rebate cut from 60pc to 15pc, which will save a massive €81m next year. Ms Burton said it was "out of whack" with the rest of Europe to subsidise multinationals moving jobs out of Ireland.

Rent and mortgage assistance

- Single people receiving rent or mortgage interest supplement will have to pay at least €30 a week themselves, €6 more than currently. Couples' contribution will rise to €35 -- up €12. Mortgage interest supplement will also be deferred for 12 months if the person is in the Mortgage Arrears Resolution Process; the Government will also seek reductions in rents from landlords.

Double payments

- Double payments axed for entrants to many schemes. For example, one-parent family payment recipients will no longer get community employment scheme payments.

Existing claimants will keep them.

- Full pension rates unchanged but slightly reduced contributory pensions for those who have paid fewer PRSI contributions.







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