Health

Thursday 21 August 2014

More than 9,000 to lose one-parent family payment

Over 9,000 will lose their one-parent family payment (OFP) this year as part of new reforms, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has revealed.

She said these reforms, which were introduced in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2012, are predicated on activation and on facilitating lone parents back into the workforce, once their children have reached an appropriate age.

"The Government is committed to supporting one-parent families who pro-actively engage with the department's work activation process to become economically independent.

"A wide range of supports and services are presently available to lone parents who lose their entitlement to the OFP as a result of the reforms to the scheme.

"In advance of the scheme age reforms in July 2013, I introduced a number of measures aimed at easing the transition of affected lone parents to other social welfare income support payments.

"These included the re-rating of existing carer's allowance and family income supplement (FIS) claims and the fast-tracking of new applications for the FIS, carer's allowance and jobseeker's allowance payments."

The minister added that last year, in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2013, she introduced the jobseekers' allowance (JA) transitional arrangement, which caters for lone parent recipients who lose their entitlement to it, who have a youngest child aged under 14 years, and who are entitled to the jobseekers' allowance (JA) payment.

"These customers are now exempt from the JA criteria that require them to be available for, and genuinely seeking, full-time work.

"They can work part-time without restrictions and still receive the JA payment – subject to a means test. They also have access to the department's activation related supports to enable them to become job-ready and/or to find employment.

"The exemptions from the full JA conditionality will remain in place until a recipient's youngest child reaches the age of 14 years."

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