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'It was an insult when all I saw was €2 a week, it's a disgrace' - Jobseeker's Allowance recipient on Budget 2020 disappointment



Andrew Cashman
Photo By Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD

Andrew Cashman Photo By Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD

Andrew Cashman Photo By Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus LTD

The budget was 'very disappointing' according to a Jobseeker's Allowance recipient who says he doesn't get invited anywhere because everyone knows he doesn't have the money to attend.

Andrew Cashman (53), from Tralee in Co Kerry, said that he was disheartened that he is set to be €2-a-week better off, which he says is not enough for him to maintain a social life while running his house and car.

Budget 2020 saw some increases for social welfare recipients, with a €3 increase to Qualified Child Payment for over 12s and €2 for under 12s, a €5 increase to the Living Alone Allowance, €10 for Working Family Payment income threshold and a €15 increase for One Parent Family Payment and Jobseeker Transition.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe confirmed that in total the social welfare package will increase by €690m next year. Mr Donohoe also confirmed the payment of a 100pc Christmas bonus to all social welfare recipients in 2019. There was no increase to the old age pension.

Mr Cashman is not old enough to receive the Living Alone Allowance and the Jobseeker Transition is only for single parents, so the only increase he saw in the budget was €2 per week to his Fuel Allowance - which is expected to offset increased carbon tax.

He has been receiving the Jobseeker's Allowance since 2008 and said that he will find it even more difficult to get by after Budget 2020.

Mr Cashman told Independent.ie: "No way will that increase help. I wouldn't even think about that. Coal is gone up and fuel is gone up. It's going to be hard. Everything seems to be hitting the ordinary guy. That budget isn't going to help anybody.

"It was an insult when all I saw was €2 a week. They're hammering the ordinary person on Jobseeker's. It doesn't help me one bit and it does definitely hinder me. I'll be struggling big time. That was a disgrace.

"They blame Brexit for everything. They blame it for having no elections, they blame it for the budget, they blame it for me not having any money and things going up. Even English people don't blame Brexit for as much.

"I have to run a car and I have to heat my house. I only use an open fire. I wouldn't be able to afford oil - that would be crazy. I burn coal and briquettes," he added.

"If we got a really cold winter, I won't be able to put on a fire at three or four o'clock, I'll have to sit here in a body warmer. The time we got the bad winter I had to start burning things around the house and breaking things up. It's a miserable way to live.

"My house is an old house. I'm not costing the government anything on rent because I was given the house but it really needs renovation. It's only livable for me because I put up with it, but it's not really.

"It annoys me the way they see things. They don't understand. It was very disapointing."

Mr Cashman also spoke candidly about how struggling to get by financially has left him feeling isolated and taken a toll on his mental health.

"I'll tell you the truth, I do my best and I try to keep up with all of the business but I've had to sacrifice my social life, I'll have none whatsoever," he said.

"This won't improve my social life at all. I'll have to give up on my social life now. The last time I had a pint was three years ago, it won't improve my social status at all. I go from Monday to Monday without seeing a person because everyone knows, there is no way you can go and meet people free of charge.

"Since my mother passed away really, I have lost all of my friends because they're all out enjoying themselves and I don't get invited anymore anyway because they know damn well that I don't have the money to go out.

"I live alone, I'm always by myself. I do get depressed and I do get lonely. You can't get married if you can't socialise."

Online Editors

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