Friday 23 August 2019

Social welfare increases in jeopardy if there's a snap general election

The Social Welfare Bill has yet to be passed
The Social Welfare Bill has yet to be passed
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

A SERIES of increases in social welfare payments will be in jeopardy in the event of a snap general election.

The Social Welfare Bill, which gives effect to the rises announced in the Budget, has yet to be passed by the Dáil.

If Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announces an election in the coming days, the Bill will remain inactive - meaning tens of thousands of people are unlikely to receive their increases in the new year.

And if a lengthy political stalemate follows the election, the delay will be even longer.

Tax cuts, however, could still be introduced in January in the event of an election.

That is because the Finance Bill has already passed through the Dáil and only requires now to be approved by the Seanad.

But Budget 2018 saw increases across the board in terms of welfare payments, which are now at risk.

These include:

A €5 increase in the pension and jobseekers' allowance from March;

A plan to extend the maternity benefit to support mothers of premature babies (born on or after October 1, 2017), which was announced in the Budget;

Carers are due a €5 increase in the maximum weekly rate of Carer's Allowance, Carer's Benefit, Illness Benefit, Blind Pension, Disability Allowance and Invalidity Pension from the week beginning March 26, 2018.

Irish Independent

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