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Sunday 19 November 2017

Burton pledges reform for 10,000 families who are better off on dole

Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection. Photo: Frank McGrath
Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection. Photo: Frank McGrath
Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

AROUND 10,000 families would be better off on the dole than working.

The Department of Social Protection has insisted that it pays to work for the vast majority of unemployed people, with only around 3-4pc of claimants getting more in benefits.

And Social Protection Minister Joan Burton said she is pushing reforms which will make it pay to work for everyone by ensuring that claimants who take up jobs don't lose out on valuable rental supports.

Ms Burton joined Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday to launch a new online tool which will allow people to calculate their take-home pay if they take up a job versus their welfare entitlements.

She said that for the vast majority of people on the Live Register, they will earn more by working.

And this new tool on the website would show people how much better off they would be if they took a job. It reveals that single people are generally far better off working, but while this is also mostly true for families, there are cases where the potential loss of rent supplement could make them worse off in work.

Ms Burton said that they will pilot a programme next year to move the rent support system over to local authorities so that people who took up low-paying jobs weren't hit with the sudden loss of rent supplement but could get assistance based on income.

"At the moment with rent supplement if they move to full-time work in effect they risk losing the whole of the rent supplement," she said.

Her department was very focused on getting jobless households back to work, she said, as otherwise there was a real danger of poor outcomes for children and of unemployment becoming intergenerational.

Ms Burton was speaking at the opening of Ballyfermot's new Intreo centre -- a one-stop shop for jobseekers to claim benefits and get access to new job and training opportunities.

Irish Independent

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