Sunday 18 March 2018

More than 9,000 families will lose their One Parent Family Payment today

* Move made by Department of Social Protection
* Minister Joan Burton, who is heavily tipped for Labour leadership, has stayed quiet on issue
* One parent families are the 'poorest type of families in Ireland' says organisation

Anita McSorley

More than 9,000 one parent families will lose their One Parent payment today.

The move comes despite one organisation saying such families are among the "poorest in Ireland".

“They’re all extraordinarily poor families who are finding it difficult to make ends meet," Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Familiy.

More than 9000 families will lose their payment today due to changes to the eligibility criteria for the payment.

The changes relate to the age of the children and when the payment started.

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, whose department is pressing ahead with the move, declined to comment for a report on RTE's Morning Ireland earlier today.

Burton published the Social Welfare Pensions Bill in 2012 which made changes to the One-Parent Family Payment scheme among others.

Ms Burton is heavily tipped to become the next leader of the Labour Party.

An announcement is expected tomorrow afternoon.

If Ms Burton beats party colleague Alex White to the role, it is expected she will become tanaiste.

Ms Burton has been visible in the last few weeks in hustings for the Labour contest - however, RTE's Morning Ireland said she was not available to discuss the issue this morning.

According to Karen Kiernan, tens of thousands of more people will stop getting the payment next year.

“It actually means for the near 60,000 people that will be moved off next year that a lot of them will be down money and they’re all extraordinarily poor families who are finding it difficult to make ends meet.

“Some of the change is counter intuited... some people are being forced to give up their part time work,” she explained.

She claimed that one-parent families do not get the same support as other families.

“They don’t have the childcare, the afterschool care, the education training or support that other families have.

“One-parent families are the poorest type of families in Ireland.

“Where you’ve got one income, sometimes people are not able to work full-time.

“We’d like to see part time education courses being made to people affected. They cost €1500 to €2000 each and it would make a huge difference to people,” she said.

She also said people are confused by the changes.

“People are very, very confused. They’re unsure. There is a lot of confusion around it.

“People have been written to, but they are confused. The Department of Social Welfare does have a helpline.

“It’s not joined up thinking. If people are concerned they should phone us,” she added.

Irish Independent

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