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Only one family decided to give up child benefit

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Child benefit

Child benefit

Child benefit

ONLY one family handed back their child benefit to the State in the past 12 months.

The payment was in respect of one child, which amounts to €1,560 in a full year, according to the Department of Social Protection.

In 2013 three families opted to hand back the money, which was formerly called children's allowance.

A department spokesperson said the payments returned by the three last year were in respect of four children and amounted to €6,420

millionaire

Three families also surrendered the payment in 2012 in respect of three children, saving the State €5,040.

Figures published last July showed that one in every 40 people living in Dublin is classed as a millionaire, but it appears child benefit is a payment that even the rich do not want to give up.

It was announced in last month's Budget that the rate of child benefit will increase by €5 to €135 a month for each child from next month, taking the annual payment to €1,620.

For two children, the rate rises from €260 to €270 a month, amounting to €3,240 a year.

Parents can opt to waive the payment simply by writing to the Department of Social Protection.

The State will shell out €1.97bn in child benefit next year, with 613,000 families getting the benefit of the €5 hike.

Meanwhile, a second increase in child benefit will be introduced in 2016 if the current rate economic growth continues.

However, Tanaiste Joan Burton has warned that this cannot be guaranteed.

While insisting that she is "confident" the pledge can be honoured, the Labour leader said she "cannot commit to or make very significant promises".

Child benefit is not means- tested. It is a universal system to help all families with the cost of raising children.

However, this means high earners will continue to be paid almost €1,600 a year for each child.

fdillon@herald.ie


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