One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) Scheme Age Change - FAQs


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  1. What age does my youngest child have to be to qualify for the OFP payment?
  2. When will I get my last OFP payment
  3. I have received a letter from my Intreo Centre/Local Office asking me to attend an Information Seminar. What should I do?
  4. Why am I being contacted so early?
  5. What will happen if I do not respond to this invitation or fail to attend the Information Seminar?
  6. I have received a reminder letter about the information seminar?  What should I do?
  7. I haven't received an invitation to an Information seminar but other lone parents I know have received their invitations?
  8. What are my options once I no longer qualify for the OFP payment?
  9. What is the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) transitional arrangement?
  10. I am currently in receipt of the Family Income Supplement (FIS) and have been told that I will no longer be eligible for the OFP payment from 2 July, 2015. What do I need to do?
  11. I have been informed that I might be eligible for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD). What is this?
  12. My youngest child is aged between 7 and 13 years and I am working less than 19 hours per week. How will I be affected when my OFP payment ends?
  13. My youngest child is aged over 14 years. How will I be affected when my OFP payment ends?
  14. I am currently in receipt of the half-rate Carer’s Allowance (CA) and have been told that I will no longer be eligible for the OFP payment from 2 July, 2015. What do I need to do?
  15. What education, training, and back-to-employment opportunities are available to me once my OFP payment ceases?
  16. Where can I get more information on my options after my entitlement to the OFP payment ceases?
  17. My OFP is ending and I have a disabled child?
  18. My question has not been answered.

1) What age does my youngest child have to be to qualify for the OFP payment?

From 2 July, 2015, a person may be eligible for the OFP payment until their youngest child reaches the age of 7 years. Exemptions to this are in place for those who are either in receipt of the Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) or who are recently bereaved. These savers can extend payment of the OFP beyond the youngest child's 7th birthday. A summary of the changes is set out in the Department's website at www.welfare.ie.

2) When will I get my last OFP payment

You will receive your last OFP payment on Thursday 25th June 2015. This payment covers you up until the 1st of July 2015.

3) I have received a letter from my Intreo Centre/Local Office asking me to attend an Information Seminar. What should I do?

It is very important that you attend this Information Seminar. These seminars have been designed by the Department to advise you of your options once your OFP ends. At the seminar, you will be given information on the other income support payments that may be available to you and also receive the necessary application forms for them. This is a great opportunity to get advice from our staff about the best option for you and to get all the information you need about the change. If you cannot attend, please contact your Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office before the session, or e-mail the office at the email address on the letter you received so that we can arrange a time that suits you.

4) Why am I being contacted so early?

Because the age is coming down to 7 this year, there are approximately 25,000 customers who will need to move from OFP to a new payment on 2 July 2015. Obviously we cannot deal with all these customers at the same time.

So we are inviting customers to information sessions early to discuss options and to provide the application forms for your new payment. This is to make sure that all of the customers affected will have a new payment in place by July. For this approach to work, we will need you to return the application forms early so we can consider your applications and set-up your new payments. If you do not make contact early there is a real risk that we will not be able to set-up a new payment for you and that you will be without payment when your OFP payment ends.

5) What will happen if I do not respond to this invitation or fail to attend the Information Seminar?

As you will be receiving your last OFP payment on 25 June, 2015, there is a real risk that if you do not attend the seminar or contact us that you could be left without a payment on 2 July 2015. It is, therefore, very important that you attend the Information seminar or contact us to make alternative arrangements so that we can make sure that your new payment is in place by July.

6) I have received a reminder letter about the information seminar? What should I do?

Reminder letters will be issued to customers who do not contact their Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office or attend their Information Seminar. Remember, these reminder letters only issue if you haven't either attended or contacted your local Intreo centre. You must make contact with us immediately so that we can discuss your options for payment when your OFP ends, and arrange this payment for you. If you do not contact us within 14 days of receiving the reminder letter we cannot guarantee that we will be able to set-up a payment for you by 2 July 2015 and you may be left without a payment that week.

7) I haven't received an invitation to an Information seminar but other lone parents I know have received their invitations?

Don't worry.

Firstly if you are getting OFP and also getting the Family Income Supplement (FIS) you do not need to come to a seminar. Your FIS will be automatically changed to partly make up for your loss of OFP and we will send you a letter closer to the time.

If you are on OFP and getting a half-rate Carer's Allowance (CA) payment you do not need to come to a seminar. Legislation is being introduced  which will allow you to stay on both OFP and half-rate carers until your youngest child is aged 16 years provided you continue to meet the conditions for both schemes.

We will be in contact with you closer to the time.

If neither of these situations applies to you then you will get your invitation. Each office may deal with customers differently and some offices may invite everyone whose youngest child is under 14 to a seminar first so again don't worry.

If you have not heard from us by Friday 15th May 2015 then call into your Intreo Centre /Social Welfare Local Office and our staff will be happy to assist you.

8) What are my options once I no longer qualify for the OFP payment?

A number of options will be available to you, depending on your current entitlements, your working patterns, and the age of your child(ren). These options will be explained to you in full by staff in your Intreo Centre/Local Office or at the Information Seminar.

9) What is the Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) transitional arrangement?

The JA transitional arrangement is available if you no longer qualify for the OFP payment, continue to need a welfare payment, have a youngest child aged between 7 and 13 years, and are parenting alone.

You must pass a means test to receive this payment. If you qualify for this payment you will be exempt from the normal JA conditions that require you to be available for, and genuinely seeking, full-time employment. You can work part-time (i.e. more than three days per week) without restrictions and still receive the JA transitional payment – provided that you satisfy the full JA means test. You will also have access to the Department's full range of Intreo services and to related training, education, and employment supports. If you qualify for this payment you will meet with one of our case officers in order to agree a personal development plan to help you access education and employment programmes and to help you into work. To receive the JA transitional payment you must meet with the case officer and follow-up on the agreed plan otherwise, in the absence of a genuine reason, we may apply a penalty to your payment i.e. reduce your payment.

10) I am currently in receipt of the Family Income Supplement (FIS) and have been told that I will no longer be eligible for the OFP payment from 2 July, 2015. What do I need to do?

If you are already in receipt of the FIS payment, you do not need to do anything. Your FIS payment will be automatically re-rated from 2 July, 2015, when your OFP claim ceases. This increase in your FIS payment will lessen the impact of the loss of your OFP payment. More information on the re-rating of your FIS payment will be available from the Department's FIS Section, which can be contacted at 043-334-0053, or via e-mail at FISSection@welfare.ie. You will receive a letter explaining this change closer to the July.

11) I have been informed that I might be eligible for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD). What is this?

The BTWFD was introduced in Budget 2015 and provides an additional level of financial support to families with children that are moving out of social welfare income support and into employment or self-employment.

The dividend is available to persons who come off OFP and either remain on FIS or become new FIS customers. BTWFD is also available to former OFP recipients who leave their payment altogether in order to take up employment or self-employment. The BTWFD allows eligible claimants to retain their Increase for Qualified Child (IQC) of €29.80 per week per child (up to a maximum of €119.20 for four children per week) for two years, with full IQC entitlement during the first year and 50% entitlement during the second year.

The scheme will go live in April, 2015, but all eligible claims made before April will be backdated to the date of application, starting from 5 January, 2015. More information and application forms for the dividend are available to you from the Department's website at www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/BTWFD.aspx, or at your Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office.

Please note that if you are currently on OFP and FIS and your OFP is ending in July 2015, we will send you an application form for the BTWFD along with the letter explaining the changes to your payment. Please return the BTWFD application form to your Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office.

12) My youngest child is aged between 7 and 13 years and I am working less than 19 hours per week. How will I be affected when my OFP payment ends?

You could be entitled to the JA transitional payment until your youngest child reaches the age of 14 years. If you are able to increase the number of hours that you work to 19 per week, you may be entitled to the FIS payment, which could increase your overall income. Staff at your Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office will be able to explain these options to you in more detail.

13) My youngest child is aged over 14 years. How will I be affected when my OFP payment ends?

You could be entitled to the JA payment. Both the maximum personal payment rate for the parent (€188 per week) and the IQC (€29.80 per week per child) of the JA payment are the same as those of the OFP payment. Recipients of the JA payment can work up to a maximum of three days per week, can claim the Fuel Allowance and a range of other secondary benefits, and have access to the Department's full range of Intreo services and to related training, education, and employment supports. The staff at your Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office will be able to explain this option to you in more detail.

14) I am currently in receipt of the half-rate Carer's Allowance (CA) and have been told that I will no longer be eligible for the OFP payment from 2 July, 2015. What do I need to do?

If you are in already in receipt of the half-rate CA payment, you do not need to do anything. Legislation is being introduced which will allow you to stay on both OFP and half-rate carers until your youngest child is aged 16 years provided you continue to meet the conditions for both schemes.

We will send you a letter explaining this change closer to the time.

15) What education, training, and back-to-employment opportunities are available to me once my OFP payment ceases?

The Department operates a range of education, training, and employment support services that are designed to encourage and to support jobseekers to return to work and, also, to incentivise part-time workers to opt for full-time employment. These services are provided through the Department's network of locally-based Case Officers. These can be contacted through your Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office. Case Officers can work with you to help you to identify appropriate education, training, or back-to-employment programmes that will enhance your skills.

Case Officers work in close co-operation with other agencies and service providers, including SOLAS (formerly FÁS training), local Education Training Boards (formerly the VECs), other education and training providers, and the local community and voluntary sector. If you move from OFP to a Jobseeker's payment (including the JA transitional arrangement) you will be contacted by us to attend a group meeting or a one to one meeting where we will assist you to identify your development needs to help you move into employment.

With regard to OFP recipients who are already availing of an education, training, or employment programme and whose OFP claim will cease on 2 July, 2015, the following options are available:

  • If you are already on the Back-to-Education Allowance (BTEA) scheme you can continue on the scheme, with a payment from the Department, until your course is completed;
  • If you are on either a SOLAS or ETB training course you can finish your course and payment will be taken over by the Department of Education and Skills if your course commenced on or after 1st January 2014. If your course commenced before 1st January 2014 your rate of payment will be increased to include payment for your qualified child(ren).
  • If you are on an employment programme such as Community Employment you can finish your placement and your rate of payment will be increased to include payment for your qualified child(ren).
  • If you are on an employment programme such as JobBridge you can continue on the programme, with payment, until your programme is completed.
  • If you are on any other type of training including a course for which you are receiving a SUSI grant you can stay on your OFP until your course is completed. This arrangement is for customers whose OFP claim is ending on 2 July 2015 only. A separate arrangement will be in place for customers who lose entitlement to OFP after that date whereby the customer can move to the JA transitional arrangement and continue their course. You should advise your Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office if you are currently studying or about to commence a course of study. 

16) Where can I get more information on my options after my entitlement to the OFP payment ceases?

More information on the changes to the OFP scheme is available from your local Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office or on the Department's website at www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/One-Parent-Families.aspx.

17) My OFP is ending and I have a disabled child?

If you are currently getting an OFP payment and a Domiciliary Care Allowance (DCA) payment for one of your children then your OFP will not end until that child reaches 16 years of age. At this point this child can apply for the Disability Allowance payment in his/her own right. If you are also getting a half-rate Carer's Allowance payment you may also be able to move to a full rate CA payment.

If the child for whom you are getting DCA reaches 16 years of age and you have another younger child who is under 7 then your OFP payment will continue once you condition to satisfy the conditions of the scheme.

18) My question has not been answered.

If we have not answered your question then please contact your Intreo Centre/Social Welfare Local Office or Branch Office.

Last modified:20/10/2015
 

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