Social Welfare Pensions and Civil Registration Bill Passed by Both Houses of the Oireachtas

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Social Welfare Pensions and Civil Registration Bill Passed
by Both Houses of the Oireachtas

Includes targeted increases for children and lone parents

The Social Welfare Pensions and Civil Registration Bill 2018 has today (Tuesday, 18th December) passed its final stages through the Dáil and Seanad and will be presented to the to the President for signing. The Bill, when enacted, will implement measures announced in Budget 2019 which has provided for €361.6 million in additional social welfare expenditure. It provides for an increase in all weekly social welfare payments, supports work and enterprise, and is focused on improving the economic and social wellbeing of children and families through a range of targeted and enhanced supports.  Total social protection expenditure will reach €20.5 billion in 2019.
Marking the passage of the Bill, Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, T.D. said:

“This Bill reflects the Government’s commitment to both restoring and maintaining the real value of core welfare payment rates and demonstrates our commitment to funding and making adjustments to those elements of the social welfare code that can deliver greatest impact in terms of alleviating poverty for those groups most at risk.

“The publication by the Central Statistics Office of their Survey on Income and Living Conditions 2017 this week illustrated downward movement in the key poverty indicators. However, the Government is not complacent and the provisions in this year’s Social Welfare Bill – particularly with its focus on families with children - will strengthen the momentum towards alleviating poverty within our communities.”

Stressing that as well as raising rates across most weekly payments, the Bill targeted particular areas for additional intervention, Minister Doherty pointed to the increases for qualified dependent children. She emphasised:

“The increased weekly payments for each qualified dependent child represent increases for all children in households dependent upon social welfare. This includes a higher increase for older children which is a response to evidence presented by St Vincent de Paul, the Vincentian Partnership and Barnardo’s that the costs of raising and caring for children increase once that child reaches their secondary school years.  I hope this, along with the weekly rate increases, will go some way to addressing child poverty in this country.”

Key features in the Bill include:

  • €5 increase in maximum rate of all weekly social welfare payments benefiting 1.47 million people
  • Increased weekly payments for each qualified dependent child - €2.20 for children under 12, and €5.20 for children aged 12 and over - We are increasing the weekly rate of the increase for a qualified child again this year.  We are increasing the qualified child rate by €2.20 for children up to age 12 and by €5.20 for children aged 12 years and over. 
  • Working Lone Parents on One-Parent Family Payment and Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment can earn an extra €20 per week, up to €150, and keep their full payment.

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Last modified:18/12/2018