The current One-Parent Family payment provides long term income support to a lone parent, until their youngest child is 18 years, or 22 years old if in full-time education.
The Government believes that this long-term welfare dependency is not in the best interests of the recipient, the child and society in general.
new customers applying for the One-Parent Family payment from April 2011, it is proposed that the payment will be made to them until the youngest child reaches age 13 years. (If however the customer is in receipt of a Domiciliary Care Allowance for that child, the One-Parent Family payment will continue until the child reaches 16 years of age and claims Disability Allowance in their own right).
The vast majority of new customers for the One-Parent Family payment are parents of new born babies; therefore the changes in the payment from April 2011 will not affect them until 2024.
There is also a special provision for both married and co-habiting persons who are recently bereaved and who have children aged 13 years or older. They will continue to receive the payment for up to 2 years or until their child is 18 years old to enable them to come to terms with their changed circumstances.
existing customers of the One-Parent Family payment, there will be a
tapered six year phasing out period to enable them to access education and training, to help prepare them for their return to the labour market. Therefore, the age 13 cut off point will only come in to effect for existing customers, six years from now which is 2016. For existing customers, the age 18 cut off point will remain for 2011 and 2012. In 2013 it will be 17 years, in 2014, 16 years, in 2015, 15 years and in 2016, 13 years.
If the child is in full time education there is also a special provision for existing One-Parent Family payment recipients. In this case, payment will continue until the end of the 2012 – 2013 academic year or until the child reaches age 22 - whichever is the earlier.
These changes will bring Ireland's support for lone parents more into line with international provisions, where there is a general movement away from long-term and passive income support. The EU countries achieving the best outcomes in terms of tackling child poverty are those that are combining strategies aimed at facilitating access to employment and enabling services (e.g. child care) with income support.