Tánaiste and Minister Joan Burton, T.D. introduces Social Protection Bill 2014 in Dáil


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Increase in Child Benefit from January for almost 613,000 families

One Parent Family Payment is maintained in line with other Social Welfare measures introduced in Budget 2015

6 November 2014: Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton TD introduced the Social Welfare Bill 2014 in the Dáil today to provide for the increase in the rate of Child Benefit from January.

The Tánaiste also confirmed the increase in the Living Alone Allowance and the partial restoration of the Christmas Bonus.

The Tánaiste also announced that she will be introducing an amendment to this Bill to retain the weekly earnings disregard for working lone parents who are in receipt of the One Parent Family Payment at its current level of €90.

Child Benefit

The increase in the rate of Child Benefit announced in Budget 2015 will bring the monthly rate from €130 to €135 for each child. The Government has also committed to increase the monthly rate of Child Benefit by a further €5 for each child in 2016, provided that the circumstances allow. The monthly rate of Child Benefit will increase from €195 to €202.50 per child in the case of twins and from €260 to €270 per child in the case of multiple births of three or more children, with effect from 1 January 2015. Overall, this measure will benefit almost 613,000 families in respect of 1,171,700 children.

Speaking on the value of Child Benefit as a support for families, the Tánaiste said: "Child Benefit has been crucial in supporting families through difficult times and this increase will help families to build a better financial future and boost the recovery. I am a strong advocate of Child Benefit as a universal payment because of its crucial importance to low and middle-income families."

One Parent Family Payment Earnings Disregard

The Tánaiste told the Dáil she was particularly pleased to have secured Government approval to retain the weekly earnings disregard for working lone parents in receipt of the One Parent Family Payment at its current level of €90. This measure will be provided for by way of a Committee Stage amendment to the Bill.

Under the One Parent Family Payment scheme currently, the first €90 of a person’s gross weekly earnings is disregarded. This means that a person can earn up to €90 per week and qualify for the full One-Parent Family Payment. Under changes announced in Budget 2012, (announced in December 2011), it was intended that the disregard would fall to €75 a week next year and €60 a week in 2016. The Committee Stage amendment will ensure this is not the case, and that the disregard will remain at €90.

Some 28,000 working lone parents who are currently getting a One Parent Family Payment from the Department of Social Protection will benefit from this measure in 2015 at a cost of €8 million which will be funded from within the Department’s existing allocation for next year.

Separately, the Tánaiste will make Regulations in the coming weeks to provide for the increase in the Living Alone Allowance that comes into effect in January and the payment of a Christmas Bonus which will be paid in early December this year.

Some 177,500 Social Welfare customers will benefit from the increase in the Living Allowance (it will be increased to €9.00 per week).

The 25% Christmas Bonus will be paid to over 1.16 million Social Welfare customers, mainly people who are getting a long-term payment at a cost of over €64 million.

ENDS.

Last modified:06/11/2014