Minister Doherty announces Social Welfare Budget for 2018


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  €20 Billion to be spent in 2018 benefiting two million people  

€5 Increase across all weekly payments (at max rate)  

Increase of €2 in weekly payment for qualified dependent children  

Working Family Payment (formerly FIS) – thresholds increased by €10 p.w. for families of one, two or three children  

National Minimum Wage to increase to €9.55 per hour in 2018  

Income disregard for working lone parents to increase by €20 p.w.  

Christmas Bonus of 85% to be paid in December 2017


Employment Affairs and Social Protection Minister, Regina Doherty, T.D. has today (10th October 2017) secured a welfare package that prioritises improvements to family incomes including lone parents.

The 2018 welfare package will deliver a €5 increase in the maximum rate of all weekly payments for pensioners, lone parents, jobseekers, carers, people with disabilities, widows, and people on employment programmes. A €2 increase for each qualified dependent child will be made in all weekly payments – the first such increase since 2010.  Dependent adult and people on reduced rate payments will receive proportionate increases while younger jobseekers, aged 26 and under, on reduced rates will receive the full €5 increase.  These measures take effect from the week commencing 26 March 2018. 

Minister Doherty said that today’s Budget continues the process of building a fairer and more inclusive society, incentivises and rewards work and strengthens welfare supports for those who may need them.

“The increase in the weekly rates of welfare payments announced in today’s Budget demonstrate the Government’s commitment to a fair society that supports work and enterprise, while creating opportunities and improving the standards of living for all. The €5 increase across all weekly payments, along with the increases for dependent adults and children announced today, affirms this commitment.

“Working families are the backbone of the Irish economy.  A number of Budget measures are designed to support working families, especially those on lower incomes, including the increase in the minimum wage by 30 cent to €9.55 per hour, as well as increases in the earning threshold limits for the Working Family Payment (which is the new name for FIS) for families with up to 3 children.

“Since becoming Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, I have prioritised the needs of working families and lone parents.  The Back to Work Family Dividend, which was due to end in March 2018, is to be retained and this will continue to support families in making the transition from welfare to work.  The income disregard applied to working lone parents in receipt of either the One-Parent Family Payment or Jobseeker’s Transition Payment, will increase by €20 per week.  These measures demonstrate this Government’s commitment to supporting working families, especially working lone parents and making sure that they are always better off in work versus solely dependent on welfare.

“Our young people are our future. No young person should be left behind. With this in mind, people aged 26 and under (receiving a reduced rate of Jobseekers Allowance) will receive a full €5 increase from March 2018.  Furthermore, a new scheme called the Youth Employment Support Scheme will be introduced in 2018 to support long-term unemployed young people, back to the workplace.

“Our pensioners have, and continue to make a significant contribution to society and I am pleased to have secured the €5 weekly increase for them.  The Programme for Government commits to increases for people with disabilities, who are among the most vulnerable in our society.  This Budget fulfils these commitments.

“The extension of the Fuel Allowance to 27 weeks, into the first week of April 2018, will benefit 375,000 households, particularly pensioners, widows, people with disabilities, lone parents and long term jobseekers.  Pensioners and people with disabilities, who live alone, can face particular challenges and can be at increased risk of social isolation.  The introduction of a new Telephone Support Allowance will benefit over 124,000 people who receive the Living Alone Allowance (and are eligible for the Fuel Allowance).

“Supporting and sustaining rural Ireland is a key objective of this Government. The €5 increase in the weekly Farm Assist payment, together with an additional 250 places on the Rural Social Scheme – increasing the number to 3,350 in 2018 - and the introduction of an additional investment of €10 million in the Free Travel Scheme is designed to encourage new operators into the scheme and to broaden coverage in more remote parts of rural Ireland.

“This morning, I received Government approval for the payment of the social welfare Christmas Bonus, to be paid in early December at a rate of 85%.  This will benefit all recipients of long term social welfare payments including carers, people with disabilities, pensioners and lone parents.”

ENDS
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection

Contact Details
E: press.office@welfare.ie
T: 01 704 3082
Twitter: @welfare_ie

Last modified:10/10/2017