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Joan Burton’s cuts increase deprivation in lone parent households – Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

22 January, 2015 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Social Protection Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has said that Tánaiste Joan Burton bears full responsibility for the increased rate of deprivation in lone parent households.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh also highlighted that the situation is going to get worse for children in such households when further cuts, to be implemented by the Minister Burton, kick-in on July 2nd of this year.

The Dublin TD said;

“CSO figures published yesterday revealed that 63% of lone parent households suffer enforced deprivation.  This figure relates to children who don’t have the basic necessities such as heating in their home, warm winter coats and sufficient food.

“Joan Burton bears full responsibility for this appalling situation. The Tánaiste has made a series of cuts to the One Parent Family Payment scheme.

“This includes cutting the earnings disregard with the result that working lone parents on extremely low pay lost €28 per week.

“And the situation is set to get worse when further cuts are implemented.  The Tánaiste has confirmed to me that some 6,400 one parent families will lose up to €36.50 a week as a result of the lowering of the qualifying age for children and a further 4,500 one parent families will lose between up to €57 a week.

“Another 800 one parent families in receipt of the half rate Carers Allowance will lose €86 per week.

“These cuts are set to kick in on July 2nd.

“The Tánaiste and her government colleagues in Labour and Fine Gael can talk about economic recovery till the cows come home but the reality for many people is deepening poverty and deprivation.

“And these are the very people that the Labour Party has traditionally claimed to represent.”

See related PQ below:

Question No: 99 Ref. No: 2939-15

To the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection:

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the number of recipients of one parent family payment who will be impacted by the lowering of the qualifying age of a child scheduled to take effect in July 2015; and if she will provide a breakdown of the amount of weekly reduction from social welfare that they will experience depending on which payment they transfer onto.

- Aengus Ó Snodaigh.

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 21st January, 2015. 

R E P L Y 

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Joan Burton, T.D.): 

The number of one-parent family payment (OFP) recipients stood at 69,884 in December, 2014. The cost of the OFP scheme is estimated to be approximately €607 million in 2015.

The final phase of the OFP scheme age change reforms will be taking place on 2 July, 2015, when the maximum age limit of the youngest child at which an OFP recipient’s payment ceases will be reduced to 7 years for all recipients. It is anticipated that approximately 30,200 OFP recipients will transition out of the OFP scheme on that day.

The majority of affected lone parents are expected to transition to the jobseeker’s allowance (JA) payment including to the JA transitional arrangement, the family income supplement (FIS) or the carer’s allowance (CA) payment.

Some 19,800 OFP recipients, or approximately 65.6% of the total, are expected to transition to the JA payment, including the JA transitional arrangement. Of these:

· 13,400 have earnings of less than €60 per week and will incur no loss of income. These customers are not working and, as such, will not suffer any reduction in their new income support payment as the JA payment pays the same personal and qualified child rates as the OFP payment.
· 6,400 have earnings of between €60 and €200 per week and will lose between €1 and €36.50 per week.

Some 9,600 OFP recipients, or approximately 31.8% of the total, are expected to transition to the FIS scheme on 2 July, 2015. These customers will be entitled to avail of the back to work family dividend (BTWFD), which was announced in Budget 2015, and will include those who transition from both the OFP and FIS payments to a re-rated FIS payment only, as well as those who become new FIS recipients. These customers will be able to retain their increase for qualified child (IQC) payment of €29.80 per week per child (up to a maximum of €119.20 per week for four children) for two years, with full IQC entitlement for the first year and 50% entitlement for the second year. Of the aforementioned 9,600 OFP recipients:

· 4,500 customers whose FIS will be re-rated will lose between €0.50 and €57 per week;
· 1,000 customers whose FIS will be re-rated will gain between €2 and €42 per week, and
· 4,100 may become new FIS recipients and will gain between €20 and €160 per week. This assumes that customers earning over €200 per week will become new FIS recipients rather than moving to a JA payment.

These figures include the first year of the BTWFD payment.

Some 800 OFP recipients, or approximately 2.6% of the total, who are claiming both the OFP and half-rate CA payments, will have their CA claim automatically assessed and re-rated to a full-rate CA payment of €204 per week, plus an IQC of €29.80 per week per child, on 2 July, 2015. These customers will lose €86 per week when their OFP entitlement ceases. This loss occurs as these lone parents are moving from one-and-a-half payments to a single full-rate CA payment. This is the most advantageous option that is available to these lone parents and, also, they will retain their entitlement to existing secondary benefits such as the respite care grant, the household benefits package and free travel. Historically, the transition of recipients from the OFP scheme to the CA scheme has always occurred in this manner, with concurrent OFP and half-rate CA entitlement being replaced with full-rate CA entitlement once the maximum age limit of the youngest child is reached.

The figures outlined above are estimates based on various customer scenarios and are for indicative purposes only.


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