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Lone parents will be forced from education due to cuts – Ó Snodaigh

5 March, 2015 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin TD and Spokesperson for Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh today highlighted and demanded immediate action from Minister Joan Burton on the fact that many lone parents in education will be negatively affected by the government’s decision to lower the cut off age of the youngest child for receipt of the One Parent Family Payment to age 7. As a consequence many students will no longer by eligible for the maintenance portion of the SUSI grant.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

“If this change (the change to age 7) goes ahead thousands of lone parent households will suffer a significant loss from their weekly incomes, including lone parents in further education who will no longer be able to receive the maintenance portion of the SUSI grant as a direct result.”

“Given that this has been known since Budget 2013 why has the Minister not shown any urgency in dealing with her counterpart the Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan to amend the SUSI legislation. “It is hypocritical to call on lone parents to move into education and then financially punish them for doing so.  If the Tánaiste proceeds with the change to One Parent Family Payment eligibility criteria on July 2nd then lone parents engaged in further education will lose this grant worth €45 a week and for many their continued participation in education will become unaffordable.”

“I am aware of one such case of a woman who is currently studying to become a social worker; a profession that we currently have a chronic shortage of. And she fears that the cut you intend to make in July will put her ‘final year in jeopardy’. We cannot force this dilemma on hundreds of lone parents who are trying to work, trying to study and now fear of the ground being cut from beneath their feet.” 

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