I propose to take Questions Nos. 205 and 206 together.
The full year cost of increasing the jobseeker’s allowance payment for 25 year olds on the €152.80 weekly rate by €22.60 to €175.40 per week is €3.17 million in 2019.
The full year cost of increasing the jobseeker’s allowance payment for 18-24 year olds on the €107.70 weekly rate by €45.15 to €152.85 per week is €37.3 million in 2019. This includes the cost of increasing the weekly €107.70 rate for the relevant qualified adults up to €131.40 per week.
It should be noted that these estimated costs are subject to change over the coming months in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2019.
Lower weekly rates for younger jobseeker’s allowance recipients were introduced to protect young people from welfare dependency by providing them with a strong financial incentive to engage in education or training or to take up employment. Where a young jobseeker participates on an education or training programme they will receive the higher weekly rate of €198 which is the maximum personal rate for jobseeker’s allowance.
The reduced rates of jobseeker’s allowance do not apply in various circumstances, such as in cases where the jobseeker has a qualified child or for 18-24 year olds who were in the care of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) during the period of 12 months before they reached the age of 18.
The appropriate rate of all weekly social welfare payments, including the rate for young jobseekers, will be considered by the Government in the context of budgetary deliberations.