In line with other EU and OECD jurisdictions where such measures feature, reduced rates for younger jobseeker’s allowance recipients were first introduced in 2009 and extended to those under 26 in Budget 2014. These measures were introduced to protect young people from welfare dependency by providing young jobseekers 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 a higher weekly payment of €198 which is the maximum personal rate for jobseeker’s allowance. In addition, recipients of jobseekers allowance under 26 years of age who have dependent children are not subject to the reduced rates.
Reduced rates also do not apply to people under 25 who were in the care of the State during the year prior to their 18th birthday. They are only subject to the age-related reduced rate of €152.80 per week when they reach 25 years of age. My Department does not have statistics available on the number of young people who, having left the care of the State are subject to the lower rate of €152.80 when they reach 25 years of age.
People who leave the care of the State and who inform my Department are dealt with on a case by case basis to ensure that they receive the rate of payment appropriate to their circumstances. My Department actively engages with Tusla and non-Government organisations in providing the necessary support to vulnerable young people leaving care who are experiencing homelessness or are in insecure situations.