My Department provides a number of options for income support to lone parents once their entitlement to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) ceases. These include the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST) payment where the youngest child is aged 7-13 years (inclusive) and the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) payment which may be paid to lone parents where the youngest child is aged 14 or over. The Working Family Payment (WFP), is also available to lone parents who are working 19 or more hours per week. Lone parents who move to WFP may also apply for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD).
The cost of increasing the age limit for a qualified child for the jobseeker's transitional payment (JST) until the youngest child reaches 18 years of age is not easily estimated as there are significant barriers to undertaking such an exercise. For example, customers may no longer be within the welfare system, while others could seek to move from alternative payments such as Jobseekers Allowance (JA), the Working Family Payment (WFP) and the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) back to JST. I am advised that it would be difficult for my Department to estimate the magnitude of this flow into and between schemes with any degree of accuracy.
Likewise, the number of young people 18 years of age (and over) who are still in secondary education, and the proportion of those who are the children of lone parents in receipt of benefits is not readily available or easily estimated. As these unknown factors are critical to providing a reliable costing my Department is not in a position to provide the costing requested.