Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2800)

John Brady


2800. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full-year cost of raising the cut-off age of the one-parent family payment to 14 years of age. [33687/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

The full year cost of increasing the age limit of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) to 14 would be very difficult to estimate with any great accuracy.

There are a number of significant barriers to undertaking such an exercise. Firstly, an increase in the age limits could result in a cohort of lone parents that are currently not in receipt of a social welfare payment becoming eligible and therefore moving onto a social welfare payment. As members of this cohort are not currently in receipt of a social welfare payment it would be difficult to for the Department to estimate the numbers involved.

Secondly, some customers could seek to move from alternative payments such as Jobseekers Allowance (JA), the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST) and the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) back to the OFP. Again, it would be difficult for the Department to estimate the magnitude of this flow between schemes with any degree of accuracy.

Thirdly, such changes would also increase the incidence of dual payments of OFP and the Working Family Payment (WFP). It is not possible to predict the impact on payments as a result of the interaction between both schemes without having detailed knowledge of individuals’ working patterns and the degree to which these might change.

These factors are critical to providing a reliable costing. The Department is therefore not in a position to provide the costing requested.