Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1835)

Eamon Scanlon


1835. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if child benefit will be extended to families in receipt of the working family payment whose children are over 18 years of age and still attending second level school; her views on the fact that a school child sitting the leaving certificate is fully dependent on his or her parents and the loss of €140 a month is considerable; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35596/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Child Benefit is a monthly payment made to families with children in respect of all qualified children up to the age of 16 years. The payment continues to be paid in respect of children up to their 18th birthday who are in full-time education, or who have a disability. Child Benefit is currently paid, as of end-July 2019 to almost 630,000 families in respect of nearly 1.2 million children, with an estimated expenditure of more than €2 billion in 2018.

Given the universality of Child Benefit, extending the payment in respect of full time students in second level education who are over 18 years of age would have significant cost implications and would have to be considered in an overall budgetary context.

In addition to the Working Family Payment, families on low incomes may be able to avail of a number of social welfare schemes that support children in full-time education until the age of 22, including:

- Increase for a Qualified Child (IQCs) with primary social welfare payments;

- the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance

These schemes provide targeted assistance that is directly linked to household income and thereby support low-income families with older children participating in full-time education.