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 who are in full-time education, or who have a disability, until their 18th birthday. Child benefit is currently paid, as of end-August 2020, to over 638,244 families in respect of over 1.2 million children. The estimated expenditure on Child Benefit in 2020 is in excess of €2 billion.
Distinct rates of payment in respect of multiple births have been a feature of the child benefit scheme for many years. It is linked to the additional costs that arise in cases of multiple births compared to other households with the same number of children but of different ages.
The higher level of support extended to parents of children of multiple births is therefore important, especially when considered over an entire childhood.
The current rates of child benefit are as follows:
- One Child €140
- Twins €210 for each child (1½ times the single rate for one child)
- Other multiple births €280 for each child (double the rate for one child)
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 Working Family Payment for low-paid employees with children;
- 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. Further information about these schemes and other supports available to families can be found in the guide to schemes and services for families and children published by my Department and which is available at the following link:
Changes to any of the rates of child benefit payable would incur significant costs and would have to be considered in an overall budgetary context.