Thursday, 11 February 2021

Questions (199)

Neale Richmond


199. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth if parents applying for the national childcare scheme should be permitted to apply with their 2019 tax return as in the case of farmers who file their returns a year behind and are being penalised when applying to the scheme as they do not have their 2020 returns yet; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7619/21]

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Written answers (Question to Children)

The National Childcare Scheme (NCS) represents the first ever statutory entitlement to financial support for childcare in Ireland. It is based on the principle of progressive universalism and has regard to the best interests of children.

The NCS offers a flexible application process, with a variety of assessment options for parents to assess their most recent income circumstances. One of these is a Current Year Assessment. This allows parents to have their current year’s income assessed to determine their level of subsidy, rather than the default option of the previous tax year. This could more accurately reflect their current income level.

In addition, the ‘Sudden Change Assessment’ option allows for applicants to declare that they have had an ongoing change to their income. This applies to people who have lost a job or their income has reduced on an ongoing basis for reasons outside of their control. This measure will be of benefit to many parents who have had their income impacted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents will need to complete a new NCS application to avail of this measure.