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Social Welfare Benefits

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Questions (302)

Peter Burke


302. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Social Protection if the current age limit of 18 for the children’s allowance will be extended until the child finishes their education up to third-level. [53796/21]

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Written answers (Question to Social)

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 until their 18th birthday who are in full-time education, or who have a disability. Child benefit is currently paid to over 631,000 families in respect of almost 1.2 million children with expenditure of more than €2.1 billion in 2020.

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 (IQC) with primary social welfare payments;

- the Working Family Payment for low-paid employees with children; and

- 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.

As part of Budget 2022, I secured increases in the rates for a qualified child aged under 12 by €2 to €40 per week, and for a qualified child aged 12 or older by €3 to €48 per week. These increases will come into effect in January 2022. The income thresholds for all families in receipt of Working Family Payment will also increase by €10 per week in 2022.

Extending Child Benefit in respect of full time students in second level and third level education who are over 18 years of age could only be considered in a Budgetary context and in the context of competing demands for limited resources.