I propose to take Questions Nos. 105 and 123 together.
Family income supplement is designed to provide cash support for employees on low earnings with families. This preserves the incentive to remain in employment in circumstances where the employee might only be marginally better off than if he or she were claiming other social welfare payments. The number of persons in receipt of family income supplement at 5 March 2004 is 12,060, with an average weekly payment of €87.06. I am arranging to have the numbers in receipt of the supplement at 31 December for each of the last five years circulated in a separate table.
This year I provided for further increases in the FIS income limits with effect from January 2004. These increases raised the weekly limit by €28 at each point, adding an extra €16.80 to the payments of most existing FIS recipients. I also raised the minimum weekly payment by €7 to €20.
My Department undertakes a number of proactive measures to ensure people are aware of possible entitlement to FIS, which include advising all newly awarded one-parent family payment recipients, advising all employers annually in PRSI mailshots and examining entitlement in all awarded back to work allowance cases. Information on FIS is contained in all child benefit books and can be accessed on the Department's website. In addition, the scheme has previously been extensively advertised through local and national media outlets, including newspapers and radio, as well as through poster campaigns and targeted mailshots. These methods of information provision will continue to be used to promote the scheme.