Thursday, 5 March 2015

Ceisteanna (57)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

57. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the extent to which she expects lone parents to be in a position to maintain their level of income in the aftermath of a reduction in entitlements; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9765/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Social)

The final phase of the one-parent family payment (OFP) reforms will take place on 2 July, 2015, when the maximum age limit of the youngest child at which an OFP recipient’s payment ceases will be reduced to 7 years for all recipients.

Approximately 30,200 OFP recipients will transition out of the OFP scheme on that day. These customers will be supported by my Department to transition to another income support payment.

Approximately 20,000 lone parents will access a jobseeker’s payment, including the jobseeker’s allowance (JA) transitional arrangement, through which they will have access to my Department’s Intreo services and to a range of education, training, and employment supports that will assist them in securing sustainable employment.

Another approximately 9,600 lone parents are expected to move to the family income supplement (FIS) and, therefore, will also qualify for the back to work family dividend (BTWFD), which provides a further incentive for customers to avail of work opportunities by allowing them to retain their increase for a qualified child (IQC) payment when they leave income support for employment/self-employment.

In the last two years, the Department has seen an increase in applications for the FIS payment from customers who have transitioned out of the OFP payment as a result of the on-going reforms to the scheme. This is evidence of the positive impact that these reforms are having on customers who are increasing their employment, becoming new FIS recipients, and seeing their income increase when they transition out of the OFP payment.

Approximately 1,650 lone parents who are in receipt of the domiciliary care allowance (DCA) on behalf of a disabled child will not be affected by the July changes.

Subject to the necessary legislative amendments being enacted, I will be extending eligibility for OFP to lone parents who are also eligible for the half-rate carer’s allowance (CA), until their youngest child is aged 16 years. This will impact positively on approximately 1,800 individuals, including the 800 customers who were due to transition from the OFP payment to a full-rate CA payment on 2 July, 2015.