The jobseeker’s schemes provide income support for people who have lost work and are unable to find alternative full-time employment. The 2018 Estimates for my Department provide for expenditure this year on the jobseeker’s schemes of €2.17 billion.
The current weekly maximum personal rate of jobseekers benefit is €198. Where a claimant has average weekly earnings of less than €300 in the relevant tax year they are paid a graduated rate. The relevant tax year for 2018 is 2016. The estimated full year cost of equalising the personal rate would be approximately €22 million. This cost would increase by a further €10 million factoring in a €5 increase.
The estimated full year cost of increasing the jobseekers allowance under 26 rates for all recipients would be approximately €94 million. The Deputy should be aware that the reduced rates of jobseekers allowance do not apply to recipients with a qualified child, those making a linked claim within the previous 12 months to which the maximum personal rate applied or those transferring directly to jobseekers allowance from disability allowance. The reduced rates also do not apply to 18 to 24 year olds who were in care before they reached the age of 18.
The costings provided are subject to change in the context of emerging trends and associated revision of the estimated numbers of recipients for 2018. Any changes to the jobseekers schemes would have to be considered in a budgetary context and within the scope of the overall resources available for welfare improvements.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.