Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Ceisteanna (632)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

632. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full year cost of allowing lone parents in employment whose children are aged between seven and 14 years of age to receive both jobseeker's transition payment and the working family payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25129/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

My Department provides a number of options for income support to lone parents once their entitlement to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) ceases. These include the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST) payment where the youngest child is aged 7-13 years (inclusive), and the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) payment which may be paid to lone parents where the youngest child is aged 14 or over. The Working Family Payment (WFP), is also available to lone parents who are working 19 or more hours per week. Lone parents who move to WFP may also apply for the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD).

The concurrent payment of JST and WFP contradicts the policy goal of the changes to the OFP scheme, which were to tackle long-term social welfare dependency - and its associated poverty risks - through a tapering of income supports and a more active engagement process offering enhanced educational, training and employment supports. Concurrent payment of JST and WFP would also introduce a steep financial "cliff" for lone parents when their youngest child reaches 14 years of age and they potentially move to Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Lone parents currently on JST who increase their working hours to 19 or more per week can transfer from JST to WFP.

Bearing the above policy position in mind, the Department has calculated the cost of allowing JST recipients who meet the eligibility requirements for WFP (i.e. 19hrs average working hours per week), and the cost of allowing those in receipt of WFP with children aged between 7 and 13 (inclusive) who would meet the eligibility requirements for JST, to be in the region of €104m on an annual basis.

I am advised by my Department that on reviewing the costing of this proposal, an inadvertent error was discovered in the calculations made in the reply to Question No 520 of 2 April 2019, which is now corrected in the costing given above.