Reduced rates for Jobseekers Allowance recipients aged 18-25 were introduced on a phased basis to tackle high youth unemployment which had reached its highest level in 2009 with almost 28% of people under 25 years of age unemployed and to prevent long-term welfare dependency. This policy is in line with other EU and OECD jurisdictions. Receiving the maximum weekly rate of jobseeker’s allowance without a strong financial incentive to engage in education or training can lead to long-term welfare dependency from a young age. If a young jobseeker participates in education or training the personal rate that applies is the maximum rate of €203 per week.
Under Pathways to Work 2016-2020, my Department committed to review and report on the impact of the reduced rates for JA recipients aged 18 to 25. As an input to my Department's review, the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM) undertook research which examined the effectiveness of the reduced rates in encouraging young jobseekers to avail of education, training and employment. My Department facilitated the NUIM access to the data from the Jobseeker’s Longitudinal Database in order to undertake this research.
The detailed findings from this research have been used to inform my Department’s own review report. The report, which involves a considerable amount of data gathering and complex analysis, is at an advanced stage and I expect to receive a copy soon.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.