Question No: 10 Ref No: 24801/15
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the extent to which alternative payment arrangements for lone parents whose One Parent Family Allowance has ceased or has been reduced continues to match their previous payment entitlement in respect of One Parent Family Allowance; if any exceptions have been brought to her attention; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
* For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 24th June, 2015.
R E P L Y
The purpose of the one-parent family payment (OFP) age reforms that were introduced in the Social Welfare and Pensions Act, 2012, is to reduce long-term social welfare dependency. The reforms aim to improve lone parents’ access to the Department’s range of education, training, and employment support programmes, in order to assist them in securing employment and financial independence.
The final phase of the OFP age change reforms will happen 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 29,400 OFP recipients will transition from the scheme on that day. These customers are being supported by the Department to transition to alternative income support payments €“ including jobseeker’s allowance, the jobseeker’s transitional payment and family income supplement (FIS), where they may also qualify for the new back to work family dividend.
Approximately 20,000 affected lone parents will experience no income changes or will gain in the range of €10 to €150 per week after the transition. This depends on their level of earnings and the number of children that they have.
The remaining 10,000 lone parents are in employment and, may see a reduction in their income when they transition to another social welfare payment if they do not, for example increase their hours. Approximately 6,000 of these will have an immediate incentive to increase their working hours to 19 in order to claim FIS and the BTWFD. To date approximately 2,000 affected lone parents have increased their hours to claim FIS and are now financially better off than they had been. The Department has been providing information sessions and one to one engagements with lone parents affected by the reforms and will work with lone parents on a one-to-one basis to provide them with enhanced access to the Department’s supports and services.