Question No: 64 Ref No: 25381-15
To the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the number of women previously in receipt of a payment of One Parent Family Allowance who have experienced a net reduction in their weekly income arising from the changes that have taken place; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
– Bernard J. Durkan.
* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 24th June, 2015.
R E P L Y
Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Joan Burton T.D):
The reforms to the one-parent family payment saw approximately 10,000 customers transitioning from one-parent family payment to a range of alternative income support payments on 4 July, 2013, and on 3 July, 2014. The majority of these customers were women given that currently 98% of one-parent family payment recipients are women.
It is not possible to give definitive figures on the number of customers, who experienced a change in income on foot of transitioning from the one-parent family payment scheme as this depends on individual circumstances and the status of all affected customers may have changed in the interim.
Over 2,000 customers transferred from the one-parent family payment and family income supplement to a re-rated family income supplement, which was automatically increased to take account of the loss of 60% of their one-parent family payment income. It should also be noted that in July 2013 and in July 2014 almost 600 lone parents become new family income supplement recipients. These 600 individuals would have gained financially from claiming family income supplement for the first time.
Almost 6,000 lone parents transitioned to jobseeker’s scheme including the jobseeker’s transitional payment. The majority of customers who moved to a jobseeker’s payment received no change in their weekly income. However, individuals who were earning above €60 per week incurred a loss as the jobseeker’s means test is less generous than the equivalent one-parent family payment means test.
Lone parents who have transitioned to the jobseeker’s transitional payment are being supported by the Department to produce a personal development plan with the help of a case officer on a one to one basis. My Department will continue work with lone parents to provide them with enhanced access to the Department’s supports and services.
There were over 400 lone parents would have been due to transition from one-parent family payment and half rate Carer’s Allowance to full rate Carer’s Allowance. As a result these individuals would have suffered a drop in their weekly income. However, earlier this year I introduced an extension to the entitlement of the one-parent family payment so that from May of this year these customers can re-apply for one-parent family payment and provided they satisfy the conditions they will be able to retain one-parent family payment and half rate carer’s allowance until their youngest child is 16 years of age.
The remaining lone parents transitioned from one-parent family payment to a wide range of other payments or to education, training or employment programmes.