06/06/2018

Govt Will Not Consider Means Testing Child Benefit

The government is not considering means testing Child Benefit, the Employment Affairs and Social Protection Minister, Regina Doherty, has confirmed.

Minister Doherty said: "I do not intend introducing a means-test for Child Benefit. Means testing Child Benefit is not being considered by Government, and is not in the Programme for Government.

"As Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, I support the universality of the Child Benefit payment, and the principle that all families with children should receive this income support.

"Government policy on childcare supports is to provide assistance for parents and their children through improved services rather than increased cash transfers alone. Our measures include free early years education through the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programme, which is now for two years.

"My Department also administers Maternity Benefit, Paternity Benefit and Adoptive Benefit payments, which provide income support to parents during the period following the birth of a child. Low income households with children are also supported through the Department's Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance scheme.

"I am continuing to work with my colleagues in Government to introduce one year of shared paid parental leave. In Budget 2018, the Government provided for an increase in income supports that directly links with household income, such as Qualified Child increases."

Other examples of targeted income supports for families with children:

• The Working Family Payment scheme which provides income support for low income families with children and where income thresholds were increased in Budget 2018 by €10 per week for families with up to three children

• The One-Parent Family Payment and Jobseekers Transitions payments which provide income support to lone parents. Budget 2018 increased the income disregard for these recipients increasing the amount of money that a lone parent can receive from employment without reducing their social welfare payment

• The Back to Work Family Dividend which gives financial support to people with children who are in or take up employment or self-employment and stop claiming primary social welfare payments

(MH)

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