Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Social Protection

Family Income Supplement Payments

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois-Offaly, Fianna Fail)
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146. To ask the Minister for Social Protection if a person who is claiming family income supplement where their circumstances have changed substantially may make changes to their claim within the 12 month period; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47099/14]

Photo of Joan BurtonJoan Burton (Dublin West, Labour)
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The family income supplement (FIS) is an in-work support which provides an income top-up for employees on low earnings with children. FIS is designed to prevent child and family poverty and to offer a financial incentive to take-up employment as compared to social welfare payments. Expenditure on FIS for 2014 is estimated to be of the order of €280 million and it is currently paid to some 49,000 families in respect of almost 109,000 children.

An integral part of the FIS scheme is that once the level of payment is determined, it continues to be payable at that rate for a period of 52 weeks, provided that the person remains in full-time employment. However, in the following two circumstances, the weekly rate of FIS can be revised during the year:

- If a claimant starts to care for an additional child in the course of the 52 weeks.

- If a claimant was getting a one-parent family payment and this payment was stopped because their youngest child reached the relevant age limit, then the FIS rate can be reassessed to take account of the loss of their one-parent family payment.

The rate of payment will not change if there is an increase or decrease in the recipient’s earnings. A key advantage of this approach, which is unique to the FIS scheme, is that claimants can be certain that they will receive a guaranteed level of income support throughout the period. This certainty is important to the success of the scheme as it provides a real incentive to workers with families to avail of employment opportunities. For those who experience a reduction in their income over the course of the year, the rate of payment will be reassessed at the end of the 52 weeks upon renewal of a FIS claim. This aspect of the FIS scheme is also important in minimising the administrative effort associated with the operation of this scheme and helps to speed up processing times for claims for FIS, which could otherwise be subject to delays due to frequent reviews.

I have no plans to change the existing arrangements.


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