Thursday, 13 July 2017
Department of Social Protection
One-Parent Family Payment Expenditure
The cost implications of reversing all cuts and changes to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) since 2008 are very complex to estimate and would require significant resources and time to prepare.
There are three significant barriers to undertaking this costing exercise. Firstly, by reversing the amendments made to the OFP scheme, this would likely result in a substantial cohort of lone parents that are currently not in receipt of a social welfare payment becoming eligible and therefore moving onto a social welfare payment. As members of this cohort are not currently in receipt of any social welfare payment, the Department currently has no visibility of them and therefore, it would be impossible to estimate the numbers involved.
Secondly, this proposal may incentivise some customers to move from alternative payments such as Jobseekers Allowance (JA), the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST) and the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) back onto the OFP. It would not be possible for the Department to estimate the magnitude of this flow between schemes.
Finally, reversing the changes to the OFP would also increase the incidence of dual payments of OFP and the Family Income Supplement (FIS), which would lead to significant but unquantifiable reductions in FIS payments for some lone parents.
These unknown factors are critical to providing a reliable costing. The Department is therefore not in a position to provide the costing requested.