Tuesday, 25 May 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Payments
426. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated full-year cost of increasing each weekly social welfare payment to meet the minimum essential standard of living as detailed by an organisation (details supplied); and if she will provide this information with regard to the current base rates and minimum essential standard of living rates by contributory and non-contributory social protection schemes, in tabular form. [28379/21]
The Minimum Essential Standard of Living (MESL) is an assessment, developed by the Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice, of the minimum income needed to live and partake in the social and economic norms of everyday life for various household types. My Department has partly funded the excellent, detailed work of the Vincentian Partnership for a number of years, and I find it extremely useful.
One of the benefits of the work of the Vincentians is that it produces data on various household types, including the different costs that arise for households in rural and urban locations. In that way, it complements data produced from other analyses such as the Survey on Income and Living Conditions produced by the Central Statistics Office.
The work of the Vincentians also highlights issues that may be addressed with improvements in services. In this regard, improved services, such as the extension of GP visit cards for children and the affordable childcare scheme can result in significant reductions in the minimum income standards needed by households.
Bringing weekly working age social welfare rates in line with the MESL would entail increasing the maximum personal rate to €250 and the Qualified Child Increase to €48.20 for children under 12 and €94.70 for children aged 12 and over. There would be no proportionate increase in the current rate for Qualified Adults in order to meet the MESL.
Bringing pension rates in line with the MESL would require an increase of €46.40 for pensioners living alone in rural areas. There would be no increase to the rate of payment for pensioner couples, or pensioners living alone in urban areas.
The total cost of these measures is €2.7 billion.
The estimated cost of increasing all working age payments to €250 is set out in the table below.
|Cost of increase €m|
|Social Insurance Schemes|
|Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Con) Pension||63.3|
|Deserted Wife's Benefit||5.1|
|Partial Capacity Benefit||4.5|
|Guardian's Payment (Contributory)||4.2|
|Death Benefit Pension||0.2|
|Jobseeker's Benefit (Self-Employed)||10.1|
|Health and Safety Benefit||0.1|
|Maternity & Adoptive Benefit||5.2|
|Paternity & Parent's Benefit||0.6|
|Social Assistance Schemes|
|Blind Person's Pension||2.7|
|Widow/er's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Con) Pension||3.1|
|Deserted Wife's Allowance||0.2|
|One-Parent Family Payment||96.4|
|Half Rate Carer's Allowance||21.1|
|Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)||1.8|
|Jobseeker's Allowance Max Rate||301.4|
|Jobseeker's Allowance age 18 to 24||99.9|
|Employment Support Schemes (BTWA & BTEA)||30.5|
|Employment/Internship Schemes (CE, Tús, RSS etc.)||40.7|
|Supplementary Welfare Allowance||33.5|
In addition, the cost of increasing the Increase for a Qualified Child to €48.20 for children under 12 and €94.70 for children aged 12 and over is estimated to be €476.5 million.
While it is not possible at this time to provide an estimate of providing an increase for pensioners living in rural areas only, the estimated cost of an increase for all pensioners in receipt of the Living Alone Allowance is €430.5 million.
These costings are based on the estimated number of recipients in 2021 and are subject to change in light of emerging trends and subsequent revision of the estimated number of recipients.