Tuesday, 13 July 2021
Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
Social Welfare Benefits
468. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she will address a matter (details supplied) regarding child benefit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37857/21]
Child benefit is a monthly payment made to families with children in respect of all qualified children up to the age of 16 years. The payment continues to be paid in respect of children until their 18th birthday who are in full-time education, or who have a disability. Child benefit is currently paid, as of end-May 2021, to over 637,000 families in respect of over 1.2 million children with an estimated expenditure of more than €2 billion in 2020.
Families on low incomes may be able to avail of a number of social welfare schemes that support children in full-time education until the age of 22, including:
- Increase for a Qualified Child (IQCs) with primary social welfarepayments;
- the Working Family Payment for low-paid employees withchildren; and
- the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance.
These schemes provide targeted assistance that is directly linked to household income and thereby support low-income families with older children participating in full-time education.
As part of Budget 2021, I increased the rates for a qualified child aged under 12 by €2 to €38 per week, and for a qualified child aged 12 or older by €5 to €45 per week. These increases came into effect in January.
Extending Child Benefit in respect of full time students in second level education who are over 18 years of age would have significant cost implications and would have to be considered in an overall budgetary context.
469. To ask the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to address a matter (details supplied) regarding carer's allowance; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37876/21]
Carer's allowance (CA) is a means-tested social assistance payment made to a person who is habitually resident in the State and who is providing full-time care and attention to a child or an adult who has such a disability that as a result they require that level of care. The full-time care and attention requirement and the 18.5 hour limitation on employment are contained in the legislative provisions of the CA scheme.
Any Carer engaged in employment (training and education) must show that the person they are caring for has adequate care while they are working. Where a carer has commenced employment or increased the hours they are working, the onus is on them to notify the Department of the change in their circumstances.
Currently a weekly disregard of €332.50 for a single/legally separated person and €665 for a carer who is married, in a civil partnership or co-habiting is available to carers. This disregard applies to any means that a carer may have i.e. earnings, savings, property, etc. Any change to disregards can only be considered in a budgetary context.
In the individual case, the person concerned has been in receipt of CA in respect of her care recipient and since 17 January 2019. Her income was below the disregard and therefore no means were assessed. when the CA claim was awarded. She contacted the Department on 1 October 2020 to notify that she had commenced employment and a review of her claim was initiated.The outcome of this review was that her entitlement to CA remains unchanged and she has been notified in writing of this decision.
I hope this clarifies the position for the Deputy.