Issue 3 - May 2010

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Social welfare changes: lone parents, partial capacity scheme

The Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Eamon O Cuiv, told Terence Flanagan (FG, Dublin NE) that he would be introducing changes to the one-parent family payment system in the new, forthcoming Social welfare (miscellaneous provisions) Bill, 2010.  This would include arrangements that payments last until the youngest child reaches 13; a phasing out for existing customers to enable them to access education and training in advance of return to the workforce; and special provision for families where Domiciliary Care Allowance is paid for those recently bereaved with children over 13.  The changes would bring Ireland more into line with international practice where there was a move away from long-term, passive income support.  Those EU countries with the best outcomes in tackling child poverty combined strategies of income support with those aimed at facilitating access to employment and enabling services such as child care (Dail Eireann, Debates, 20th April 2010, 494-5, 502).

The Minister for Social and Family Affairs, Eamon O Cuiv, told Olwyn Enright (FG, Laois Offaly) that work was now under way in his department on a partial capacity scheme (Dail Eireann, Debates, 20th April 2010, 404-5).  The purpose of the scheme would be to facilitate participation in the workforce by those with a partial disability.  He hoped to get details out in the very near future for an open discussion.  Although he did not wish to rush headlong into it, he also did not wish to delay indefinitely.