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One parent family changes

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, gave details to Michael Colreavy (SF, Sligo – N Leitrim) of the financial consequences of the changes to One-parent Family Payment (OPF) introduced on 4th July (Dail Eireann, Debates, 9th July 2013, 129-130).  It was expected that 9,300 would leave the OPF scheme, of whom 8,000 would lose entitlement now and the reform was expected to yield savings of €3.94m in 2013.  The cost of OPF was €1,060m in 2012 and was expected to fall to €935m in 2013.  Most who lost their entitlement were expected to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JA) where there were transitional arrangements in place for one-parent families.  She outlined the savings in the OPF programme over the 2011, 2012 and 2013 budgets as follows:


2011 Payment reductions of €8 to €188                        €38.56m

2012 Reduction in age, earnings disregard, transitional payment              €15.3m

2013 Continued implementation of 2012 reforms             €36.97m


In the Seanad, Darragh O’Brien (FF, labour) demanded that the Minister for Social Protection come to the house to explain why she considered it equitable and fair that €50 a week was being taken from 3,000 lone parents (Seanad Eireann, Debates, 19th July 2013, 504).  This was a substantial reduction in weekly income for the households concerned.  The government had sought to get this through the gap as the Dail was rising so that the minister would not have to answer for it.