Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced that legislation has been enacted to disregard child maintenance payments from the means test for social welfare payments and to provide for the extension of Child Benefit to 18-year-olds from May 1st.

The Social Welfare and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2023 which was enacted this week gives effect to significant reforms for lone parents, including the exclusion of maintenance payments from social welfare means tests for the first time.

two person step on gray soil
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • Print
  • linkedin
  • Buffer
  • Gmail

This means that many lone parents on reduced rates of payment will see their payment increase and others will qualify for a payment.

It is estimated that this measure will benefit over 16,000 lone parents and will cost approximately €10 million per year.

a woman and a child walking on a beach
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • Print
  • linkedin
  • Buffer
  • Gmail

Minister Humphreys said:

This legislation represents a landmark reform of the child maintenance system in Ireland.

Under the reforms, Child Maintenance payments will be excluded from the Social Welfare means test for the first time. It is estimated that this measure will be of direct benefit to some 16,000 lone parents and will play a significant role in reducing child poverty.

 

When I worked in the Credit Union, I saw that some weeks, the child maintenance was paid, other weeks it was missed. And the person that suffers most in that situation is the child.

And I don’t want to see that happen. So this legislation will make a positive difference to so many different families.

In relation to Child Benefit, the legislation provides that from May 1st, Child Benefit will be paid in respect of anyone who is 18 and in full-time education, or who has a disability, up until their 19th birthday. The measure will benefit around 60,000 children annually.

The Minister has today emphasised that for any family that is currently out of payment – but their child is 18 and in full education or has a disability – their payment will be reinstated.

In the coming weeks, the Department will begin communicating directly with families that will benefit from this measure.

 

girl in pink sweater beside girl in gray sweater
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • Print
  • linkedin
  • Buffer
  • Gmail

Minister Humphreys continued:

Child Benefit is a vital support for so many families and this extension will benefit thousands of families right across the country, who up until now saw their Child Benefit cease as soon as their child turned 18.

I want to make it clear – this measure applies in respect of all 18 Year Olds who are still in Full-Time Education in May 2024.

For example, parents of children who recently turned 18 in February will be paid again from May 2024 up to their 19th birthday, once their child is in full-time education.

So if you are out of payment and your child is 18 and still in full-time education, your payment will be reinstated by the Department. We expect that some 60,000 children will benefit annually as a result of the changes that have now been passed in the Dáil.

two childrens reading book while sitting on brown sofa
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • Print
  • linkedin
  • Buffer
  • Gmail

Welcoming the announcement, Minister Rabbitte said:

Social protection and social welfare play crucial roles in fostering a just and equitable society.

These systems are designed to provide a safety net that safeguards individuals and communities from various social and economic risks.

One of the primary benefits is poverty reduction, as social protection programs often include financial assistance, healthcare, and educational support for vulnerable populations.

By ensuring a basic standard of living, these initiatives contribute to social cohesion and stability.

Social protection is an essential component of a compassionate and resilient society.

By prioritising the well-being of our citizens, our nation can build a foundation for sustainable development, equality, and social harmony.

Translate »