Dáil Éireann - Volume 490 - 29 April, 1998
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Benefits.
Mr. Stagg Mr. Stagg
31. Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he will extend the dependant allowance to cover full-time students, aged 19 or over, whose parents are in receipt of short-term social welfare payments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10099/98]
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern) Dermot Ahern
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): Child dependant allowances are payable in respect of all children up to the age of 18 years. The allowances continue to be payable where children are in full-time education up to the age of 22 years, or up to the end of the academic year after the 22nd birthday, provided that the claimant is in receipt of a long-term social welfare payment.
The more favourable treatment of people on long-term payments, such as pensions, is in recognition of the fact that families with children on long-term payments face a higher risk of poverty. These arrangements do not apply to short-term payments such as disability benefit, unemployment benefit, short-term unemployment assistance and supplementary welfare allowance.
The thrust of child income support policy in recent years has been to target resources towards providing increases in child benefit, as part of a strategy aimed at ensuring that child income support is more neutral vis-a -vis the employment status of the parents. Child benefit remains one of our more effective means of tackling poverty, as it channels resources directly to families most in need. It is of particular importance to families on low incomes.
In pursuance of this policy, the Social Welfare Act, 1998, provides the legislative basis for further enhancement of the child benefit scheme. Child benefit will be increased by £1.50 per child per month for the first two children and by £3 per child for the third and subsequent children, thus bringing the lower rate up to £31.50 and the higher rate up to £42. In addition a special supplementary payment in respect of twins will be introduced. These measures will take effect from next September.
Dáil Éireann 490 Written Answers. Social Welfare Benefits.