Dáil Éireann - Volume 500 - 09 February, 1999
Written Answers - Child Support.
Mr. Aylward Mr. Aylward
246. Mr. Aylward asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs if he will rectify the anomaly governing payment of child dependant allowance to persons in receipt of unemployment benefit in respect of a child who is over 18 years and still attending school, but where this  payment is made to persons in receipt of unemployment assistance and where the health board will not approve payment of supplementary welfare allowance. [3207/99]
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. 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. Where a claimant is in receipt of a long-term social welfare payment, child dependant allowances are 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. This applies to long-term payments only; it does not apply to short-term payments such as unemployment benefit, disability benefit, short-term unemployment assistance and supplementary welfare allowance. The more favourable treatment of people on long-term payments is in recognition of the fact that families with children on long-term payments face a higher risk of poverty.
The Deputy will be aware that 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-à-vis the employment status of the parents. Child benefit remains one of our more effective means of tackling poverty, and is of particular importance to families on low incomes. This policy direction has been continued in the 1999 budget through a full-year investment of over £40 million in the child benefit scheme. From September of this year, the rates of child benefit will be increased by £3 per child per month for the first two children and by £4 per child for the third and subsequent children, bringing the rates up to £34.50 and £46 respectively.
Dáil Éireann 500 Written Answers Child Support.