Dáil Éireann - Volume 514 - 16 February, 2000
Written Answers. - Social Welfare Code.
Mr. Yates Mr. Yates
170. Mr. Yates asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the proposals, if any, he has to raise the threshold for dependant allowance payments in the social welfare code from the present level of £60 per week in view of the introduction of the minimum wage; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the increase in the minimum wage for people such as home held assistants with health boards will push them over the threshold; if he will conduct an immediate review of this situation with a view to increasing the threshold so that families will not be worse off; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4573/00]
Mr. D. Ahern Mr. D. Ahern
Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): Regulations currently provide for the tapered withdrawal of the qualified adult allowance – QAA – for claimants of certain welfare payments where the spouse or  partner of the claimant is earning between £60 and £105 per week.
A range of further significant improvements to these tapering arrangements were announced in the recent budget. These changes will come into effect from April 2000 so as to coincide with the introduction of a national minimum wage. Most notably, these changes include: an adjustment in the income range over which the tapering arrangements apply from the current £60 to £105, to £70 to £135; an improvement in the withdrawal rate of the QAA; the deferral of the reduction of 50% in the level of child dependant allowances, which currently takes effect when the income of the spouse exceeds £60, until such income exceeds £135.
I am also providing for the extension of tapering arrangements to long-term welfare payments such as invalidity pension, retirement pension and old age (contributory) pension with effect from April 2000. In effect, this means that all relevant welfare schemes will now be covered by tapering arrangements.
Dáil Éireann 514 Written Answers. Social Welfare Code.