askonefamily | Budget 2016 Social Welfare Changes

askonefamily_200px Logo_Small_LRWe have summarised some of the main changes from Budget 2016 (presented on 13 October 2015) which may affect one-parent families. If you or anyone you know would like information regarding your individual circumstances, askonefamily is available on 1890 66 22 12 / 01 662 9212 or by email here.

Budget 2016 | Social Welfare Changes

  • No change to the main social welfare payment rates, which include One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition and Jobseeker’s Allowance, so it remains at €188 a week for the adult and €29.80 per week, per child.
  • The earnings disregard of €90 a week, which applies to One-Parent Family Payment, will now also apply to Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition. Earnings over €90 will be assessed at 50% rather than the previous 60%. This will apply from January 2016.
  • Fuel Allowance will increase from 1st January 2016 to €22.50 a week, up from €20.
  • Family Income Supplement net income thresholds will increase between €5 and €10 a week, also from January 2016:
Family size 2015 rates 2016 rates
1 child €506 €511
2 children €602 €612
3 children €703 €713
4 children €824 €834
5 children €950 €960
  • Child Benefit will increase by €5 a month, from January 2016
  • The Christmas bonus will be paid in December 2015 to long-term social welfare recipients at a rate of 75% of their payment; this includes those on One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance transition, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Allowance, Widow/Widower’s/Surviving Civil Partner’s Pensions.
  • It will also be paid to those on Back to Work Allowance, Community Employment, Rural Social Scheme, Tús, Gateway and Jobs Initiative.
  • There will be 2 week Paternity Benefit, in respect of births from September 2016.
  • Those on Carer’s Allowance who have been in receipt of the Respite Care Grant will receive an increase in the payment, to €1,700 and it will be called the Carer’s Support Grant.

The information above can be downloaded here.

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askonefamily Budget 2015 Changes Summarised

There was little change in the Budget to address the needs of one-parent and shared parenting families in Ireland. However, the main rates of social welfare payments went unchanged and there was a small increase in Child Benefit rates for 2015. A small bonus for Christmas for recipients of many social welfare payments was also among the Budget 2015 announcements made today. askonefamily, our information service, summarises the key changes relevant to one-parent families below.

Summary of Relevant Budget 2015 Changes

Main social welfare payments rates (including One Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance Transition, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and others)

  • The rates of weekly payment will remain the same in 2015

Child Benefit

  • Increase of €5 per month, per child, from January 2015 to €135 a month, per child.

Back to School Clothing and Footwear

  • This payment is maintained in 2015

NEW***Christmas Bonus

  • Recipients of long term social welfare payments will receive a bonus payment of 25% of weekly payment this December 2014. This includes recipients of One Parent Family Payment, Carer’s Allowance, Disability Allowance, long-term Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition, Community Employment, Back to Work Allowance, Widow/Widower’s pension, Job Initiative and some others

NEW***Back to Work Family Dividend

  • For one-parent families and long term jobseeker families with children who find or return to work, they will be able to retain the Qualified Child Increase of €29.80 per child, per week, for 12 months and then 50% of the rate for a second year. This applies to employment and self-employment.  This Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) will be in addition to eligibility for Family Income Supplement (FIS) and will not affect the level of FIS payment.
  •  In order to be eligible for the BTWFD then a person must be coming off their main social welfare payment (One-Parent Family Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition), in full and going into employment or self-employment.   A person who is already in employment and in receipt of One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) and who then increases their hours of employment to the point that they are no longer eligible for OFP because their earnings from work are in excess of €425 a week (gross) or who is no longer entitled to an OFP payment because of the age of their youngest child may then qualify for the BTWFD.  Applications will be open in January 2015.

NEW***Water Subsidy

  • For those in receipt of Fuel Allowance then an additional €100 a year will be paid as support towards water services. The Water Support payment will be paid at a rate of €25, four times a year for a total yearly payment of €100.  First payments will be issuing by the end of March 2015. If you have been awarded the Fuel Allowance then you will automatically receive the Water Support payment.


  • No increase in taxes on petrol or diesel or Motor tax

Income tax

  • Increase in the standard rate tax band for a single people from €32,800 to €33,800
  • Higher tax rate reduced from 41% to 40%

Universal Social Charge (USC)

  • The Universal Social Charge rates have been reduced; the 2% rate drops to 1.5% and the 4% rate drops to 3.5%
  • Entry point for paying USC going up from just over €10,000 to just over €12,000 in 2015


If you would like further clarification on any of Budget changes, contact askonefamily on 1890 66 22 12 or by email.

Update on the Single Person Child Carer Credit

Many worried parents are calling our askonefamily lo-call helpline regarding the Single Person Child Carer Credit which has replaced the One-Parent Family Credit from 1st January 2014. The Single Person Child Carer Credit (SPCCC) is different from the One-Parent Family Credit (OPFC) as now it is only available to one parent – the parent with whom the child lives for a majority of the year – whereas previously both parents could each claim the credit for their child.

Revenue refer to the Primary Claimant and the Secondary Claimant; the first being the parent with whom the child lives for either the full year or most of the year and the second being the parent with whom the child spends time and resides for at least 100 days in the year.

The qualifying conditions are:

  • That your child is either born in the tax year, is aged under 18 at the start of the tax year or over 18 but in full time education.
  • As the claimant you must not be cohabiting or be jointly assessed for tax (either as married or civilly partnered) or be married or civilly partnered (unless separated) or widowed or a surviving civil partner in the year for which you are making the claim.

Who can claim?

  • If the parent with whom the child lives most of the time (primary claimant) does not avail of the SPCCC then it can be relinquished by completing the form SPCCC1. This then means the other parent (secondary claimant) can claim it by completing form SPCCC2, as long as they satisfy the criteria, in that the child must live with them for at least 100 days in the year.
  • In instances where the court has awarded joint custody then the parent who receives the Child Benefit will receive the SPCCC.  If they are not in employment, or they choose to do so, then it can be relinquished and the other parent can claim it instead, as the secondary claimant.

In the event of the primary claimant relinquishing the tax credit and the secondary claimant applying for and being allocated it, then it remains with this person for the full tax year.  If the primary claimant then applies for it during the year (if they go into employment) then it will remain with the secondary claimant for the rest of that year but it will then be allocated to the primary claimant for the following tax year.

The Revenue website has a list of Frequently Asked Questions which may help you determine who may qualify for the SPCCC for your family, as well as links to the relevant forms which can be downloaded; click here for more information.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact our askonefamily lo-call helpline on 1890 66 22 12 or by email.

The impact of these changes is likely to be initially most strongly experienced by parents as we reach the end of January as, for many, the first monthly salary of 2014 will be processed at that time. One Family will continue to advocate on this issue. To read our recent press releases concerning it, please click on the clicks below:

Government has hindered not helped One-Parent Families in 2013

Shared Parenting Penalised by Government as Flexibilities Problematic on One Parent Family Tax Credit

Attack on Parents Sharing Parenting After Separation is Unjust, Unfair and Underhand

More attacks on working mothers and shared parenting; Budget 2014 is anti-family and anti-parent




CETS Programme to be expanded to include CE Participants

One Family has advocated for the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) Programme to be expanded to include CE Participants as the lack of access to affordable childcare is a barrier to participation for parents with young children, particularly lone parents. We are pleased to have received notification that it is being expanded from 1 January 2014 to include CE Participants.

Access to the CETS Programme for CE participants will mean participants can access childcare for the first time in the same way as participants pursuing FAS/VEC training courses.

An Information Leaflet for individuals wishing to avail of this scheme can be read/downloaded here: CETS Leaflet.

The Afterschool Childcare Scheme will also remain available in 2014.  The Department has told us that it “is currently reviewing the criteria for this scheme based on the experience of the pilot with a view to ensuring that the scheme provides support at the most valuable point in time for our customers.”  We will issue any updates as received.

One-Parent Family Payment Income Disregard Change

Later this week, the Department of Social Protection will be issuing letters to affected One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) recipients informing them that, from 1 January 2014, the OFP scheme’s income disregard will be reduced from its current amount of €110 per week to €90 per week for the duration of 2014.

In Budget 2012, it was announced that there would be a gradual reduction in the amount of earnings from employment that would be ignored (disregarded) when calculating the rate of OFP paid and that this change would come in over a number of years.

In 2012 the amount ignored was €130; in 2013 it is €110; in 2014 it will be €90; and it will decrease further to €75 in 2015 and €60 in 2016.

From 1 January 2014, you can have earnings of €90 without it affecting the rate of payment of OFP and so if your earnings are greater than €90 per week, then your rate of OFP will be changed to take this new rate into account.

It is important to note that if there has been any change in your circumstances which may affect your entitlement to One-Parent Family Payment, including a change in your weekly earnings, then you should notify your local social welfare office so that a review of your entitlement can be carried out, and if you have moved recently and not informed them of your new address yet, it is important to do so.

How might this change affect you? We have included a Q&A below based on commonly occurring situations.

askonefamily Questions:

Q. I have a letter to say that my One-Parent Family Payment will change in 2014 because I am working and earning €150 a week. Do I have to do anything?

A. No, the adjustment to your rate of payment will happen automatically; however if there are any changes in your circumstance such as a change of income then you should contact your local social welfare office to let them know of this.

Q. I earn €110 a week at the moment and still get the full payment for myself and my daughter. Does this change mean I will lose some of my payment next year?

A. Yes, the reduction from €110 to €90 means that you will now be means-tested as having €10 a week. You are only means tested on half of the difference, so for your earnings of €110 as the disregard will be €90 this leave €20 in the difference and you will then be means tested on half of this, which is €10 per week. This will mean a small reduction in your One Parent Family Payment. If your earnings from work are your only additional income you would expect to see a reduction in payment of €2.50 a week.

Q. I am working part time and earning €120 a week. Up until now this has been my only income apart from One-Parent Family Payment but my son’s Dad has got a job and is now going to be paying maintenance of €30 a week.  What should I do?

A. As your income will increase once you start receiving maintenance because this is a change in your circumstances, you will need to let your local social welfare office know.  Up to the first €95.23 of maintenance maybe disregarded if you have rent or housing costs. 

If you would like any additional information about how your circumstances may be affected, please call our askonefamily national helpline on lo-call 1890 662 212 or email

Updates following Budget 2014

One Family has summarised the announcements of Budget 2014 in relation to a number of areas of relevance to people parenting alone or sharing parenting.

Budget 2014

People parenting alone and sharing parenting

Changes to Social Welfare payments for 2014

Basic rate of payment The weekly rate of payment is staying the same in 2014 for all weekly social welfare payments for those of working age and pensioners. No change.
One Parent Family Payment There will be no change to the rate of payment in 2014.

For those in employment the new rate of income disregard of €90 a week will be introduced in 2014, reduced from €110 in 2013. This means that the first €90 of earnings will be ignored and half of the remainder of earnings will be assessed to give a new rate of One Parent Family Payment.

No change.


Income Disregard reduced.

Child Benefit The rate remains at €130 and this will be for each child, as announced in December 2012. No change.
Maternity Benefit The rate of payment will be standardised at €230 for new claimants; this is a change from a maximum payment of €262 and a minimum of €217.80. The change will come into effect from January 2014. Payment standardised.
Fuel Allowance Rate of payment will remain and there is no reduction in the number of weeks. No change.

Secondary Payments

Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance Unchanged for all children under 18. In 2014 it will be paid for those aged 18 and over in secondary school but not for those in third level education. No longer payable to children in third level education.
Fuel Allowance It will remain at €20 a week for the 26 weeks. No change.
Rent Supplement No changes announced for single people with children but an increase in contribution for couples, from €35 to €40 weekly. No change for single people with children.
Mortgage Interest Supplement This scheme will be closed to new entrants and will be wound down over a four year period from January 2014 for existing recipients. Closed to new entrants and winding down.

One Parent Families in Work

Family Income Supplement Household income thresholds remain at 2013 levels. No change.
Income Tax, PRSI and Universal Social Charge Unchanged in 2014. No change.
One Parent Family Tax Credit This is being replaced by a Single Person’s Child Carer tax credit of the same value – €1,650 – only available to the principal carer. This tax credit of €1,650 was previously available to both working parents sharing parenting. Now only one parent – the principal carer – can avail of it.

One Family is actively clarifying a number of questions and concerns this change raises and will update in more detail as soon as possible.


GP Visits Free GP care for children aged 5 and under announced. Free GP care for children aged 5 and under announced.
Medical Card Prescription charges increase from €1.50 to €2.50 for medical card holders. Prescription charge increased to €2.50.
Third Level Students The student contribution charge for third-level institutions will increase by €250 to €2,750 – increases by €250 until it reaches €3,000 in 2015. Increased.
Primary School Books A further €5m to be allocated to extend the books-to-rent in primary schools. Increased.






















Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance 2013

Most schools around the country will re-open within the next fortnight after the summer holidays. It’s an exciting time for both children and their parents, though it can be heart rending too especially if you have a child starting primary or secondary school.

There’s a lot of expense associated with children returning to school. The Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance is designed to help families with the cost of uniforms and shoes for school-going children. The scheme opened on 1 June and the final date for applications is 30 September 2013. Currently the processing time of claims is three weeks.

Many receive an automatic payment and do not have to apply, i.e. if you received the allowance  last year and your circumstances have not changed you should have received a letter stating when and how your allowance will be paid this year. Automatic payments were issued from the week starting 15 July.

Eligibility criteria to apply includes that applicants must be in receipt of certain social welfare payments or participating in training, employment or education schemes (view the list here). Your child or children must be aged between 4 and 22 on or before 30 September in the current year. If aged between 18-22, the child/ren must be in full-time education.

Your total weekly household income – which includes wages (before tax, excluding PRSI and standard travel allowance of €20 per week), maintenance, savings, investments, main social welfare or Health Service Executive payment and income of any dependent children on a Youthreach Programme – must be less than the amounts below.

Lone parent with             Income limit
1 child €410.10
2 children €439.90
3 children €469.70
4 children €499.50*

*The income limit is increased by €29.80 for each additional child.

The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 4-11 on or before 30 September 2013 is €100. The allowance paid for each eligible child aged 12-22 on or before 30 September 2013 is €200.

Application Forms for the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance can be obtained:

  • At your local social welfare office
  • By texting ‘Form BTSCFA’ with your name and address to 51909
  • And on

Completed forms should be sent to the Department of Social Protection, PO Box 131, Letterkenny, County Donegal. Enquiries can be made to Locall 1890 66 22 44.

For detailed information on the allowance and eligibility criteria, please click here.