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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.