The Department of Social Protection agreed to review the changes to the One Parent Family Payment (OFP) at Committee stage of the Social Welfare Bill 2016 on Thursday 17 November.
It is essential that review of the OFP reform be carried out urgently, as One Family has consistently called for. A cohesive report on the potential outcomes should have been conducted prior to implementation which could have avoided the negative impacts experienced by a large number of lone parents in part-time work.
Family Income Supplement (FIS) will also be reviewed; a new proposed Working Family Payment was included in the Programme for Government last May.
The analysis of the State’s child poverty rates is immediately necessary. One in nine (11%) children aged 0-17 live in consistent poverty (SILC 2014). Children living in one-parent family households are almost twice as likely to live in poverty than other children, with 23% of children in a one-parent family experiencing deprivation.
The Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) will also be reviewed. This is welcomed as the halving of this payment after one year, and suspension after two years, is clearly causing lone parents to be worse off in work. An improved longer term solution is needed.
(5) The Minister shall review the changes introduced to the One-Parent Family Payment in 2012 particularly in light of the report by Dr Millar and Dr Crosse on lone parents and activation and shall bring forward a report to the Committee on Social Protection on same within 3 months of this Bill being enacted.
(6) The Minister shall review the operation of the Family Income Supplement to see how it could be improved to encourage and facilitate people to re(enter) the workforce and shall bring forward a report to the Committee on Social Protection on same within 3 months of this Bill being enacted.
The first list of amendments can be found in full on this link.
(1)Report on One-Parent Family Payment changes. That an independent report shall be conducted on the financial and social effects of the changes to the One-Parent Family Payment since 2015, taking account inter alia of poverty rates among those in receipt of the payment and that the report shall be presented to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Social Welfare within six months of enactment of this Bill.
(2)That an analysis of the State’s child poverty rates is carried out annually and that an independent report shall be issued to the Minister and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection.
(3)Report on operation of Back to Work Family Dividend 14. That a report shall be issued to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection on the effects of the Back to Work Family Dividend to recipients and to include inter alia the poverty rates among those in receipt of this payment.
The second list of amendments can be found in full on this link.