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Planned Income Disregard Cuts Will Not Be Implemented

Press Release

Small Step to Make Work Pay:

One-Parent Family Payment and Income Disregard

(Dublin, Wednesday 5 November 2014) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – welcomes Tánaiste Joan Burton’s announcement that she will retain the level of the income disregard at €90 for those parents in work and in receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP), responding positively to One Family’s vociferous calls for its retention following a series of cuts impacting lone parents on social welfare in Budget 2012.

Stuart Duffin, One Family Director of Policy & Programmes, states: “This is a modest investment in poor working parents, helping to make work pay and helping to reduce child poverty. This responsive action by the Tánaiste recognises that many families require two salaries to meet expensive childcare and accommodation costs, something which a family on one income finds extremely difficult to do.”

He continues, “This small step can have a big impact as it will allow parents to stay in part-time work thus keeping their connection with the labour market and making it more likely that s/he will be able to progress to full-time employment when family life permits. We have seen parents have to leave part-time work since the income disregard was cut as work just didn’t pay for them anymore. Keeping the income disregard at this modest level will assist government policy of activating OFP recipients into the labour market.”

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO explains, “Prior to Budget 2012, 60% of those on the OFP were in work and today that has halved to around 33%. This is a reality which One Family does not want to see perpetuated. To maintain the income disregard at the €90 level will cost €8.3m in 2015 and approximately €15m in 2016 which is a small sum given what has been cut from individual one-parent families’ incomes over the past few years.

She continues, “Income disregards offer an immediate incentive and instant return for parents. However, this is just the first step in economic and social policy working together. More needs to be done to deliver high quality employment, affordable part-time education and appropriate training for those parenting alone so they can move out of consistent poverty. We look forward to working with the Department and the Tánaiste to ensure that the 39,000 parents coming off the OFP in July 2015 have access to quality information, advice, supports and opportunities tailored to their needs so that government policy will be a success instead of a failure.”

Note on Income Disregard

Parents can work and receive the One-Parent Family Payment. The amount of this payment depends on their weekly means. Currently the first €90 of parents gross weekly earnings is not taken into account (or disregarded). This means that parents can earn up to €90 per week and qualify for the full One-Parent Family Payment. Half the remainder of a parent’s gross earnings up to €425 per week is assessed as means. If parents  earn between €90 and €425 per week they may qualify for a reduced payment. SW 19 Social Welfare Rates of Payment booklet shows the amount of OPF payable with a parent’s means. Social insurance contributions, superannuation/PRSA contributions and trade union subscriptions are not taken into account in the assessment of earnings. However, gross earnings must be below €425 before any deductions are allowed.


About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services. These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 62 22 12, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day and presents the Family Day Festival every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today ( For further information, visit

Available for Interview

Stuart Duffin, Director of Policy and Programmes | t: 01 662 9212 or 087 0622023

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191




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

Has your One Parent Family payment ended?

Some people will no longer qualify for the One Parent Family Payment (OFP) from 4 July 2013. If you are getting no other payment you may qualify for other income supports. A Jobseeker’s Allowance transition payment is available, which aims to support lone parents with children under 14 years of age back into the workforce. You need to make a new claim for these payments.

If you are working and are already getting a Family Income Supplement (FIS) your FIS payment will automatically increase when your OFP ends. This will partially make up for the loss of the OFP.

If you are unsure of what you can access and are struggling financially, please call our askonefamily Lo-call Helpline on 1890 662 212 or email us.


1.    Q. My payment is due to end in July as my youngest child is 18, can I avail of the Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition scheme?

A:  No, the Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition scheme will only apply to those whose youngest child is under 14 so if you are applying for Jobseeker’s Allowance you will be subject to the full conditionality of being available for and genuinely seeking full time work.

2.    Q. My payment is due to end in July and my youngest child is 11.  I am working 5 mornings a week from 10 to 12 noon, can I apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition?

A:  Yes, because your child is under 14 you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance – Transition and although you are employed for 5 days in the week you are still eligible for this payment, subject to the means test.

3.   Q. I started receiving OPF in November 2011. My child is 14 now and my payment is going to end as the age conditions changes from 14 to 12 in July.  What payment am I eligible for as I am job seeking already?

A: As your child is already 14 then you can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance and you will need to meet the full conditionality of the payment of being available for and genuinely seeking full time work.





Briefing doc from DSP on final changes to OPF payment

Here is the Briefing document on Changes to OFP  from DSP on the (final) changes to the One Parent Family payment following the budget. If you’ve any questions feel free to contact askonefamily helpline 1890622122. Several additional points that came up in the discussion were:

  • OPFP recipients who move on to the back to education scheme would not return to OPFP as new claimants but retain their original relation to the phasing in of the age reduction.
  • The non-cohabitation rule will not apply to new OPFP recipients who move on to a CE scheme, because with the loss of double payments the criteria applicable to them will be only those of the CE scheme. This is only for NEW applicants, those who are currently on CE scheme and in receipt of double payment (their OPFP) would need to meet the non-cohabitation rule.
  • The loss of the double qualified child increase for those OPFP recipients on CE will have this change automatically applied to their payment and will not need to contact Social Welfare.
  • OPFP recipients who move on to CE scheme will not lose their fuel allowance.
  • And finally, in relation to the phasing in of the new eligibility criterion, the date that the payment is cut is the child’s birthday and not the beginning  of the year. So for example, if the cut-off is 7 years of age, and the child enters the year at the age of six, they will retain eligibility until they turn 7.

Press Release | Urgent Reversals Required Before Drastic Cuts Foisted on Ireland’s Poorest Families

Media Release, 8 December 2011


Urgent reversals required before drastic cuts foisted on Ireland’s poorest families

One Family, the leading national organisation for one-parent families, is extremely concerned at the cuts targeted at one-parent families in Budget 2012. Our thousands of members, clients and supporters are also very concerned and our national helpline has been inundated with calls from worried and angry parents.

We are instigating a national campaign to reverse these targeted cuts at Ireland’s poorest families and we call on supporters from all over Ireland and from every political background to support us. Legislation to pass Budget 2012 is going through the Dail on Friday (tomorrow) so there is a great urgency in this campaign. We have already contacted all Ministers and TDs.

The immediate impact of Budget 2012 on one-parent families is:

  • An additional €6 per week to be paid by parents towards rent supplement
  • A loss of €120 per year towards fuel costs
  • A loss of €50 per primary school age child and €55 for secondary school age child in Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance cuts
  • An increase in VAT, fuel costs, school transport costs as well as school capitation grants
  • The loss of €29.80 per child per week because of the cut in the two qualified child increases where the parent is on a Community Employment Scheme and One Parent Family Payment
  • New CE scheme applicants will no longer able to retain the One Parent Family Payment and their salary from their participation in the CE scheme
  • For the minority of one-parent families with three or more children, a loss of €228 per year for a family with 3 children and €432 for those with 4 children.

The activation measures announced in Budget 2012 have been designed to cut costs to the exchequer rather than support lone parents into sustainable employment and they will not work. Some cuts will actually disconnect lone parents from the labour market in direct contradiction of government policy. They will increase rather than alleviate high levels of child and family poverty for the following reasons:

  • We are in a recession and there are no jobs
  • There are no specialist supports to help lone parents engage with education, training and the labour market
  • The level of money in the Community Childcare Subvention scheme has been cut and there will be a €25 weekly contribution to costs from FÁS and VEC trainees for Childcare Education and Training Support
  • There is poor provision of after school care in Ireland
  • There is poor childcare provision in parts of the country
  • There is very little part-time or modular education
  • Budget 2012 has cut family supports through the Family Resource Centre programme and the Family Mediation Service at a time when more families are separating
  • Slashing the income disregard will result in increased poverty levels and a disconnection from the labour market
  • Education levels of many lone parents are low and they will require long term interventions to help them progress to degree level
  • Disincentivising Community Employment as a means of gaining training, accreditation, work experience and a salary will increase a disconnection from the labour market.

We demand the following changes to Budget 2012:

  • Devise an additional payment for the poorest children in Ireland to compensate for all the cuts to family income
  • Reverse the decision to disallow the payment of partial One Parent Family Payment to those on Community Employment
  • Maintain the income disregard at current levels for the foreseeable future at €146.50 per week
  • Develop appropriate supports and services in partnership with the voluntary sector to progress lone parents into sustainable employment and pause the lowering of the age limit for OFP eligibility until this is achieved
  • Prioritise the case management of lone parents in the new National Employment and Entitlements Service and ensure all supports for those on the live register are available to OFP recipients.

Here is the context in which one-parent families in Ireland live:

  • 65% of the country’s poorest children live in one-parent families
  • You are four times more likely to live in consistent poverty in a one-parent family than other families (SILC, 2010)
  • Those parenting alone were the most negatively affected by the previous budget, losing almost 5% of their annual income. This compared with just a 1.3% fall for high income married couples (TASC, 2011)
  • One-parent families were poor in the Celtic Tiger and remain so now
  • Low education levels (ESRI, Persistent at Risk of Poverty in Ireland 2011 and Growing-Up in Ireland 2011).

For more information contact:

Hilary Fennell, Communications Manager 01 6629212/087 2359515

Stuart Duffin, Welfare to Work Manager 01 6629212/087 0622023

Karen Kiernan, Director 01 6629212/086 8509191

Reforms for Lone Parents – less or even more poverty for one-parent families?

One Family welcomes the new Minister for Social Protection Minister Éamon Ó Cuív T.D’s efforts to improve the economic situation and social wellbeing of people in one-parent families. However they remain gravely concerned as to the whether the reforms of the One-Parent Family Payment as recently announced will result in improved outcomes for lone parents and their children.

Candy Murphy, One Family Policy & Research Manager said “Given current and projected very high levels of unemployment which are putting extreme pressure on our education and training systems coupled with the serious inadequacies in our childcare system, especially after-school care, we believe that the proposed changes will mostly result in the movement of lone parents from one welfare support to another.”

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