SOCIAL WELFARE 2012
• The Basic Social Welfare rates from January 2012 are:
• Child Benefit is paid for all children (e140 month for the first two, e148 for the third, e160 others) up to their 16th birthday, or 18th birthday if in full-time education or with a disability. A single rate of e140 will apply from 2013 onwards.
• Qualified Child Payment of e29.80 is paid to persons on Social Welfare up to the end of the academic year in which the child reaches 18. A person on social welfare for over 26 weeks can claim up to 22nd birthday if in full-time education. Full rate QCP will be paid if your spouse is working and earning no more than e400.
• A Back-to-School payment of e150 for primary pupils from age 4, e250 for secondary pupils and an equal payment for a Communion or Confirmation payable to persons on Social Welfare whose weekly income is not more than e150 over the weekly contributory pension rate.
• Family Income Supplement: A couple or a single parent on low pay, who work for at least 19 hours per week combined (including job-sharers) can get a supplement for their children (including those 18-22 in full-time education). The payment is calculated at 60c for each E1 by which your take home pay (i.e. net of tax, PRSI levies and superannuation) falls below the following income:
– €506.00 for a family with one child, plus
– €96 for second, €101 for third, €121 for fourth, and €126 (approx) for each other child.
If you qualify, the payment will last at least 52 weeks it will be of a minimum e20 per week and also entitles you to a back-to-school payment from the HSE, the smokeless fuel allowance, and will not affect your eligibility for a medical card.
A person on One Parent Family Allowance may apply but FIS will be treated as income in your means test.
• A widow(er) with children receives a once off e6,000 in the year of bereavement, in addition the standard Bereavement Grant of e850 is payable. From Jan 2012 widows and OPFA can no longer claim half rate unemployment or illness along
with their payment.
• The Dept of Social Protection pays Domiciliary Care Allowance e309.50 per month and an annual respite grant of e1,700 up to their 18th birthday for children with a disability who require considerable extra care. This increase from 16 to 18 is suspended while a review is undertaken. A payment of e35 per week is payable to a resident in institutional settings who does not have Disability Allowance.
• Free Pre School for one year is available to any child aged between 3 years and 3 months and 4 years and 6 months on 1st September covering either:
• Playschool for 3 hours daily for 38 weeks, or
• Childcare for 2 hours 15 minutes daily for 50 weeks.
A pre-school cannot charge parents extra for the hours covered by the scheme, but can charge for extra hours or for additional activities as long as these are optional.
• Fuel Scheme: A Fuel allowance of e20 / week is payable for 26 weeks if you are on long-term Social Welfare with no more than e100 per week in household income over the contributory pension rate. However, to qualify, you must be living alone, or only with dependants or another person on long-term social welfare or the JSA. The current season will end on 6th April 2012.
• Supplementary Welfare: The Community Welfare Officer in the HSE may help out with the following:
• A weekly payment if you are sick or unemployed and have not received Social Welfare.
• A supplement towards the assigned cost of a special diet (about e70) less one third (one sixth in the case of a couple) of the applicant’s current income. Exceptional heating supplement can be paid in serious medical circumstances.
• A once-off payment for unforeseen needs such as a funeral, fares to visit or attend hospital, a robbery, fire or flood; or for unaffordable essential needs such as: furniture or kitchen equipment when setting up home; needs associated with pregnancy and a new baby; clothing or replacing essential equipment for older people on low income or in poor health.
• Help if the repayment schedule sought by the ESB/Gas to sort out a serious arrear causes excessive hardship.
In assessing eligibility, the CWO takes into account all income coming into the house including part-time earnings of a spouse and income of other adults. Full-time students and persons working over 30 hours are not generally eligible. New guidelines will apply stricter rules in 2012. Decisions can be appealed to the HSE, Bridgecourt Office Park, Walkinstown (Tel: 4609300).
• Treatment Benefit now only covers free dental, optical examinations and Medical and Surgical Appliances (including hearing aids, max e500 per aid once every 4 years) scheme for the insured worker and their spouse.
• Free Schemes: If you are 66 or over or permanently incapacitated, and living alone except for dependants, a spouse on Social Welfare, another pensioner, or someone giving you full-time care, you can receive the following concessions along with your Irish or British Social Welfare Pension:
ESB Standing charge plus 1,800 units per year worth e430 per year,
Natural Gas worth e21 / month (June – Nov) and e44.50 / month (Dec – May) (You can carry up to e150 credit from one bill to the next.)
• Free colour television licence; and
• Telephone Allowance of e267 / year (which can be used for mobile phones).
Pensioners who don’t have a Social Welfare pension can qualify at age 66 on the same terms provided their means don’t exceed the Contributory OAP rate by more than e100.
If you are aged 70 or over, you can qualify for all of these free schemes regardless of your income or its source and regardless of who lives with you and you can now get telephone allowance while residing in a nursing home. If you are widowed and aged 60 or over, you can retain the free schemes and free travel if your late spouse had them, and you satisfy the other conditions.
• In Social Welfare means tests for pensioners the first e20,000 (each) of savings are disregarded, the next successive e10,000 (each) slices are valued at e1/week and e2/week per e1,000 respectively and the balance at e4/week per e1,000.
• Part-Time Working
• A person on Jobseeker’s Benefit loses one fifth of your payment for each day you work. A person onJobseeker’s Allowance will have 60% of your daily earnings over e20 deducted from the total weekly payment. In both cases, you get no payment if you work more than 3 days. Earnings on a Sunday will also be counted from 2013.
• A Lone Parent can earn e130 per week (after Pension Contributions and PRSI) without affecting their entitlement to One Parent Family Payment. Between e130 and e425 payment is reduced by 50c for each euro of earnings. Up to e95.23 of Maintenance is disregarded where there are housing payments to be met, thereafter half of the payment is assessed. One Parent Family Payment ceases when the youngest child reaches 12.
• Jobseeker’s Allowance is cut to e150 if a job offer or activation measure is refused.
• A person claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance whose spouse is working will be paid the rate for a claimant and an adult dependent less 60% of their spouse’s earnings (after deduction of pension contribution, PRSI and union subscriptions) in excess of E60 per week.
• A single person under 25 living at home who has left school can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, but will be assessed with 34% of their parents’ disposable income (after deduction of tax, PRSI, superannuation, mortgage/rent, Health Insurance, Union Fees and e600 couple (e470 single parent) and e30 per child). Once you qualify for any payment, a minimum e40.00 per week is paid.
• Payment to new claimants under 25 of Jobseeker’s Allowance is capped at e100 if you are under 22, e144 if aged 22-24, unless you are in training, on Back to Education Allowance or coming off Job Seeker’s Benefit.