A raft of targeted payment increases and improvements introduced in Budget 2020 will come into effect this week, Cork North West Fine Gael General Election candidate Councillor John Paul O’Shea has said.
Budget 2020 included €171.2 million in additional social welfare expenditure, bringing the total social welfare spend to €21.2 billion for the year.
The payment increases and changes include:
- €5 increase in the Living Alone Allowance, from €9 to €14 per week, paid to pensioners and people with disabilities who are living alone – over 200,000 to benefit
- Weekly Fuel Allowance to increase by €2 to €24.50 per week – over 370,000 households to benefit
- €3 increase for qualified child dependants aged 12 and over in all weekly payments
- €2 increase for qualified child dependants up to age 12 in all weekly payments
- Working Family Payment thresholds increase by €10 per week for families with 1, 2 or 3 children. Some 55,000 families are expected to benefit, at a cost of €19 million
- Earnings disregard for working lone parents receiving One-Parent Family Payment or Jobseeker’s Transition Payment to increase by €15 to €165 per week- 16,900 families to benefit
- Jobseekers aged 25 years to receive full rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Jobseekers under age 25 if living independently and in receipt of State supports (e.g. Rent Supplement, RAS, HAP) to receive the full rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance
- This week, the number of hours that carers can work or study outside the home has increased from 15 to 18 ½ per week
- Additionally, the National Minimum Wage is set to increase to €10.10 from 1 February 2020.
Cllr. O’Shea said this week: “The increases which we saw announced in Budget 2020 are being introduced specifically to target those most in need in our society. Along with my colleague, the Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD, I am particularly pleased that resources have been focused towards vulnerable children and older people.
“Budget 2020 was about ensuring that we used the resources available to effect the best possible changes for society. I hope these changes will improve the position of as many families and vulnerable people as possible.”