THE IMF’S LATEST review of Ireland’s bailout programme has pointed to savings that could be made in the forthcoming budget in the area of child benefit.
Specifically, the International Monetary Fund has said that there could be “better targeting” of child benefit in Ireland with the principal of it being universal being scrapped in favour of means-testing where the benefit is paid on the basis of family income.
Presently, child benefit is payable to the parents or guardians of children under 16 or under 18 if the child is in full-time education, training, or has a disability. Currently €140 is paid for each of the first two children, the rate for a third child is €148 and for a fourth and each subsequent child it is €160.
Barnardos has warned that means-testing could hit struggling families and has cautioned against any immediate action from the government which has already committed to standardise the payment for all children over the next two years.
Today we want to know, should child benefit be means-tested?