THE DEPARTMENT OF Social Protection has said that figures which show that a family of six on social welfare would be almost as well off as a couple where one person earns €28,000 are not indicative of an average family.
A spokesperson has told TheJournal.ie that the department has put together a table of figures in order to see what a couple with four children, who are in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, would receive in a year.
The table, which has not yet been released by the department, shows that there is a disparity of around €90 a week between the working family and the family on social welfare.
The figures were put together in response to reports during the week that job applicants were turning down offers of employment, because they felt they’d be better off on welfare payments.
The department spokesperson said that it was important to stress that the findings are not based on an actual couple, and that every situation is very different. It was also stressed that the figures are not indicative of an average family.
A report in today’s Sunday Times remarks that the figures do not take into account that the working family would also be paying rent if living in rented accommodation, while a family on welfare payments would be entitled to a rent supplement.
Sarah McInerney’s report also notes how Labour senator Jimmy Harte claimed last week that one family in Dublin was in receipt of yearly welfare payments of €90,000.
The Department of Social Protection has said that it’s anxious not to give the impression that welfare payments are a disincentive to work. The spokesperson also told TheJournal.ie that it doesn’t want people who are in receipt of payments to start worrying about those payments.