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Here's what Budget 2020 means for people receiving social welfare payments

The INOU has said it is “very disappointing” there were no increases to Jobseekers’ payments.

Image: Shutterstock.com

SPEAKING IN THE Dáil yesterday, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe unveiled Budget 2020 and with it an increase of €690 million in 2020 for the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. 

As with much of this “Brexit Budget”, however, there were few surprises and modest allocations for social protection. 

The Christmas Bonus remains at 100% for all social welfare recipients in 2020, after being fully restored last year. 

For 25-year-old jobseekers, the rate of weekly allowance will increase from €157.80 to the full rate of €203. 

People aged 18 to 24 years who live independently and receive State housing supports, meanwhile, will also see an increase to the full Jobseeker’s Allowance from a rate of €112.70. 

These figures are contained in the Budget 2020 expenditure allocations.

The earning disregard for lone parents will increase by €15 to €165 per week from January while the Living Alone Allowance will increase by €5 in 2020. 

The Working Family Payment income threshold will also increase by €10 for families with up to three children while the Qualified Child Payment will increase by €3 for children over 12 and €2 for children under 12.

Speaking yesterday, Donohoe said the fuel allowance would increase by €2 to offset any carbon tax costs. 

The carbon tax was increased by €6 per tonne which will came into effect at midnight last night for petrol and diesel, while for home-heating fuels the increase will kick in from May 2020. 

pasc Paschal Donohoe announcing Budget 2020 yesterday. Source: Dáil TV

Home carers, however, have expressed concern that an additional €100 tax credit announced for them as part of next year’s budget will largely be offset by a rise in carbon tax.

The measure – the only additional tax rebate announced as part of next year’s budget – was welcomed by home carers and advocacy groups, but some have expressed concern that it will be undercut by other measures.

In a statement, the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed said it was “very disappointing” that there were no increase made to jobseeker’s payments. 

“The payment of the Christmas Bonus and the increase in the Fuel Allowance is welcome,” it said. 

It said, however, that unemployed people must be in receipt of their social welfare payment for at least 15 months before qualifying for the Christmas bonus and the €2 per week fuel allowance.

“It should be noted that only a third of the people in receipt of a Jobseeker’s payment are eligible for these supports,” it said. 

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