32. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the safeguards in place to ensure lone parents in receipt of the one-parent family payment are not required to seek maintenance from those who have abused them; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 50710/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: I raise this question because, as the Minister will be aware, one of the criteria for receiving a lone parent allowance is that the lone parent can receive maintenance from his or her former partner. My understanding is that it is the policy of the Department that people will not be required to pursue an ex-partner who has been violent or abusive. Unfortunately, while this may be the general policy, the Department does not appear to have protocols or procedures in place to...

521. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the full-year cost of reversing changes made to the one-parent family payment in 2012, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 51221/17 asked on 29 Nov 2017 - One-Parent Family Payment Expenditure)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The cost implications of reversing changes made to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) in 2008 are very complex to estimate and would require significant resources and time to prepare. 
There are three significant barriers to undertaking this costing exercise. Firstly, by reversing the amendments made to the OFP scheme, this would likely result in a substantial cohort of lone parents that are currently not in receipt...

69. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on an independent review (details supplied) on the amendments to the one-parent family payment since 2012; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 46858/17 asked on 07 Nov 2017 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 69 and 72 together.
The independent review completed by Indecon of the changes to the one-parent family payment since 2012 provides a robust and thorough analysis of these changes. I am grateful to Indecon for their work on this and welcome the findings of the review. 
The Report supports the rationale and continued relevance of the policy changes made since 2012. It highlights that ...

653. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if she has considered the independent review of the changes to the one-parent family payment which was agreed to during the passage of the Social Welfare Act 2016; her plans regarding same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 42531/17 asked on 10 Oct 2017 - One-Parent Family Payment Eligibility)

Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The Social Welfare Act 2016, enacted on 19 December 2016, included a commitment that a review of the changes to the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) scheme since January 2012 would be laid before the Houses of Oireachtas within 9 months of the enactment of the Act. 
The review was to assess the financial and social effects of the OFP changes taking into account the effects on welfare dependency and the poverty rates of...

1588. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the steps she will take following the report by her Department on lone parents and the impact that changes to the one parent family payment had on lone parents; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 36597/17 asked on 26 Jul 2017 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): The review of the changes to the One-Parent Family Payment, which was agreed during the passage of the Social Welfare Act 2016, is currently well underway and is due to be completed in the coming weeks. 
When I receive the report I will examine and consider its contents, including the detailed analysis, that the changes have had on lone parents from a financial, poverty, social and welfare dependency perspectives.
I anticipate that the repo...

2084. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated full year cost of increasing the earnings disregard for the one-parent family payment and the jobseeker’s transition payment to €146.50, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28550/17 asked on 20 Jun 2017 - One-Parent Family Payment Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Regina Doherty): I propose to take Questions Nos. 2078, 2084, 2113 and 2120 together.
The cost of increasing the One Parent Family Payment and the Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment earnings disregard from €110 per week to €146.50 per week is set out in tabular form below:
 Scheme Increase income disregard to: Approximate cost to the Exchequer in a full year One Parent Family Payment €146.50 a week €11.1 million Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment €...

175. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated full-year cost of raising the cut-off age of the one-parent family payment to 12 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 12435/17 asked on 08 Mar 2017 - One-Parent Family Payment Expenditure)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The information that the Deputy has requested is currently not available in my Department. Given the complex nature of the request, my Department will provide the information directly to the Deputy in due course.
 ...

208. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the estimated full-year cost in 2018 of increasing the income disregard for those persons in receipt of the one-parent family payment by €5, €10, €15, €20 and €25, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 10542/17 asked on 01 Mar 2017 - One-Parent Family Payment Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The information that the Deputy has requested is currently not available in my Department. Given the complex nature of the request, my Department will provide the information directly to the Deputy in due course.
 ...

48. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection if he will conduct a review into the changes introduced to the one-parent family payment in view of the findings of a report (details supplied) on lone parents and activation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 35935/16 asked on 22 Nov 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: There is widespread agreement that the new system for dealing with single parents is not working. We had a discussion on Committee Stage of the Social Welfare Bill. A number of parties from all sides of the House tabled amendments to require the Minister to conduct a review of this situation. I have tabled this parliamentary question to keep this matter to the forefront.
 ...

1. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection his views on the assertion by an organisation (details supplied) that the main impacts of the reform of the one-parent family payment have been to reduce the income of lone parents in employment and to reduce the likelihood of lone parents who are not in employment, education or training take up work or education in the near future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 29009/16 asked on 06 Oct 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: This question relates to the views given to the Oireachtas Committee on Social Protection by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on the effect of the changes in relation to lone parents and I would like the Minister’s observations.
 ...

21. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection his plans to change the legislation in relation to liable relatives who have moved from the one parent family payment to jobseeker’s transition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 28749/16 asked on 06 Oct 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment Payments)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The Family Law Acts, which are under the remit of the Department of Justice and Equality (D/JE), place a legal obligation on parents to maintain their children. In cases where the family unit has broken down these obligations continue to apply and relevant maintenance payments can be arranged either directly between the couple or through supports like the Family Mediation Service, the Legal Aid Board and the Courts. The arrangement of maint...

34. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the status issue of determination orders which were not catered for in the jobseeker’s transition legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18693/16 asked on 30 Jun 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): My Department previously indicated its intention to review the current maintenance and liable relative procedures since the introduction of the one-parent family payment reforms. Officials in my Department are actively working on the detailed review required to progress this issue. This is a complex area that is not limited to the potential extension of these provisions to the jobseeker’s transitional payment and as a result the review will...

297. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the net cost in 2016 of setting the eligible age at which the parent’s youngest child is eligible at ten, 12 and 14 years of age under the one-parent family payment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18481/16 asked on 28 Jun 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The information that the Deputy has requested is currently not available in my Department. Given the complex nature of the request, my Department will provide the information directly to the Deputy in due course. This will include the answer to the previous question submitted by the Deputy regarding increasing the age of the youngest child to 14 years for receipt of the One-Parent Family Payment.
 ...

298. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the full year cost in 2016 of increasing the income disregard under the one-parent family payment scheme from its current threshold of €90 per week to €95, €100, €105, €110, 115, €120 and €125 per week, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 18483/16 asked on 28 Jun 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment Data)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The full cost of extending the current threshold of the income disregard under the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP) from its current threshold of €90 a week to €95 a week; €100 a week; €105 a week; €110 a week; €115 a week; €120 a week; and €125 a week is outlined in tabular form. These figures are based on the current profile of OFP customers as of June 2016.
 Increase income disregard to: Estimated cost to the Exchequer in for full...

33. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection to publish the report by a person (details supplied) on the impact on one-parent families of the changes to the one-parent family payment scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11768/16 asked on 25 May 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 33 and 35 together.
Research on activation measures for lone parents was commissioned at the request of my Department through the Irish Research Council, IRC, in 2014. The theme suggested by my Department was how best to engage and support lone parents from an activation perspective. The IRC sought expressions of interest from relevant academics to carry out independent research on this theme. Following the...

313. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the cost in a full year of increasing the earnings disregard under the one-parent family payment scheme to €146.50 per week; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11610/16 asked on 24 May 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The information that the Deputy has requested is currently not available in my Department. Given the complex nature of the request, my Department will provide the information directly to the Deputy in due course.
 ...

315. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Minister for Social Protection the cost in a full year of paying the one-parent family payment until the youngest child in a family reaches 14 years of age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11612/16 asked on 24 May 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment)

Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Leo Varadkar): The information that the Deputy has requested is currently not available in my Department. Given the complex nature of the request, my Department will provide the information directly to the Deputy in due course.
 ...

64. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the number of lone parents who are no longer eligible for the one-parent family payment and who are in receipt of the jobseeker’s transition payment as a result of changes to the one-parent family payment and who are in receipt of the family income supplement; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 7203/16 asked on 14 Apr 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment Data)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The final phase of the one-parent family payment age reforms was introduced on 2 July, 2015, when the age of the youngest child for receipt of this payment was reduced to 7 years of age. Approximately 25,500 customers transitioned from the one-parent family payment scheme on that day. Between July 2015 and December 2015, a further 3,000 customers transitioned from the one-parent family payment scheme, which is a cumulative total...

1. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will reverse the changes made to the one-parent family payment given the data in the Survey on Income and Living Conditions which show those living in households with one adult and one or more children had the highest deprivation rate, at 58.7%, in 2014; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1190/16 asked on 13 Jan 2016 - One-Parent Family Payments)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: Before dealing with the question, I take the opportunity to extend my congratulations to the newly appointed Clerk of the Dáil, as announced by the Ceann Comhairle.
My question refers to a recent survey which shows poverty is endemic among single parents. In view of the startling figures set out in the report, particularly in respect of the deprivation rate, is the Tánaiste prepared to reverse the changes she made recently to the lone parent’s allowance?
 ...

151. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the full-year cost in 2016 of increasing the income disregard for the one-parent family payment from its current threshold of €90 per week to €100, €110, €115, €120, €125, €130, €135, €140, €145, €150, €155 and €160 per week, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 1487/16 asked on 13 Jan 2016 - One-Parent Family Payment Expenditure)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): The information that the Deputy has requested is currently not available in the Department. Given the complex nature of the request, the Department will provide the information directly to the Deputy in due course.
 ...

210. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the cost in 2016 of increasing the maximum child age of the one-parent family payment from its current threshold of seven years to 14 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 37802/15 asked on 03 Nov 2015 - One-Parent Family Payment Expenditure)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Given the complex and detailed nature of the Deputy’s request, it is not possible, in the timeframe available, for the Department to calculate the estimated full-year cost of increasing the maximum child age of the one-parent family payment (OFP) from its current threshold of seven years to fourteen years in 2016.
The Department has, however, calculated that the full year cost, in 2016, of increasing the OFP scheme maximum child a...

83. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the estimated cost in 2016 of allowing lone parents to receive the one parent family payment; in the case of lone parents with children aged eight and under; nine and under; ten and under; 11 and under; 12 and under; 13 and under; 14 and under; and the estimated full year cost of each change. (Question 32698/15 asked on 24 Sep 2015 - One-Parent Family Payment Expenditure)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Given the complex and detailed nature of the Deputy’s request it is not possible for the Department in the timeframe available to calculate the estimated full year cost of increasing the maximum child age of the one-parent family payment (OFP) scheme from its current threshold of seven years to, respectively, eight years, nine years, ten years, eleven years, thirteen years, and fourteen years.
The Department has however, recently ...

1. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection the social impact assessment her Department has undertaken of her changes to the one-parent family payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 24850/15 asked on 24 Jun 2015 - One-Parent Family Payment Eligibility)

Deputy Willie O’Dea: The Minister will be aware that next Thursday is D-Day, where the D stands for “devastation” for the many lone parents who will suffer a substantial drop in income because of the change in the criteria for payment that she will implement on Wednesday. Has the Department carried out a social impact assessment, or an assessment of the possible effects on those who will lose out thereby?
 ...

241. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection when the child care supports will be put in place to ensure that those receiving payment under the one-parent family payment can avail of returning to employment or education, as promised by her on 18 April 2012; if she will honour her commitment to those persons, who feel that their family status is discriminated against, in particular those lone parents who are employed part-time or in low paid employment, who are self-employed, and who are in education; how persons in these categories, who receive family income supplement, can increase their income by increasing their hours to 19, as outlined by her, taking into consideration that lone parents who already work 19 hours will be cut, and given that many lone parents are restricted by low hour contracts, where employers refuse to sign family income supplement forms guaranteeing hours; and where there are increased childcare costs if hours are increased, and there is a loss to those in receipt of rent supplement and housing assistance payments of up to 75% of any increase, which does not cover the additional cost of working; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 22056/15 asked on 09 Jun 2015 - One-Parent Family Payments)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): With regards to child care, the delivery and expansion of child care services is the responsibility of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. My Department in conjunction with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs introduced a range of child care measures in Budget 2013 and Budget 2014 to assist lone parents to enter, or to re-join the workforce, namely the after-school child care scheme and the community employment...

67. Deputy Willie O’Dea asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection if she will acknowledge that it is current Government policy to discourage lone parents from engaging with postgraduate education in view of the fact that it is virtually impossible to undertake a postgraduate course without a maintenance grant; her views on whether the provision for the special rate is in actual fact a smoke screen to convey that such an option is a possibility for some when in reality, under the current legislation, any support, scholarship or moneys granted for the purpose of completing a Master of Arts degree can result in the withdrawal of the provision of fees at the special rate; in view of the fact that 98% of lone parents are women, if she acknowledges that the reforms discriminate against lone parents on grounds of class and gender; and if she will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14268/15 asked on 15 Apr 2015 - One-Parent Family Payments)

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection (Deputy Joan Burton): Procedures have been agreed between the Department of Social Protection and the Department of Education and Skills (D/ES) that ensure that all one-parent family payment (OFP) recipients who are participating in full-time education on a qualified course, including on a post-graduate course, will be able to complete their course with income support – subject to the normal OFP scheme conditions.
OFP recipients who are in mid-course, ...