Paper explores cost of hiking social welfare payments in budget
A €1 increase in the personal rates of all weekly paid social welfare schemes in October’s budget would cost €69.4 million, according to new estimates.
If an additional €1 was also to be paid to dependent adults and children, it would cost €89.4 million.
While a €1 increase in the personal rates of all weekly paid social protection schemes, as well as for dependents and supplementary payments, including living alone allowance and fuel allowance, would cost €115.4 million.
The figures are contained in a report by the Tax Strategy Group (TSG) on Social Protection.
The TSG is comprised of officials and advisors from across different government departments.
It’s chaired by the Department of Finance and examines possible options when it comes to taxes in the upcoming Budget.
The papers are published annually in advance of the Budget.
The social protection paper also forecasts that were the monthly rate of Child Benefit to increase by €1, it would cost €14.8 million.
If Child Benefit were to increase by a €1 alongside weekly personal rates of all schemes and for dependents and supplementary payments, the bill would come to €130.2 million.
A double week payment of all weekly social protection payments, on the same basis as the Christmas Bonus paid last December and including those in receipt of illness payments longer than 12 months and Working Family Payment, would cost €350 million, the TSG estimates.
The TSG also says that the Fuel Allowance scheme is a well targeted policy response to higher costs in relation to fuel, which is the largest component contribution to price inflation.
It predicts that an additional week of Fuel Allowance payments, which would reach over 400,000 low-income households on long term social protection payments, would cost €14.7 million.
The paper details how Budget 2023 was the largest social protection budget in the history of the State.
It included a range of once off lump sum payments to support a series of cohorts across the spectrum of social protection schemes, including an Autumn double payment, a double payment of Child Benefit and a €400 lump sum payment for fuel allowance.
There was also a €500 lump sum payment to families receiving Working Family Payment, a €500 lump sum payment to people in receipt of Disability Allowance, Blind Pension or Invalidity Pension and a €200 lump sum payment to people in receipt of the Living Alone Allowance.
Carers received a €500 lump sum payment and there was also a Christmas Bonus double payment of weekly social welfare and pension payments
“Collectively, these 2022 measures provided over €1.2 billion in social transfers to support people with the increased cost of living,” the TSG states.
The budget package also provided over €1 billion in ongoing measures including an across-the-board €12 increase in the maximum rate of core weekly payments to pensioners, people with disabilities, carers, lone parents and working age people with additional increases for qualified adults and dependent children.
The estimated spend for this year is just short of €24 billion, a little lower than the €24.6 billion last year.