Child Benefit will increase by €5 to €135 per month for each child from January 2015. The Government has committed to increasing the monthly rate of Child Benefit by a further €5 for each child in 2016, provided that circumstances allow.
One-Parent Family Payment (OFP)
Under changes announced in Budget 2012 it was intended that the income disregard for OFP would be reduced to €75 a week in 2015 and €60 a week in 2016. However, it was announced in November 2014 that the income disregard for OFP will not reduce in 2015 and the income disregard will remain at €90. This means that a person can earn up to €90 per week and qualify for the full OFP. Half of the remainder of the gross weekly earnings up to €425 is assessed as means.
Back to Work Family Dividend
Budget 2015 announced the Back to Work Family Dividend (BTWFD) scheme, which provides financial support to Jobseeker and One-Parent Family Payment recipients with children who end their claim to take up employment, increase their hours of employment or take up self-employment. If you qualify for the scheme, you will be entitled to a weekly payment for up to 2 years following the ending of your social welfare claim.
Under this arrangement a dividend worth €29.80 per week per child will be paid for each child (up to a limit of 4 children) for the first year in employment and half that amount (€14.90 per child) will be paid weekly for the second year.
While the BTWFD scheme will commence in April 2015, applications will be accepted from January 5th 2015 but first payments will not be made until April when the legislation for the scheme will be in place. All eligible claims will be backdated where the date of application is between January and April 2015.
The Back to Work Family Dividend will be paid in addition to any entitlement the family may have under the Family Income Supplement (FIS) scheme and will not affect the level of the FIS payment.
Information on the BTWFD is available from Social Welfare Intreo Centres and local social welfare offices. Application forms will be available to download from www.welfare.ie.
The standard rate band for income tax for 2015 increases by €1,000 from €32,800 to €33,800 for single individuals. It increases from €36,800 to €37,800 for those qualifying for Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit.
The standard rate of income tax remains at 20%. The higher rate of income tax will be reduced from 41% to 40% from 2015.
Universal Social Charge (USC)
The rates and thresholds of the USC are changed. Incomes of €12,012 or less are exempt from USC. If an income exceeds this limit you will pay the relevant rate of USC on all your income.
Standard rates of USC in 2015
€0 to €12,012 @ 1.5%
€12,013 to €17,576 @ 3.5%
€17,577 to €70,044 @ 7%
€70,044 to €100,000 @ 8%
PAYE income in excess of €100,000 @ 8%
Central Statistics Office: Annual Report 2012
There were 71,674 children born in Ireland during 2012, down 2,359 or 3.2% from 2011. Just over 23.2% of births in 2012 were to mothers of non-Irish nationality.
The total number of births outside marriage/civil partnership in 2012 was 25,179. This corresponds to 35.1% of all births, 1.2 percentage points higher than 2011. The highest percentage of births outside marriage/civil partnership occurred in Limerick City at 56.3 while the area with the lowest percentage was Galway County at 22.5%. 56% of births outside marriage were registered by cohabiting parents.
The percentage of births to teenage mothers remains the same as in 2011, with just 2.3% (1,616) of births to mothers under 20. Excluding 2011, it was 1963 since the percentage of births to mothers under 20 was this low. From 1963 onwards the percentage continued to increase until it reached a peak in 1999 with 6.2% (3,314) of all births to mothers under 20. This percentage has continually decreased each year since then. At the other end of the scale the number of mothers over 40 is on the increase. In 2012 there were (4,007) 5.6% of births to mothers over the age of forty.
New Bill would give adopted persons the right to birth cert
A new Bill produced by Senator Averil Power and drafted by Dr. Fergus Ryan, law lecturer at Maynooth University, would, if enacted, allow adopted persons to have a right to their original birth cert listing their original name and their birth parents’ names. In addition, adoptees and natural parents could choose whether they are happy to have their contact details shared with each other. However, parents would still have a right to prevent the release of their contact details. Dr. Ryan said that the legislation aims to balance the adoptee’s right to identity with a natural parent’s right to privacy. Ms Power (Fianna Fáil) said that for too long adopted people have been robbed of their identities and denied basic information about themselves and their parents that others take for granted.
The Irish Times 4/11/2014
Abortion: The Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act 2013
In December 2010, the European Court of Human Rights found that the Irish State was in breach of the Convention on Human Rights, following a case taken by three Irish women known as ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’. At a recent meeting in Strasbourg the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers made a decision to close the case against Ireland, stating the government had introduced new abortion legislation through the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Act. The Court found Ireland had rectified the violation of the Human Rights convention that had been found. The Irish Times 4/12/2014
One Family: Parenting Supports
One Family, an organisation working with one-parent families, has expanded its parenting services and is now providing parent mentoring, parenting classes and mediated parenting plans outside Dublin.
More info here: http://www.onefamily.ie/how-we-can-help-you/how-we-support-families/parenting-supports/.
They also offer professional development training on their new manual for those working with one-parent families.
More info here: http://www.onefamily.ie/education-training/for-professionals/positive-parenting-training/.
Contact One Family on 01 662 9212 for further information.
Parents Plus develop educational materials for parents and children and provide support to professionals working with children and families in the community. They are hosting a number of facilitator training sessions in 2015, including:
- Working Things Out Programme, Thursday and Friday 8th and 9th January 2015
- Parents Plus Adolescents Programme, Monday and Tuesday 19th and 20th January 2015
- Parents Plus Early Years Programme, Monday-Wednesday 23rd– 25th March 2015