This month, over 7,000 recipients of the One Parent Family Payment will lose the payment, as announced last week by the Government and according to the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) the impact of this measure will be most keenly felt by heads of one-parent families who are in low paid employment.
Dromiskin man Liam Reilly, who is regional president for Louth, Meath, Monaghan and Cavan SVP, said these people will see their income significently reduced.
SVP have said a lone parent earning €200 per week net income and combining part-time employment with the One Parent Family Payment and Family Income Supplement, will see a loss of more than €70 per week.
“It is likely that this loss will make it impossible for some lone parents to stay in employment, due to the high cost of childcare which many face,” Mr Reilly said.
“The loss of the One-Parent Family payment is the result of measures announced in previous budgets, but which come into effect this month. The eligible age for a child in many one-parent family is being reduced this year to seven and for all one-parent families seven will become the maximum eligible age this time next year.”
Mr John-Mark McCafferty, SVP Head of Social Justice and Policy, said it is now more difficult for lone parents with low earnings potential and high levels of caring responsibilities to access employment, education or training, and this undermines the government’s own policy of addressing unemployment and joblessness in disadvantaged households.
Mr McCafferty also said that families with children, and in particular those headed by a person parenting alone, are the largest group requesting help from the SVP.
“One parent families are one of the groups that have been hardest hit by the recession and the austerity measures that have followed. They are also the group with the highest rates of poverty in Ireland.
“According to the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) people in lone parent families tend to have the lowest disposable income in the state and the highest rate of deprivation.”
In its Pre-Budget Submission for 2015, launched last month, SVP asked for measures to support those in low income work, tackle unemployment and provide supports and opportunities to jobless households.
SVP also advocates for investment in children and young people and specifically has urged Government to reverse both the reductions in the earnings disregard for the One Parent Family Payment and the removal of full medical card entitlement from those returning to employment.
It has also called for an increase in the Family Income Supplement, which it says is a vital financial support for one parent families where the parent works over 19 hours per week.
It also wants early childhood education services, to help lone parents get into training and employment.