Monthly child benefits could be doubled to a single payment of €280 in December

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The government is considering a double payment of child benefit of €140 per month as part of a cost-of-living package to be announced on budget day.

The move would be a huge boost for parents, who would be in line for a one-time payment of €280 if they have one child or €560 if they have two.

A family with three children would receive €840 if the policy is approved by coalition partners.

A family with twins would also receive €840 as they receive one and a half times the normal rate per child.

According to plans discussed by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath and Social Care Minister Heather Humphreys, the payment would be made before Christmas.

A large tax revenue surplus, currently amounting to €5 billion for the first six months of the year, will be used to pay for the double child allowance and other cost-of-living measures.

However, the entire amount, which is mostly made up of corporate tax returns, is unlikely to be spent on cost-of-living measures.

The package will be announced alongside the budget on September 27 and the agreed spending policies will come into effect before the end of the year.

A bonus child allowance payment is seen as a universal measure as it would help all families struggling with the cost of childcare in addition to other necessary expenses which have skyrocketed due to record levels of childcare. inflation.

There has been no increase in Child Benefit since 2016 when it was raised from €5 to €140 by the Fine Gael and Labor government ahead of the general election.

Child benefit is never included in the traditional Christmas bonus paid to recipients of social benefits such as State Pension, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Carer’s Allowance most December months.

The benefit has been criticized in the past for not targeting those most in need and instead being paid to anyone with children under 16.

At the height of the financial crash, Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary sparked a debate by calling for the benefit to be scrapped and calling it “the government subsidizing people to have sex”.

He said the payment should be focused on single parents and less well-off people.

However, payment has become a staple of Irish society and government ministers are reluctant to change it or introduce a means-tested system.

The Green Party has called for targeting cost-of-living measures, but Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are eager to introduce policies that will ease the financial pressure of inflation on low and middle incomes.

However, one of the main goals of the three coalition parties has been to tackle the cost of child care.

Recently released documents from the Tax Strategy Group indicate that 632,000 families receive a monthly allowance for 1.2 million children.

A double payment will cost around 170 million euros.

The tax documents did not examine the cost of an increase in family allowances or a double payment.

Instead, they considered raising all welfare rates at all levels by €15 or €10.

They also looked at the cost of raising the working family pay thresholds by €20 for all family sizes.

They further looked at the possibility of an increase of €8 for eligible children under 12 and €14 for children aged 12 and over. These payments are in addition to social benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance or Caregiver’s Allowance.

The current best rates are €40 for under 12s and €48 for over 12s.

The government always discusses potential increases in social benefits ahead of the budget, and fiscal strategy group papers are drafted to give it the options available and the cost of implementing the measures.

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