Government cuts personal contribution to rent supplement for young people

The reduction will amount to a saving of up to €20 per week for job-seekers under the age of 26

Government cuts personal contribution to rent supplement for young people

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar talking to the media at Government Buildings | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Minister for Social Protection has announced a cut to the personal contribution young job-seekers make to their rent supplement.

The cuts apply to anyone under the age of 26 receiving rent supplement through Jobseekers Allowance or Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

The cut will amount to a saving of up to €20 per week.

Under the new arrangement, a young person receiving a payment of €100 a week will see the weekly contribution to their rent cut from €30 to €10.

A young person of the same age receiving €144 or €160 a week will have their personal contribution cut by €10 a week.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said the measure will help to ease the rental burden for young people on welfare.

“My Department has set aside €500,000 per annum to cover the cost and I’m very pleased to bring in this measure as part of Budget 2017,” said Minister Varadkar. 

“This matter has also been sought by organisations working with homeless people. It’s expected to help young people to transition from homeless services and into rented accommodation.”

Meanwhile, the Minister today announced that the Social Insurance Fund - paid for by employers, employees and from self-employed PRSI contributions - will end the year with a surplus of €377m.

It is the time year since 2007 the fund has finished the year with a surplus.

The department intends to keep the Fund in surplus in the years ahead as a form of insurance in the event of future economic uncertainty.

“This is important,” said Minister Varadkar. “We need to prepare for an ageing population and the rising pension costs that come with it.”

“Although the economic prognosis for Ireland remains good, we should also keep some headroom in the event of future economic uncertainty.”

The Contributory State Pension, Widows, Widowers, Surviving Civil Partner (Contributory), Invalidity Pension, Maternity Benefit, Carers Benefit and Illness Benefit are all funded from the Social Insurance Fund.

Since last September it has also paid for Paternity Benefit.

The Minister said he intends to keep the surplus while at the same time extending social insurance benefits in “an affordable, prudent and sustainable way.”

"In 2016 this includes the extension of dental and eye checks and the invalidity pension to the self-employed for the first time, and the restoration of other dental and eye treatments to everyone who pays PRSI," he said.

“The Programme for Government contains a commitment for further parental leave.

“I am examining other measures including a form of Jobseeker’s Benefit for the self-employed and a longer period of Jobseeker’s Benefit before the means-test kicks in for people who have made a high level of contributions.”

The Department will conduct an independent review of the Social Insurance Fund in 2016 to “update our projections about the impact of demographics on the fund in the years ahead.”