Frances Fitzgerald, Fine Gael TD for Dublin Mid-West, has welcomed the introduction of increases to social welfare rates which take effect from this week. Fitzgerald said: “From Monday March 26th, social welfare payments will increase by €5 per week for those on maximum weekly rates, with proportionate increases for those on reduced rates.  This is the second year of increases for lone parents, jobseekers, carers, people with disabilities, widows, people on employment programmes and the third increase for Pensioners.

“Increases to the social welfare budget will provide further support for families who are in most need. Older members of our communities, in particular, a new weekly Telephone Support Allowance will be paid from June to those receiving the Living Alone Allowance. Other supports have also been increased. The weekly Fuel Allowance of €22.50 will be paid for 27 weeks in 2018, extended from 26 weeks, and an extra €10 million is being provided towards the Free Travel Scheme in 2018, increasing the funding to €90 million.

“The weekly income thresholds for the Working Family Payment will also increase by €10 per week for families with up to three children.  This is designed to increase the take-home pay of Working Family Payment recipients and help more working families qualify for this important income support. The income disregard for One-Parent Family Payment and Jobseeker’s Transition recipients will increase, by €20 to €130 per week, again to help improve incomes for working lone-parents and those moving from unemployment to employment.

 “A €2 increase for each qualified dependent child will be made in all weekly payments – the first such increase since 2010.  

“Dependent adult and people on reduced rate payments will receive proportionate increases while younger jobseekers, aged 26 and under, on reduced rates will receive the full €5 increase

Fitzgerald continued: “These supports are part of a raft of measures to create a brighter future for those who need it most in our communities across Clondalkin, Lucan, Palmerstown, Newcastle, Rathcoole, Saggart and Brittas.

“These supports continue the process of building a fairer and more inclusive society, incentivise and reward work and strengthen welfare supports for those who may need them.”