Thursday, 1 December 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
142. Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Social and Family Affairs the number of persons in receipt of the family income supplement payment; the number of persons his Department estimate are eligible for such a payment; the steps being taken by his Department to make persons aware of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37441/05]
Minister for Social and Family Affairs (Mr. Brennan): The number of people receiving family income supplement is 16,650. This represents an increase of approximately 40% in the past three years. It is difficult to estimate the number of families who fail to apply for their entitlements under the FIS scheme. However, research undertaken by the Economic and Social Research Institute in 1997, which was based on the results of the Living in Ireland Survey 1994, suggested that fewer than one in three of potentially eligible claimants were actually in receipt of the payment. Since those with a higher entitlement are more likely to avail of the scheme, the take-up in expenditure terms was estimated to be somewhat higher at between 35% and 38% of potential expenditure. The ESRI is looking again at this issue given the availability of new data since that time.
My Department undertakes a number of proactive measures to ensure that people are aware of possible entitlement to FIS, which include advising all newly awarded one parent family payment recipients, advising all employers annually in PRSI mailshots and examining entitlements in all awarded back to work allowance cases. Information on FIS is contained on all child benefit books and can be assessed on the Department’s website. The scheme has been extensively advertised through local and national media outlets, including newspapers and radio, as well as through poster campaigns and targeted mailshots. In addition, a magazine for lone parents called Options and Opportunities was issued to every lone parent in receipt of the one parent family payment this year. It included a full page outlining the details of the family income supplement.
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