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For Written Answer on : 20/02/2024
Question Number(s): 375 Question Reference(s): 7677/24
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Social Protection the plans she has to backdate the recently announced child benefit payment to families with children who are 18 years of age and over, and who are still attending second level school, to the birth dates of any such children; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


Child Benefit is a monthly payment made to families with children up to the age of 16 years. Currently, the payment continues to be paid in respect of children until their 18th birthday where they are in full-time education, or have a disability.

In Budget 2024, the Government decided to extend the payment of Child Benefit to 18-year-olds who are in full-time education or have a disability.  This was one of my key priorities in the Budget.

With many children now starting primary school at age 5, together with the increase in pupils doing transition year, there has been an increase in the number of 18-year-olds still in secondary education.  I believe the extension of Child Benefit to 18-year-olds in full-time education is a long-term change for the better and will support families across Ireland into the future.

This is a significant change to the Child Benefit scheme.  It requires technical and operational changes before implementation.

We had originally provided that the change would take effect from September this year.  However, I am very pleased that we are now able to bring this important change in from an earlier date and I have secured Government approval to do that.  As a result, the measure will be brought in from the first of May.  

In the case of a child who has already turned 18 and who is still in full-time education, Child Benefit will be payable again from May 2024 up to their 19th birthday, or until they leave full-time education, which ever is sooner.

As the measure comes into effect in May, there will be no payment for any intervening period up to May 2024.

In the region of 60,000 children are expected to benefit from this measure annually. The additional estimated cost of bringing the commencement date forward to May is €21.6 million.

I trust this clarifies matters for the Deputy.