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For Written Answer on : 20/02/2024
Question Number(s): 376 Question Reference(s): 7682/24
Department: Social Protection
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Social Protection with respect to the recently announced child benefit payment to families with children aged 18 and over and who are attending second level school, if she will allow the payment to continue beyond the child’s 19th birthday while they are still attending second level education; and if she will make a statement on the matter.


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.

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.

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

Any proposal to further extend Child Benefit in respect of full-time students who are over 19 years of age would need to be considered in a Budgetary context.

Families on low incomes may be able to avail of a number of social welfare schemes that support children in full-time education until the age of 22, including:

  • Increase for a Qualified Child with primary social welfare payments;
  • the Working Family Payment for low-paid employees with children; and
  • the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance (if aged 18 or over and attending secondary school).

These schemes provide targeted assistance that is directly linked to household income and thereby support low-income families with older children participating in full-time education.

I trust this clarifies matters for the Deputy.