The Reality of Life on a Low Income
Maria is a lone parent of two teenagers who works 20 hours a week on the national minimum wage. Due to her youngest child turning 14 she transitioned onto the Working Family Payment. Previously she was on the Jobseekers Transition Payment which would have provided her with more support. SVP had asked for this payment to be extended until a household’s youngest child turns 18, but unfortunately the eligibility wasn’t extended in Budget 2022.
As the National Minimum Wage is set to be increased by 30c from €10.20 an hour to €10.50, Maria will receive an additional €6 euro a week in earnings. Due to the increase in thresholds for Working Family Payment she will also receive an additional €2.20 from her payment, meaning she will receive a total of an extra €8.40 per week from the Budget. At back to school time the once-off payment for each of her children will rise by €10.
There were no measures to address the inadequacy of Housing Assistance Payments and so Maria will continue to pay her landlord a weekly top up of €50. There was also no fund created to support people who have fallen into rent arrears to prevent homelessness, leaving Maria vulnerable to eviction.
In addition, the Fuel Allowance was not extended to people who receive the Working Family Payment, so Maria will not receive support with energy as costs soar this winter. As the bills are already piling up, she will need to rely on discretionary support through Emergency Needs Payments, and to engage with her supplier and support services to prevent disconnection.
Research and Policy Officer
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