Social Welfare Payments for 2011 (the cuts)

Welfare and child benefit cuts effective from today
JAMIE SMYTH, Social Affairs Correspondent
MORE THAN a million people will experience cuts to social welfare and child benefit payments from today as the Government implements its Budget 2011 reductions.

Some 891,000 people on jobseekers, carers, disability, illness, lone parent and maternity or adoptive benefits will see cuts to their weekly payments.
A further 600,000 families, who are in receipt of child benefit on behalf of 1.15 million children, will also begin to see cuts in their payments over the course of this month.
The Department of Social Protection’s annual budget is being reduced by €873 million to €20.62 billion with working age benefit payments falling by an average of 4.1 per cent.
Several hundreds of thousands of people who are currently out of work and on the live register will experience an €8 per week cut in their jobseeker’s allowance to €188 per week.
A range of other welfare payments – illness, health and safety, injury, one-parent family, widow’s allowance and disability/blind allowance – will fall by the same amount to a payment worth €188 per week.
Child benefit payments will be reduced by €10 per month for first and second children, to €140 per month, in a cost-saving measure designed to save €149 million for the exchequer. Payments for a third child will by cut by €20 to €167 per month, while claimants will receive €177 per month for fourth and subsequent children. Unlike in previous budgets there is no increase in complimentary schemes – qualified child increase or family income support – to compensate families on low incomes or who are dependant on other benefits.
Following a concerted lobbying campaign by groups representing the elderly, the Government did not reduce the State pension, which remains at €230.30 per week for those under 80. Those aged 80 and over will continue to receive €240.30 per week.
Minister for Social Protection Éamon Ó Cuív said yesterday the cuts were “not an easy thing to do” but defended the decision to reduce the social welfare budget as a “last resort” to prevent even steeper cuts in welfare later.
“My view is that if we didn’t take out the €6 billion, and I’ve explained the constraints on the tax front, we would have found ourselves unable to borrow the money to run the State. If we couldn’t borrow to fund the State the cuts would have been 33 per cent.”
He said the reality of the economic situation meant the Government couldn’t make cuts without touching the biggest spending departments like social protection. Mr Ó Cuív said it had tried to minimise the reduction in rates by cracking down on misuse of the system and making it work more efficiently.
(weekly rate)
Jobseekers benefit and allowance cut by €8 to €188
Illness/health and safety/injury benefits cut by €8 to €188
Widows’/Widowers’ contributory pension cut by €8 to €193.50 while the non contributory pension is cut by €8 to €188
Carer’s benefit cut by €8 to €205
Disablement pension cut by €8 to €219
Death benefit pension cut by €8 to €218.50
One parent family payment cut by €8 to €188
Supplementary welfare allowance cut by €10 to €186
Carer’s allowance cut by €8 to €204
Disability allowance/blind pension cut by €8 to €188
Maternity benefit/adoptive benefits cut by €8 to a minimum rate of €217.80, maximum rate is cut to €262.
Guardian’s payment cut by €8 to €161
(monthly rate)
One child cut by €10 to €140
Two children cut by €20 to €280
Three children cut by €40 to €447
Four children cut by €50 to €624
(all subsequent children are at a rate of €177 per month)