The monthly child benefit could be doubled with a one-time payment of 280 euros in December

The Government is considering a double payment of the €140 monthly child benefit as part of a living expenses package to be announced on Budget Day.

The move would be a huge boost for parents who could expect a one-off payment of EUR 280 for one child or EUR 560 for two children.

A family with three children would receive €840 if the policy is agreed by coalition partners.

A family with twins would also receive 840 euros, as they receive one and a half times the normal rate per child.

According to plans being discussed by Treasury Secretary Paschal Donohoe, Public Expenditure Secretary Michael McGrath and Social Protection Secretary Heather Humphreys, the payment would be made before Christmas.

A substantial tax surplus, currently €5 billion for the first six months of the year, is used to pay double child benefit payments and other cost-of-living measures.

However, the entire amount, made up mostly of corporate income tax returns, is unlikely to be spent on cost-of-living measures.

The package will be announced together with the budget on September 27 and the agreed spending policy will come into effect before the end of the year.

A child benefit supplement is considered a universal measure because it would help all families to deal with the cost of childcare on top of other necessary expenses that have been rocketed by record inflation.

Child benefit has not been increased since 2016 when it was increased by €5 to €140 by the Fine Gael and Labor governments ahead of the general election.

Child benefit is never included in the traditional Christmas bonus paid to recipients of social benefits such as state pension, unemployment benefit and carer’s allowance for most of December.

The benefit has been criticized in the past for not targeting those most in need, but instead being paid to anyone who has children under the age of 16.

At the height of the financial crash, Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary sparked debate by calling for the benefit to be scrapped, calling it “the government that subsidizes people to have sex”.

He said the payment should focus on single parents and less affluent people.

However, the payment has become an integral part of Irish society and Government ministers are reluctant to change it or introduce a means-tested system.

Greens have called for targeted measures to lower the cost of living, but Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are keen to introduce measures that ease the financial burden of inflation on low and middle earners.

However, a key objective of all three coalition parties was to address childcare costs.

The recently released Tax Strategy Group papers say 632,000 families receive a monthly child support payment for 1.2 million children.

A double payment costs around 170 million euros.

The cost of an increase in child support or a double payment was not examined in the tax papers.

Instead, they considered increasing all social rates by 15 or 10 euros across the board.

They also examined the costs of raising the income threshold for in-work family allowances by €20 for all family sizes.

They also looked at the possibility of an increase of €8 for eligible children under the age of 12 and €14 for children aged 12 and over. These payments are made in addition to social benefits such as unemployment benefit or care allowance.

Current top fares are €40 for under 12 year olds and €48 for over 12 year olds.

The government is still discussing potential pre-budget increases in welfare benefits and the tax strategy group’s papers are being drafted to show it the options available and the costs of implementing the measures. The monthly child benefit could be doubled with a one-time payment of 280 euros in December

Fry Electronics Team

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