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What’s in Budget 2023 for unemployed people?

28 September 2022 - 13:18 pm


On September 27th 2022, the Government published Budget 2023. The INOU had sought a €20 increase to core social welfare rates, such a rise we believed was vital to support people reliant on a social welfare payment to cover the increasing cost of living. According to the Central Statistics Office the Consumer Price Index rose by 8.7% in August 2022. The Government announced that core social welfare rates will increase by €12, or 5.8%, which is clearly insufficient to address the impact of growing inflationary pressures on people.  

On the positive side, the INOU had also sought an “earlier double bonus payment and ensure the eligibility for people on a Jobseeker’s Allowance payment is the same as other social welfare recipients.” The announcement of such a double payment is to be welcomed, and according to the Department of Social Protection’s Budget Factsheet will be “paid to all recipients of jobseekers’ payments, to be paid in October 2022”.

The Government also announced that they would pay a full Christmas bonus in early December. However, it is important to note that to be eligible for this bonus, and the Fuel Allowance, anyone on a Jobseeker’s Allowance payment must be in receipt of it for at least twelve months. As a consequence of these eligibility criteria, anyone in receipt of a Jobseeker’s Benefit payment will not benefit from these additional supports.  

Another of the asks in our Pre-Budget submission was an “Increase the Fuel Allowance by at least fifty per cent.” At present the Fuel Allowance is paid for 28 weeks at a rate of €33 per week, and this formula remained unchanged in Budget 2023. However, “a lump sum payment of €400 will be made before Christmas to recipients of this support”. And then from January 2023 there will be an increase in the means assessment threshold from €120 to €200; a new means test disregard for people aged over 70; the Half-rate Carer’s Allowance and Disablement Benefit will also be disregarded in the means assessment.

For a number of years the INOU has sought an increase in the top-up payment for participants on particular employment programmes. Finally in this year’s Budget one was announced: an increase of €5 will be made, bringing the top-up from €22.50 to €27.50 per week for participants on Community Employment, TÚS, and Rural Social Scheme.

Towards the end of his Budget speech, Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe noted “And I know we need to do more, build more homes, continue to improve public services, respond with courage and resolution to our defining challenge of climate change. But we can. And we will.” To this list the issue of income adequacy must be incorporated. As the Commission on Taxation and Welfare noted: “The adequacy of social welfare rates is central to poverty reduction. Regular benchmarking exercises for working-age payments should be undertaken, which would set multi-annual targets for progress in rates.”

Over the coming days the INOU’s Post-Budget Analysis will be available on our website.