Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Deputy Willie O’Dea TD has said that changes are needed to the Social Welfare Bill to ensure that Lone Parents are treated fairly.

“I’ve tabled a number of amendments to the Social Welfare Bill including a review of changes that were made to the One Parent Family Payment and a review of the eligibility criteria for the State Contributory Pension that will be discussed at today’s meeting of the Social Protection Committee,” said O’Dea.

“The punitive changes that were introduced by the last Government must be reviewed. Quite simply, many lone parents and their children are living in significant poverty, and social exclusion is increasing in lone parent households.”

“The evidence is clear on this matter. Policy decisions taken by the last Government have exacerbated the challenges facing lone parents. What must happen, if we are to work in an evidence-based system, is that these policy decisions be reviewed.”

Deputy O’Dea has also put forward amendments related to eligibility for the State Contributory Pension.

“The eligibility criteria for this payment must also be reviewed. Currently, many people, most of whom are women, are not entitled to a full State Contributory Pension because they took time out of the workforce to care for children or an elderly relative.”

“Many women, who discover this when applying for the State Pension, are shocked by this, and they are left in financial difficulties as a result.”

“This situation is very unfair and fails to recognise the valuable contribution that these women have made to society.”

“I have also submitted a number of other amendments including calling for a review of the operation of the Family Income Supplement and also the eligibility criteria for Jobseekers Benefit.”

  1. “As a matter of good public policy, social welfare schemes should be reviewed and their successes or failures measured.”“The amendments that I have tabled are based on improving policy outcomes and ensuring that the social welfare system is fit for purpose and functioning correctly for those who rely on it,” concluded O’Dea.