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Extending child benefit to all 18 year olds in full time education marks a positive step forward

Waterford Fine Gael Senator John Cummins has warmly welcomed the announcement that child benefit will now be available from the 1st May up to the age of 19 for those in full time education.

Senator Cummins stated: “Following Budget 2024, I was keen to see the extension of child benefit to all full-time students up to 19-years-old as quickly as possible. At present child benefit stops once a child turns 18, however, many sixth-year students are 18 or even 19 when they’re sitting their Leaving Cert.

“They’re still in full-time education and parents are still the financial providers for all their needs. In my opinion it wasn’t right that child benefit stopped at 18 when the majority of young people are still in secondary school. As a former teacher, I’m well aware that expenses don’t just stop at 18 for students, and this extension recognises and seeks to addressthis anomaly.

Senator Cummins continued: “On numerous occasions I’ve expressed the importance of finding ways to assist people to manage the cost of living, this step is an impactful one that will directly affect a lot of hard-working families, which for many, child benefit is the only social welfare payment that they receive. Extending it up to the age of 19, when a young person is still in full-time education, will no doubt be a huge help to parents and guardians from May 1st.

Bringing forward this measure from the 1st September to the 1st May will assist nearly 60,000 households and give a cash boost of €560 over the four additional months that families had not bargained for. This move recognises the evolving needs of families and the societal benefits of supporting education.

Senator Cummins continued: “Any extension to a social welfare payment, obviously comes at a cost, and I’ve always expressed the importance of weighing up these costs. Thankfully due to the careful management of public finances over the last number of years, we are in a position to offer these supports and I believe that this is a worthy investment, supporting hard working families and the future of our society.

"This investment in our families and young people is not just a matter of financial support; it’s a commitment to ensuring that students can complete their secondary education without financial strain. It also builds on the Fine Gael principle of universality which gives families increased benefits for the tax they pay regardless of income they earn. Thankfully we have seen huge strides in this area with the roll out of free GP care for under 8s and over 70’s, the introduction of the universal child care subsidy, the rollout of energy credits over the last two years and now the expansion of child benefit” concluded Senator Cummins.


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