Thousands of families could miss out on universal childcare subsidy over IT problems
From September this year, a new universal childcare subsidy will kick in for 33,000 children across Ireland.
It was announced last year that €19m would be spent this year on the Affordable Childcare Scheme that would benefit families with a child under three years old.
For parents who are paying for full-time, registered childcare this will amount to €1,000 a year – money that will no doubt be a very welcome help to many who are struggling with the vast cost that childcare is in this country.
However, yesterday the Irish Independent could reveal that due to a delay in building a workable IT system, thousands of families are to miss out on part of the Government’s new childcare subsidy.
The problem? Revenue and the Department of Social Protection are not yet in a position to share information that will allow the scheme be automatically administered – meaning around 9,000 families will miss out on up to €12 a week from September this year.
And despite claiming that Ireland is “moving from one of the most expensive childcare systems in the world to the best,” Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone is still unable to say when the problem will be resolved – but it will be next year at the earliest.
As well as this, another element of the scheme, targeting low-income families, has also hit a snag according to the newspaper, as the IT system the Department of Children is working with the Department of Social Protection, Pobal and Revenue to develop is also not place yet.
Until that system is in place families close to the €47,500 income threshold for extra benefits will miss out.