Social Protection for Young Jobseekers

Young people (under 26 years) in Jobseeker’s Allowance

NYCI calls on Government to restore young people under 26 years of age on the lower rate of Jobseekers’ Allowance to be restored to the full adult rate of €198 per week (€203 from March 2019).

NYCI supports full equality for young people. We opposed the decision of previous Governments to reduce welfare payments to young unemployed people under 26 years of age and we want the full rates to be restored.  We acknowledge the decision of Government in Budget 2017, in line with a proposal made by NYCI since 2014 to restore the full adult rate to young people engaged in education, training and work experience. We are, however, disappointed that no progress was made on this issue since then. We believe the imposition of lower rates on young jobseekers is contrary to the provisions of Article 40.1 of the Irish Constitution, which dictates that all citizens should be treated equally and must be addressed.

The most recent data available indicates that 73% or 14,095 of the 19,477 young people in receipt of Jobseekers’ Allowance (JA) in April 2018 were on €107.70 a week, 10% or 2,019 were on €152.80 with 17% or 3,363 on the full rate of €198 per week. In 2014, we published the results of a poll which found that 4 out of 10 young people on JA were struggling to make ends meet. Young people under 26 years have to pay the same price for food, accommodation, transport, etc., as those over 26 years and therefore they are more susceptible to poverty and economic hardship as a result.

Young persons under the age of 26 in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance at the end of April 2018 by rate

The impact of these reduced payments is confirmed by the statistics published in the Social Inclusion Monitor by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection on the rate of consistent poverty among young people aged 15-24. The consistent poverty rate for young people aged 15-24 years in 2015 was 15.6%, which is almost double the overall rate of 8.7% and the highest of all age cohorts. The percentage of young people aged 15-24 years in consistent poverty has increased by 73% between 2010 and 2015, compared to the overall increase of 40% over the same period.

In addition to the data there is compelling anecdotal evidence that the cuts are leading to youth homelessness. NYCI is calling on the Government to reverse these cuts and restore young people under 26 to the full adult rate.