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Measures in the works for wealthy to "hand back" their children's allowance.

  • 14-08-2012 8:16am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,557 MackDaddi


    There's a piece in this mornings times detailing a new measure in the works from Minister Joan Burton's department to allow wealthier recipients of the child benefit payment to hand it back to the state voluntarily, should they feel they don't need it.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2012/0814/1224322139092.html

    Is this really a genuine attempt by Ms. Burton to cut our costs in the area of child benefit or is it simply some lip service to further avoid/delay the politically difficult move towards the taxing or means testing of the payment?


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,892 spank_inferno


    Its a cop out.

    Even if I was Michael o'Leary I would decline any opt out, on the principal of showing how gutless this government really are.

    WRT Child benefit, the government are welcome to take it, tax it or test it.

    But it seems they dont have the grapes to to any of it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,593 ✭✭✭ ParkRunner


    It is disappointing to hear that Joan Burton is serious about introducing this measure. Savings made from a voluntary return of child benefit will be minimal I expect.

    It would be far better to make the investment of a joined up computer program between Revenue and Social Protection so that the payment can be taxed. In the long run it would generate much more savings


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,462 ✭✭✭✭ Sleepy


    Wonder how many of her own parties TD's will voluntarily opt out of the scheme?

    Nonsense. But what else do you expect when you leave a moron in charge of welfare?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,557 MackDaddi


    EF wrote: »
    ....In the long run it would generate much more savings...

    That's a phrase that successive Irish governments haven't seemed to be able to get their heads around. Long term thinking doesn't exist here.

    I would agree that it looks like a cop out from Burton, because in the event that CB is means tested, which she has said she is in favour of but which could take years to implement (politician's speak for having your cake and eating it) any such voluntary measure would be entirely redundant. If the system was fixed, you wouldn't need a way to voluntarily refund something you hadn't been paid in the first place.

    This is a politician's way to push the onus to act away from themselves, and onto the recipients of the payment.

    From a technical perspective, it's not as big a deal to integrate 2 government department's computer systems as the minister would have us believe it is. It's not an easy thing to do, certainly, but there are private sector companies in the country who have the skills and experience to do it within the current government's time in office, if the necessary resources were given to the task.

    The projected savings and cost/benefit case is solid, it's a viable investment. All that's missing is the political will to do it, because of the backlash that TD's will face in their clinics back home, which makes me wonder if FG/Lab are serious about making the really unpopular decisions, now that they have nowhere easy left to cut.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,876 Scortho


    Do all these wealthy people not have to apply for it in the first place?
    If thats the case what on earth makes Joan Burton think that people will hand it back? Afterall they went to the effort of applying for it in the first place!
    The only thing I could see O Leary do is use it as a publicity stunt!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,462 ✭✭✭✭ Sleepy


    Nope, if memory serves my other half simply started receiving it within a few weeks of our daughter being born.


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Politics Moderators Posts: 14,248 Mod ✭✭✭✭ johnnyskeleton


    MackDaddi wrote: »
    EF wrote: »
    ....In the long run it would generate much more savings...

    That's a phrase that successive Irish governments haven't seemed to be able to get their heads around. Long term thinking doesn't exist here.

    I would agree that it looks like a cop out from Burton, because in the event that CB is means tested, which she has said she is in favour of but which could take years to implement (politician's speak for having your cake and eating it) any such voluntary measure would be entirely redundant. If the system was fixed, you wouldn't need a way to voluntarily refund something you hadn't been paid in the first place.

    This is a politician's way to push the onus to act away from themselves, and onto the recipients of the payment.

    From a technical perspective, it's not as big a deal to integrate 2 government department's computer systems as the minister would have us believe it is. It's not an easy thing to do, certainly, but there are private sector companies in the country who have the skills and experience to do it within the current government's time in office, if the necessary resources were given to the task.

    The projected savings and cost/benefit case is solid, it's a viable investment. All that's missing is the political will to do it, because of the backlash that TD's will face in their clinics back home, which makes me wonder if FG/Lab are serious about making the really unpopular decisions, now that they have nowhere easy left to cut.

    The Criminal Assets Bureau have access to both revenue and welfare records right now, so even just with a few checking off exercises they could have some joined up thinking tomorrow if needs be.

    Or, use self declaration for child benefit and prosecute anyone not complying.

    A difficulty / potential unfairness is a high earning family with one person salaried and the other claiming CB. It would be difficult to intervene here, given that the notional purpose of CB is to assist stay at home parents with the cost of child rearing by means of an independent payment.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,679 ✭✭✭ hidinginthebush


    I may be showing my ignorance here, but surely you have to show up to collect children's allowance? In that case, if these "wealthy" people were in a position to hand it back, would it not be safe to assume they wouldn't have collected it in the first place?

    On a more serious note, shouldn't the government be taking the lead when it comes to increasing revenue through reduced spending or tax increases, rather than relying on the wealthier parents in the country to do some soul searching and decide they will voluntarily give back money that they are entitled to.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,865 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    It should be abolished as a cash payment altogether if the intention is that this money really finds its way to children.

    The money should be spent directly on children at school for those of school going age (books, meals, uniforms etc.) and should be spent on providing subsidised childcare for those of preschool years.

    People on the dole presumably need childcare as well so they can search for employment, right? ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,333 ✭✭✭✭ seamus


    I may be showing my ignorance here, but surely you have to show up to collect children's allowance? In that case, if these "wealthy" people were in a position to hand it back, would it not be safe to assume they wouldn't have collected it in the first place?
    No, it's paid directly into your bank account. Unlike payments like the dole, there's no "checking" that has to be done to ensure that you're still entitled to it, so it would be a huge waste of resources to require people to go in and collect it.

    It's a completely pointless exercise. A few hundred people will voluntarily hand it back or opt out of it. If you offer people money, they will take it, and rightly so.

    They need to just scrap it already and come up with a better system that provides the bulk of the child support to working families and social assistance to families in need.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 996 dharma200


    murphaph wrote: »
    It should be abolished as a cash payment altogether if the intention is that this money really finds its way to children.

    The money should be spent directly on children at school for those of school going age (books, meals, uniforms etc.) and should be spent on providing subsidised childcare for those of preschool years.

    People on the dole presumably need childcare as well so they can search for employment, right? ;)

    If that was implemented I think you would find the amount of families becoming homeless and the amount of families going hungry might actually give those who have no understanding of the hardships unemplouyed and low waged workers alike are suffering right now, and in some cases it is only the child benefit that keeps peoples head above water and a roof over the head.

    I( always think it is great all the people who have an opinion on child benefit usually do not have families, are not finding themselves screwed since the economic downt turn. A school uniform is nice, so would subsidised childcare... having a roof over your head and food in your families mouth would take precedence over this. What might seem like 'worthy' ways to spend it for one family could be the breaking of another.

    Child benefit needs to be means tested. Simple, and the means should not be ridiculously low, but should take into account a family of four, both parents on low wages.. not just welfare recipients. it seems to me it is the families who are working who are really struggling.

    School uniforms should be generic. there should be no branding.

    There is subsiding of childcare already. The problem is when the parents get work the childcare then becomes so expensive it means the workers are worse off. there should be a system whenre the chilcare costs rise gradually over a three year period after resuming work.

    The measures for people to hand back child benifit is laughable. Disgusting really , Giving the wealthy a choice just because they are wealthy. Those nice rich people of course will hand it back.. not.

    The current government is disgusting. The amount of child poverty in this country is disgusting.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,045 ✭✭✭ RedXIV


    I'd happily hand CB back for some kind of subsidised childcare. Don't need it all paid for but just enough to make it an OPTION for us. We've three kids, two of which are too young to go to school and as much as my partner would like to work or go back to education, the childcare costs are making it almost impossible.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,230 ✭✭✭ Solair


    You can already 'hand it back', by just not claiming it in the first place.

    Nobody forces you to go down to the post office and apply for child allowance if you're on a good income and don't need it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 996 dharma200


    RedXIV wrote: »
    I'd happily hand CB back for some kind of subsidised childcare. Don't need it all paid for but just enough to make it an OPTION for us. We've three kids, two of which are too young to go to school and as much as my partner would like to work or go back to education, the childcare costs are making it almost impossible.

    There are subvention schemes... Check your local community creches and ask them about subvention. This dramatically reduces the cost of childcare.

    http://www.google.ie/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CE8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dcya.gov.ie%2Fviewdoc.asp%3Ffn%3D%252Fdocuments%252Fchildcare%252FCC_Subvention_Scheme%252FCC_Subvention_Scheme.htm&ei=ozYqUKPAAYuDhQes0IH4AQ&usg=AFQjCNGyVOcL3q19JE0e9O9vu5TlWIsjPA&cad=rja

    sorry I mis read that you were both not working, The link might be handy for others who are unemployed, or on back to eduction etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,333 ✭✭✭✭ seamus


    dharma200 wrote: »
    The current government is disgusting. The amount of child poverty in this country is disgusting.
    Of course the issue with child poverty is that the children most at risk are the children who will least benefit from any kind of direct benefit payment.
    These are the children whose parents will spend the child benefit on smokes and booze, so they stand to get the most benefit out of indirect assistance like that which murphaph mentions.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,892 spank_inferno


    dharma200 wrote: »
    The amount of child poverty in this country is disgusting.

    Coming from what the D4 set would call a 'disadvantaged' area, I can say that childhood poverty would be all but eliminated if the allowance was not spent on the booze & bookies.

    Get rid of a cash allowance and replace with a voucher system.

    (those may say that the parents would then swap vouchers for cash... If that were the case, that poor child has no hope anyway considering what the mom/dad are like. No amount of cash would fix that.)


  • Registered Users Posts: 671 ✭✭✭ BOHSBOHS


    means testing /taxing child benefit???
    ah yes give irish couples another reason to pretend to be single
    our tax /welfare systems are bad enough in this regard already.

    additionally it will further reduce the incentive to work in this country.

    *just cut the rate
    a flat 100 euro rate (with no increases for 3+kids or twins)would save 713m
    90e 850 million
    80e 985 million
    70e 1112 million

    *abolish payment after kid reaches 6years

    *introduce new school attendance payment for kids 6+ only paid when 90%+ schooldays attended in previous school year.
    this will reduce transfers out of the country, reduce truancy and associated social issues/crime.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,286 ✭✭✭✭ Scofflaw


    Solair wrote: »
    You can already 'hand it back', by just not claiming it in the first place.

    Nobody forces you to go down to the post office and apply for child allowance if you're on a good income and don't need it.

    Just to clear up this apparent point of confusion in an official sort of way, using this handy post by goldenhoarde: child benefit is semi-automatic. It starts with this:
    Actually there is a form filled in the hospital (by the hospital) which gets sent off and you then get it back just to check it and fill in the Bank Account details or you can collect in the post office like the Old age pension as you get a book!

    Once that's done, you receive it automatically.

    moderately,
    Scofflaw


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,865 ✭✭✭✭ murphaph


    Scofflaw wrote: »
    Just to clear up this apparent point of confusion in an official sort of way: child benefit is automatically paid to the mother's bank account when the birth of a child is registered. It does not have to be applied for, nor collected.

    moderately,
    Scofflaw
    How do they know the bank account details, what if the mother has no account? I'm curious now!


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,333 ✭✭✭✭ seamus


    Solair wrote: »
    if you're on a good income and don't need it.
    That's the kicker isn't it.

    "Need".

    There are very few people in a position where they can say, "I have too much money here, take that back". People in general, allocate every last piece of their cash. Even if a chunk is going to a savings account, it's allocated, and it has a purpose.

    Nobody "needs" a salary over €20k. Anyone can easily cut their expenditure to meet this limit. It'll be unpleasant and will involve lots of nights sitting in reading books because you have no beer money and no TV. But then neither beer nor TV are things that people "need".

    Regardless of whether someone is on €20k or €200k, you can be pretty sure that they will say they "need" the child benefit payment. I have a child on the way, and while I've no doubt I could manage without child benefit, I'm bloody well going to claim it because it will make my life, and therefore my child's life, a little bit easier. And why shouldn't it? It's there, it's being offered, so I'll take it.
    When it's no longer being offered, then I'll just get on with life and I'll manage.

    The same is true for 99% of people.

    A couple of hundred people will avail of Burton's "scheme", at most. She's asking people to hand back money. For no reason. Why would they? Why should they?
    I'll happily pay tax and contribute to the country, but not on a voluntary basis. Cos when you make things voluntary, a small number of people get screwed while everyone else takes the piss. Look at what "voluntary" taxation did to Greece.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 818 ✭✭✭ goldenhoarde


    murphaph wrote: »
    How do they know the bank account details, what if the mother has no account? I'm curious now!

    Actually there is a form filled in the hospital (by the hospital) which gets sent off and you then get it back just to check it and fill in the Bank Account details or you can collect in the post office like the Old age pension as you get a book!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,876 Scortho


    Scofflaw wrote: »
    Just to clear up this apparent point of confusion in an official sort of way: child benefit is automatically paid to the mother's bank account when the birth of a child is registered. It does not have to be applied for, nor collected.

    moderately,
    Scofflaw
    Thanks for clearing that up. I got the info on having to apply from the following
    http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/social_welfare/social_welfare_payments/social_welfare_payments_to_families_and_children/child_benefit.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,286 ✭✭✭✭ Scofflaw


    Actually there is a form filled in the hospital (by the hospital) which gets sent off and you then get it back just to check it and fill in the Bank Account details or you can collect in the post office like the Old age pension as you get a book!

    That bit tends to pass by in something of a blur...I suppose you could theoretically pass up the opportunity at that point, but faced with a new baby and a tired mother (or as the tired mother) one probably won't.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,326 ✭✭✭ Farmer Pudsey


    We seem, to be going down the road of means testing CB again. I like to know at what incom level should it start at. Should one or both income's be acessed and would it be a sliding scale or just a straight cutoff.

    Also as we are on the subject of not needing benifits should we eliminate tax credits for people over certain income's as they will not need them say at 100k and at 200K give them no 20% band as they do not need these either. After 1 million an 80% tax rate and a 15% USC level should be appropiate.

    This means testing of CB is stupid the people that will lose most are workers in mid income brackets for the government to save money it would have to have the income limits at low levels. It will discrimate against certain family's no matter what income they have.

    I do not know how many childern Micheal O'Leary has. He pay all his taxes in Ireland he is entitled to CB for his childern wheather he or we like it or not. Reality if if his wife was not working under any new scheme he would still be entitled to it or if not would be able to create the situtation where he could collect it.

    What is being proposed about CB is stupid it is like the level at which 3rd level grand are accessed it discrimates against PAYE workers and especially those on income's between 25-70K.

    By the way I would like answers to the question highlighted above


  • Registered Users Posts: 51 ✭✭✭ decmanning


    Why give them the choice to hand it back? Just take it, any family on over 100,000 a year should not be getting childrens allowance, they do not need it, all Fine Gael is concerned about is making sure they get the wealthy votes in the next general elections, its about time this government man up and target the wealthy, people have been saying this for years but now is the time to do it, people are in awful situations at the moment, money is very scarce for many families and bills cant be paid, food cant be bought, these families cant take any more cuts, the government need to hit the wealthy to make up the deficit and stop targeting the vulnurable in society


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,892 spank_inferno


    We seem, to be going down the road of means testing CB again. I like to know at what incom level should it start at. Should one or both income's be acessed and would it be a sliding scale or just a straight cutoff.

    Incorrect I'm afraid my dear Pudsey.

    We don't seem to be going down that road at all.
    (It would at least be something if they were, whatever the treshold.)

    Instead the cowards push the decision making burden to the citizen, because they have no spine to act themselves.

    We all post here good ideas on what could be done.... Minister Bruton hasn't the bottle to do any of it though.


    So in a nutshelll...... its status quo.


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,462 ✭✭✭✭ Sleepy


    Just make it taxable income. Problem solved.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    MackDaddi wrote: »
    That's a phrase that successive Irish governments haven't seemed to be able to get their heads around. Long term thinking doesn't exist here.

    This isn't a technological issue it's a political issue between the two Departments. Yes it would be lovely to have some sort of automatic ,real time system between the two but it's not needed.

    Here you go
    select PPS from revenue_db where annual income < x (Get a list of people who earn less than a set amount)
    File save as CSV. (Export the data, built in functionality of most Database from the last 30 years)
    Email said CSV to Welfare .
    select PPS from welfare_db where PPS in file Pay these people (only pay a person if their PPS appears on the list)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,557 MackDaddi


    seamus wrote: »
    That's the kicker isn't it.

    "Need".

    ....Nobody "needs" a salary over €20k. Anyone can easily cut their expenditure to meet this limit. It'll be unpleasant and will involve lots of nights sitting in reading books because you have no beer money and no TV...

    I'm sorry, but that is quite simply not true. While i agree that the term "need" can be subjective, and depends on what your definition of many things like level of comfort, standard of living, etc, etc are, you have to accept that many people in our society have serious, inescapable financial commitments (very many of them for good, societally beneficial reasons like family, education, etc) which a salary of 20k simply will NOT cover, and very many people would not be able to "easily" cut their expenditure to bring themselves below that arbitrary point.

    Do I need sky TV, or nights out at the pub?? No, as you've pointed out, they are nice to haves, but regardless of my lifestyle or social position, i don't NEED them. That's fine.

    Do i need a basic level of food, light, shelter? Yes, certainly, i do, and regardless of my circumstances or means, those things CAN be regarded as a need. Most people would not argue there either.

    However, do i NEED to run a car in order to allow me to do a certain job, which i am soley reliant on for income and have no prospect of replacing should i lose it, or do i need to pay for schoolbooks, uniforms, capitation fees etc to send my children to school for example? Those are more grey areas.

    If i don't drive i may lose my job or be in a position of decreased security of employment depending on the nature of the position in question. If i don't properly provide for the education of my kids, isn't there a strong possibility they will lag behind at school, fail to pass their exams, fail to gain college qualifications, and not be in a position to fully contribute to society or to the exchequer? Even worse, they may end up on social welfare and being a greater draw on the state than they ever would have been, had i used a €140 per month state payment to give them what they need to have a proper educational grounding that gave them at least a chance at a better life?

    This is not a black and white issue. You can't magically apply a figure of €10k, €20k or €50k or whatever, and say "right, that's all you need, full stop, no ifs, no buts". It requires a much more sophisticated system that's capable of looking at individual situations within society, considering many factors, and coming up with an approach that best shares limited resources out to those who need them the most.

    In political terms, it's an absolute minefield, which is a major part of the reason we've seen no action on it so far from successive governments. They quite simply haven't had the bottle.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,106 antoobrien


    This isn't a technological issue it's a political issue between the two Departments. Yes it would be lovely to have some sort of automatic ,real time system between the two but it's not needed.

    Here you go
    select PPS from revenue_db where annual income < x (Get a list of people who earn less than a set amount)
    File save as CSV. (Export the data, built in functionality of most Database from the last 30 years)
    Email said CSV to Welfare .
    select PPS from welfare_db where PPS in file Pay these people (only pay a person if their PPS appears on the list)

    I work in enterprise systems, that's an extremely naive approach. The technical issue is a significant one, performing operations across different databases, possibly using different technologies and almost certainly using different data schemas and structures, is not a trivial exercise. The company I work for makes millions selling analytics software.

    There's also the complication of calculating the household income, indeed do we just stop at parents or do we include adult children in the calculations. How doe the various schemas deal with these relationships?

    But more importantly than mere technical issues there is also a legal issue, which is a much larger problem. Unless they've changed the law lately Data Protection prevents information given to Revenue can't be passed to DSP & vice versa.


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