Family Income Supplement

This measure increases the Family Income Supplement income thresholds by €5 for families with one child and €10 for families with two or more children.

The measure will benefit low income working families. In all this measure will benefit nearly 60,000 families and over 131,000 children. This includes an additional 1,500 households and 3,365 children becoming eligible for FIS as a result of the increase in income thresholds.

The increase in Family Income Supplement recognises the sacrifices that low and middle income families made during the economic crisis. As, such, it is consistent with Government commitments set out in its Statement of Priorities, to deliver a new deal on living standards to ensure that the economic recovery is felt by low- and middle-income families.

Family Income Supplement is one of the in-work supports that contribute to Ireland having one of the lowest in-work at-risk-of-poverty rates among EU-28 member states. The EU-28 average is 8.9%. Ireland ranks 5th lowest with a rate of 4.5%.

This measure continues to provide assistance to low-income households in a manner that minimises disincentives to parents taking up employment.

To qualify for payment of FIS:

A person must be engaged in full time paid employment as an employee which is expected to last for at least 3 months and be working for a minimum of 38 hours per fortnight or 19 hours per week. A couple may combine their hours of employment to meet the qualification criteria. The applicant must also have at least one qualified child who normally resides with them or is part of a family supported by them. The average weekly family income must be below a specified amount which varies according to the number of qualified children in the family. The income thresholds reflect a number of objectives: to maintain the incentive to take up employment; to reduce the risk of household poverty; and to provide a more consistent level of support per child to poor households.

FIS is calculated on the basis of 60% of the difference between the income limit for the family size and the weekly family income of the person(s) raising the children. Weekly family income for FIS purposes is net assessable earnings from employment, income from self-employment or any other source.

An integral part of the FIS scheme is that once the level of payment is determined, that rate continues to be payable for a period of 52 weeks, provided that the person remains in full-time employment. The rate of payment may be increased following the addition of a child to the family (through birth, fostering, adoption or guardianship) in the course of the 52 weeks. On the other hand, the rate of payment will not change if there is an increase or decrease in the recipient’s earnings or other family income. A key advantage of this approach, which is unique to the FIS scheme, is that claimants can be certain that they will receive a guaranteed level of income support throughout the period.