The ‘in-work’ benefit, introduced last year to incentivise more people to work while helping those on the low end of the scale, will be bolstered to reach more people.

From 2016, this benefit will be extended to families where only one member works and the other parent stays at home. These families with children under 23 years will now be entitled to an additional €150 per child per year if the family’s income is below €12,700 a year.

The incentive for the other non-working family member to become gainfully employed will be kept.

In the case of two parents working and earning a combined income of between €10,000 and €20,000 a year, they will get an ‘in-work’ benefit of €1,000 per child.

On the other hand, single-parent families will keep their current benefit of €1,200 per child if they work and earn between €6,600 and €15,000 a year.

According to the government, the extension of this new measure should benefit an additional 3,700 families and nearly 5,000 children.

Changes are also being made to the social assistance benefit to ensure dependents will not fall in the ‘at-risk-of-poverty’ category if they genuinely could not work because of sickness, disability or mental health issues.

The government announced changes in the calculations to be made when it comes to means testing.

For those families depending on social assistance, the earnings of adult children still living in the same household will no longer be calculated as part of the family’s income. This means that usual deductions of €16.30 per child per week will no longer be deducted from a family receiving social assistance benefits.