Thomas Pringle TD today called on Minister Joan Burton to extend Jobseeker’s Benefit back to the original 12 months.
The Killybegs Deputy wrote to the Minister in response to on-going problems seasonal workers are having in Donegal since changes were made to the Benefit in Budget 2012.
“I urged the Minister to reconsider extending Jobseeker’s Benefit from 9 months to the original 12 months. Since it was cut in 2012’s Budget it has caused a lot of problems for seasonal workers who view this payment as an important source of income’ explains Pringle. “Since the changes, seasonal workers might not get Jobseeker’s Benefit if they do not have enough qualifying contributions (credits) and might not get Jobseeker’s Allowance as it’s means-tested.’
“I reminded the Minister it would only cost €33m to reverse the cut and another €6m to extend Jobseeker’s from 6 to 9 months for those who have under 260 credits. That’s a total of €39m. This sum pales against the Department of Social Protection’s yearly budget of €20 billion!”
Pringles met with Minister Humphreys and Department Officials before on this issue but was told the Department couldn’t afford such a reversal.
“Since I’ve found out the cost of such a measure it is clear to me now that it’s a nonsense justification.’
‘What it would do is bring much more security to people in more precarious employment like seasonal work. I urge the Minister to really consider this proposal in time for this year’s Budget,’ concludes Pringle.