Fianna Fáil Deputy for Longford-Westmeath, Robert Troy, has called on the Government to reform the Household Benefits Package to ensure people are not penalised as a result of providing accommodation for their children.
Deputy Troy pointed out that many adult children have been forced to move back home as a result of the housing crisis and the rising cost of living, and this is resulting in older parents losing out on the Households Benefit Package.
“The Household Benefits Package is an important payment for many older people who rely on it year in year out,” he said. “It comprises the electricity or gas allowance and the free television licence.
“It is a modest payment which provides breathing space for older people who are at the pin of their collar. Currently, older people can only access the scheme when they are either living alone or with their partner. People who have an adult child living at home with them are barred from accessing the scheme. This was a sensible rule when the scheme was first introduced but it now needs to be re-examined.
“Many adult children right across Ireland have been forced to move back home to live with their parents as a result of the housing crisis and the increased cost of living. These adult children are themselves experiencing severe financial difficulties and moving home is a last resort option. However, when they move home their older parents are losing access to the Household Benefits Package, even though the parents are not financially better off following the move.
“I’m calling on the Government to re-examine the eligibility criteria for the Household Benefits Package in light of this. The current eligibility criteria is preventing adult children from moving home, which in turn is exacerbating the housing crisis. This needs to be addressed.”