Social Welfare Payments St Patrick’s Day 2019

Monday 18th March 2019 is a Bank Holiday and all Social Welfare offices  will be closed . Post Offices  and Banks will also be closed on 18th March 2019.

Jobseekers who are due to sign on at a Social Welfare Office on Monday 18th March will not have to do so.


Pension and Welfare Payment Arrangements for  St Patrick’s Weekend

Payment collected at a Post Office
All welfare and state pension payments due on Monday 18th March can be collected from Friday 15th March 2018.

Payments directly into bank accounts :
Payments of pensions and welfare benefits due on Monday 18th March will  be paid into accounts instead on Friday 15th March 2019.

Casual / Part Time  Jobseekers, due to be paid on Tuesday 19th March will be paid on Wednesday 20th March.

Read more here about workers pay amd holiday entitlements for March 17th 2019

 

Euro Sterling Exchange Rate News

Sterling Euro Exchange Rate Today : March 14th 2019 9.00am

1 GBP = 1.174 EUR

1 EUR =  0.8513 GBP

As expected – Brexit is causing a lot of volatility in the Sterling Euro exchange rate .
On Monday –  possible news of a revised Brexit deal sent the pound soaring overnight. The pound euro exchange rate hit a high of €1.18. This was the highest the pound has traded at versus the euro since Spring 2017. But that was soon reversed on Tuesday afternoon after the DUP said  they would be voting against May’s deal . It dropped from €1.1709 to €1.156. On Wednesday the pound rallied again after the UK Parliament voted against a no deal Brexit.

According to a recent Bank of England Brexit analysis,  if the UK goes through a “disorderly” Brexit , Sterling could fall by 25% under a worst-case scenario.  This could see the Pound  fall to parity against the Euro.

See Today’s latest Exchange Rates Here


With so much  uncertainty in the currency markets at the moment –  it could get quite stressful for people or businesses planning large Euro / Sterling exchanges in the next few months.   We are in a period of high volatility which, depending on your timescales and budget, could cause problems if you are not properly prepared.

Using a Currency Exchange specialist  can remove some of the uncertainty by allowing you to fix an exchange rate as much as 12 months in advance of your transfer.  For good deals on currency exchange for large amounts –  for personal money or for businesses – see our page on how to get the Best Exchange Rates

 

money transfers

You might also be interested in this information about  Transferring  Money between Ireland and the UK

If you are just looking to buy some Pounds for a holiday  – take a look at our page about the best place to buy Sterling in Ireland

 

National Childcare Scheme

Latest Update – March 2019

In March 2019 the Affordable Childcare Scheme was relaunched with a new   name- the National Childcare Scheme.

Originally announced as part of Budget 2017 – a new Affordable Childcare Scheme” was proposed to help families with payments for creche and nursery fees and other types of childcare such as after school care.


Implementation Delays:
The scheme was originally due to start in September 2017but the full rollout was delayed a few times .. it is now expected to be ready by October 2019.

In November 2018  the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, announced that the new Childcare Scheme will open for applications in mid-October 2019, with payments flowing from November 2019.

Note: only registered school age childcare services will be able to provide services under the National Childcare Scheme.

In March 2019 the Affordable Childcare Scheme was given a new name- the National Childcare Scheme.


After theNational Childcare Scheme goes live ,  (expected October 2019) people will be able to choose to move over to the new Scheme or to remain on their old scheme for the remainder of the programme year. The idea of this is to  provide certainty for current scheme beneficiaries, offer ample time to apply for the new scheme and ensure that no family is worse off during the transition period. Once the National Childcare Scheme is in place in October 2019, registrations under the existing schemes will cease.

The free preschool programme (also known as ECCE, the Early Childhood Care and Education programme) will not be affected by the National Childcare Scheme, and will continue to operate.


 Details of the National Childcare Scheme – every child between the ages of 6 months and 36 months in Tusla-registered childcare services will be eligible for some level of childcare support.

This scheme will replace the existing  subsidy schemes – including the  Community Childcare Subvention Programme(CCS / CCSP )  and the Childcare Education and Training Support Programme (TEC).


Means Tested Subsidies : National Childcare Scheme

The new Means-tested childcare subsidies, will be based on net parental income, and will be available for children between 6 months and 15 years.  The rate you get will  depend on your level of family income, your child’s age and educational stage, and the number of children in your family. The subsidy can be used towards the cost of a registered childcare place for up to a maximum of 40 hours if you are working, studying or training, or in circumstances where you are unavailable for childcare, and a maximum of 15 hours if you are not working, studying or training.

Any family with a combined net parental income of less than €60,000 a year will qualify for some help.

For those above the net income threshold of €60,000, but with a child under 3 in regulated childcare, the scheme will still provide the universal payment of up to €1,040 per year.

Families with higher income may also qualify if they have more than 1 child under 15.
There is an example given of a family with net annual income of €60,000, with three children ..

  • aged 2 years (40 hours childcare per week)
  • and 5 years (17 hours out-of-school care per week)
  • and 7 (17 hours out-of-school care per week).

This family would qualify for €92 a week childcare subsidy. (€4784  a year)

The maximum subsidy will be payable to all those with net incomes below  €2600 per annum.  (Net Income of  €500 per week).
Childcare subsidy Payments will be made directly to childcare providers , not parents.

The calculation of the childcare subsidy  is based on the net income of the household, the number of children and the ages of the children.

As net  family income rises above €26,600 – the subsidy will decrease. A family with one child under 15 and net annual income over €60,000 a year will not qualify for the means tested subsidy. See below for details of Net income calculations.


Some Examples of How the National Childcare Scheme Will Work

a)  Lone parent,  with net annual income of €26,000 , with one child aged 2 years  in need of 40 hours of childcare per week.  Will  get €175 per week subsidy . (€9,100 a year)

b). Family with gross income of €64,000 and a net annual income of €43,200 ,  with two children aged 5 wih needs 17 hours of after school care a week and  a 2 year old needing  40 hours of childcare per week .  They will  get €128 per week subsidy . (€6656 a year)

c)  Family with net annual income of  €51,400  (Gross of €90,000) with three children aged 2,2 and 1. (40 hours childcare  each per week)  . They will  get €176 per week subsidy. (€9152 a year)

Child Care Subsidy Ireland

 

Applications can be made from October at https://ncs.gov.ie/


A Universal Child Care payment will apply to childcare fees for children aged  under three years old. The proposed maximum rate for this is €900 a year for full time childcare. (Based on €0.50 an hour , 40 hours a week , 45 weeks of the year)
All families will be able to get a this minimum of 50c per hour towards childcare for the above age groups – regardless of income.


Calculation of Net Income for the National Childcare Scheme
Net Income is after deductions of  Tax, PRSI, USC, and any allowable items  listed below …
A  Discount of €4,300 for families with 2 children under the age of 15.
A  Discount of €8,600 for families with 3 or more children under 15.
Pension contributions, up to the limit allowed by Revenue as a deduction from tax.
Maintenance payments made in respect of a child or former spouse.
Certain social protection payments:
Aftercare Allowance
Further education and training allowances provided by Education and Training Boards
Back to Education Allowance
Guardian’s Payment
Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance
Humanitarian Assistance Scheme
Back to Work Enterprise Allowance
Mobility Allowance
Back to Work Family Dividend
Momentum
Blind Welfare Allowance
Personal Reader Grant
Caranua services support
Rent Supplement
Carer’s Support Grant
Short-Term Enterprise Allowance
Constant Attendance Allowance
Springboard
Department of Education and Skills Third Level Bursary Scheme
Student Assistance Fund
Diet Supplement
Student grant (SUSI)
Domiciliary Care Allowance
Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme
Exceptional Needs Payments
Youthreach Allowance
Foster Care Allowance


It is proposed that applicants will be able to apply for the childcare subsidy online. Where they qualify, they will be provided with a unique code which they can then take to any registered childcare provider participating in the Scheme.Once the parent and the provider have agreed the hours of childcare required, the provider will register the code on the Scheme’s online system in order to redeem the subsidy.

 

Cheapest Broadband Deals in Ireland

Broadband Price Comparison
Prices checked March 11th 2019

A survey of fixed broadband usage in Ireland by COMREG published in 2018, found that the average spend on a landline and broadband bundle in 2017 was €59 a month ( €708 a year) .
Comreg also found that over 26% of households were spending more than €71 a month on phone and broadband bundles. (That is €852 a year)  .


There are substantial savings to be made by switching to a cheaper broadband provider.

  • Someone paying the average price of €708 a year could save as much as €288 in 12 months by switching their broadband and landline to the cheapest provider (cost €420).
  • The 26% of people in Ireland who are paying at least €852 a year could save  €432 in 12 months by switching.

We have compared the prices of some broadband packages to help you find the Cheapest Broadband Deals in Ireland.

cheapest broadband ireland

These are the current top five cheapest fixed line broadband and phone bundles in Ireland with:

  • unlimited broadband data
  • unlimited anytime phone calls to landlines .
  • Speeds of “upto” 100Mb (actual speed will depend on your phone line in most cases).

Any caps on “unlimited” data are shown below.

These deals are usually only available for new customers and may not be available in all areas of the country.

Prices Checked March 11th 2019

1.   Pure Telecom have a fibre and phone “bill save” bundle costing €420 in year one.  This is a saving of €179 in one year compared to the most expensive option on our list. The normal monthly charge is €50 , but it is reduced to €35 for the first 12 months. (“Bill Save” bundle) . Pure Telecom  use the Eircom fibre network – so the availability and connection quality etc. should be the same as Eir . Anytime landline calls are included. Speeds of up to 100Mbs depending on line and location. 12 month contract. Join Pure Here

2. Vodafone have a broadband and phone bundle priced at €450 for the first year . With broadband speeds of upto 100Mb  and unlimited downloads ( 1 Tb fair usage cap) and unlimited calls to Irish landlines . Vodafone’s bundle costs €50 a month (reduced to €25 for first 6 months). It is an 18 month contract.  More details can be found on Vodafone bundles at Switcher.ie

3. Eir – currently have a phone and broadband  bundle working out at €519.75  in year one .  With unlimited downloads (Fair usage cap of 1000Gb ) and free anytime calls to Irish landlines and mobiles.
The usual price is €69.98 a month,  reduced to €39.98 for the first 12 months. This Eir bundle also includes free calls to UK landlines and mobiles .   You can see more details of  this bundle and compare it to others from Eir HERE

4.  Sky have a broadband and phone bundle (TV subscription not required)  – with speeds of upto 100mb , unlimited downloads and free anytime calls to Irish landlines and several international destinations. It costs €62.50 a month  with the first 12 months at €42.50 (works out at €560 in year one including equipment charges).

5. Virgin Media  (only available in larger cities and towns )  have a broadband and phone bundle with upto 250Mb speeds , anytime calls to Irish landlines and Irish mobiles, plus 400 minutes to 22 countries abroad . Priced at €64 a month (reduced to €44 for first 6 months) . This would cost €648 in the first year. (12 month contract).  Full Details and option to Sign Up Here

 


Broadband Price Comparison Summary (All listed bundles include anytime calls to landlines)

 

Broadband
Provider

Total
Cost in 1st Year
Normal Monthly Charge Max
Speed
Monthly
Data  Limit
Pure Telecom €420 €50 100Mb “Unlimited”
(1000Gb)
Vodafone
€450 €50 100Mb “Unlimited”
(1000Gb)
Eir
€519.75 €69.98 100Mb “Unlimited”
(1000Gb)
Sky *
€560 €62.50 100Mb  Unlimited
Virgin Media
€648 €64 250Mb Unlimited

Note:All above bundles include anytime landline calls. There may be cheaper bundles with off peak calls – but we have limited our comparison for now to those with anytime calls.

You can check current broadband prices and availability in your area on the very useful Switcher.ie site

Continue reading…