Q. Life is hard for us at the moment – 4 children under the age of 12 and my husband lost his job two months ago.. we are also proud and don’t like being “beholding” to anyone but I am worried with Christmas coming up how we are going to manage. Would be grateful for any advice Sheila – Blanchardstown Dublin 15

A. Certainly empathise with you Sheila. There is lots of help available and you are entitled to certain benefits without having to feel that you are beholding to anyone. For the 4 children, the Child Benefit from next January will be € 560 per month and for those families not so well off, a widening of the thresholds in last week’s Budget to allow more families on low income to avail of the Family Income Supplement means that you may qualify for that also. This is a tax free weekly payment available to families with children under 18 years of age or between 18 and 22 years of age and in full-time education. The payment is calculated based on a family’s income and the amount of children being supported by a household. Families receive 60pc of the difference between their weekly income and the income limit applied for a family of their size. You cannot qualify for the payment if you are self-employed. Complete an application form from the Family Income Supplement (FIS) Section, Department of Social Protection, Social Welfare Services Office,Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford  Tel:(043) 334 0053 Locall:1890 92 77 70  Email: fissection@welfare.ie  Go and see your local friendly social welfare officer on all other matters – they are there to help and advise. Best wishes.


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