Some will be 'better off' on new payment for retirees aged 65, Minister claims

Some Will Be 'Better Off' On New Payment For Retirees Aged 65, Minister Claims
Heather Humphreys said the new payment of €203 per week will 'bring clarity'
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Vivienne Clarke

Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys has claimed that some people will be “better off” on the new benefit payment for those who retire at age 65.

Under the new plans, people will no longer have to sign on to receive income support in the year between retirement and qualification for the State pension at age 66. There will be one application form which can be filled in online, the Minister said.


The new payment of €203 per week will “bring clarity to the situation”, she told RTÉ News at One.

When asked how many people would be “better off”, the Minister said “some people may be financially better off and some may not, for those who had to retire they may have gone on to job seekers and for that reason they may be getting less than €203.

“There's currently 2,000 people on the job seekers payment who are aged 65 - they will transfer over, but the benefit is they don't have to be actively looking for another job. Payment will be easier to access.”

When pressed about the exact number of people better off, the Minister said the rate compared favourably with other jurisdictions.


Ms Humphreys also pointed out that the State retirement age had “never” been 65, but since 1976 it had been 66. She said €9 billion of the €25 billion social protection budget went towards pensions.

Pensions were a major issue during the last election campaign and today’s announcement was in response to that, she said.


The Pensions Commission was looking at the issue of the sustainability of the State Pension Scheme, but that the issue would have to be looked at “in its entirety.”

Auto-enrolment in pensions schemes would be phased in on a gradual basis, but again it was a complex issue and one on which she would be bringing a memo to Government shortly.

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Ms Humphreys said that the pandemic unemployment payment would continue “at some level probably until the summer.”

Sinn Féin described the Government's pensions plan as a “repackaging of the dole for 65-year-olds” and an “utter insult”.

The party's spokesperson for employment, Louise O’Reilly, said: “This move does not deliver a State pension for these retiring workers, and because of [the Government's] failure to deliver the pension and pension rate for those aged 65, these workers will be short €45 a week; which is over €2,000 a year.”

She added: “The repackaging of the dole does not address the key issue – all workers should have the right to retire with a State pension at 65, if they so choose.”

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