Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys TD
The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys has today announced the introduction of Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds.
This is a payment for people aged between 65 and 66 years who are no longer engaged in employment or self-employment. Eligibility for the payment is determined by a person’s PRSI contributions.
The rate of payment is €203 per week (same rate as Jobseeker’s Benefit) with an increase for dependants, if eligible.
A person in receipt of this payment will not be required to be available for full-time work or genuinely seeking work and they will not be required to sign on the Live Register. Recipients are exempt from participating in Activation unless they choose to engage and can also participate in a course of education while retaining their full payment entitlement.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Minister Humphreys said:
“For many people, due to their contract of employment, retiring at the age of 65 is their only option. These are people who have been working all their lives and, for many, finding new employment can be difficult.
As Minister I want to be able to provide them with some certainty and peace of mind.
“That’s why I’m rolling out the ‘Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds’ which reflects a key commitment in the Programme for Government.
“There is now no situation whereby somebody has to ‘sign on’ or go on the Live Register: This is a specific payment targeted at people in the year leading up to when they reach pension age.
“There are various other issues in relation to the State Pension that are being examined by the independent Commission on Pensions, which is due to make recommendations to me in the summer.
“In the meantime, I’m pleased to give clarity today to those aged 65 or approaching the age of 65 and I’m encouraging people to apply for this payment via www.MyWelfare.ie.”
Aside from the online application method via www.MyWelfare.ie, individuals can email email@example.com to request a paper application and it will be posted to them – however, this will take longer than applying online.
Applications can only be made when a person reaches 65 years of age. This payment will continue until the person reaches pension age provided they continue to meet the eligibility conditions.
To qualify for this payment a person must have fully ceased employment or self-employment. A person who takes up casual or part-time work while in receipt of the payment should notify the Department and discontinue their claim.
The Department has identified customers in receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit who are eligible for the new payment and is in the process of advising them of the relaxation of conditions to their claim and of their automatic transfer to the scheme.
In a statement, the trade union, SIPTU said:
SIPTU members have expressed their deep disappointment at the introduction of a new benefit payment for people forced to retire at 65.
According to SIPTU researcher, Michael Taft, the payment does not provide an adequate income for those forced to leave work at 65 and does not address the issue of mandatory retirement.
“While the Government has finally recognised the problems faced by people forced to retire at 65 and unable to access their pension for another year, this new benefit is deeply disappointing as it does not provide for an adequate income,” he said.
“This benefit payment will result in people receiving up to €2300 less annually than the state pension entitlement. They are being penalised twice – first by employers who require employees to retire at 65 and then by a state payment which does not allow for an adequate income for them and their adult dependants.
“SIPTU members are calling for the abolition of mandatory retirement and to permit people to remain in employment until they reach the pension age, and beyond.
“The Government should not need to be reminded that, in last year’s general election, voters supported parties and candidates who objected to the proposal to raise the pension age to 67 and for a fair and adequate pension system for people in retirement.”
To qualify for Benefit Payment for 65 Year Olds a person must:
be aged between 65 and 66 years
have ceased employment or self-employment
be resident in the Republic of Ireland
satisfy the PRSI contribution conditions as set out in www.gov.ie/bp65. (PRSI Classes A, H, P and S are reckonable for this payment.)