Social welfare payment increases will benefit 1.5 million people

The Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, T.D., has announced that the new increased rate of pensions and weekly social welfare increases introduced in Budget 2019 will come into effect next week.

The relevant documents will be updated on the Citizens Information website on the date the changes take effect.

Budget 2019 included €362 million in additional social welfare expenditure, bringing the total social welfare spend to €20.5 billion for the year.

The maximum personal rate of pension will increase by €5 per week for 637,340 pensioners aged 66 and over from the week commencing 25 March - for themselves and 72,640 dependants. There will also be a €5 increase for 684,700 weekly welfare recipients including carers, widows, people with disabilities, lone parents, jobseekers, Maternity and Paternity Benefit recipients, Farm Assist recipients and Community Employment participants.

Qualified adults and people receiving reduced rates of payment will receive proportional increases.

Next week will also see the increases on weekly payments of €2.20 for dependent children aged under 12, and €5.20 for dependent children aged 12 and over. This will bring the qualified child increases to €34 per week and €37 per week respectively.

Working lone parents who are receiving the One Parent family payment and Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment will now be able to earn an extra €20 per week, up to €150, and keep their full payment. Some 13,200 families will benefit from this which takes effect from next week.

People receiving the Working Family Payment in receipt of maintenance will benefit from a new disregard of €95 per week in respect of housing costs.

The weekly Fuel Allowance of €22.50 is being extended by one week this year until 12 April. Some 373,800 households will benefit.

Ahead of the increases, Minister Doherty commented:

“Up to 1.5 million people stand to benefit in communities throughout Ireland. The increases - which will begin to kick in over the next few days – will benefit a wide variety of people throughout the country and allows us to target resources where they are best placed to really help our most vulnerable citizens – particularly children.”