Friday 2 December 2016

Spike in 65-year-olds getting dole as they don't yet qualify for pension

Published 01/08/2016 | 02:30

There has been a spike in the number of 65-year-olds getting dole payments as they do not yet qualify for a State pension. (Maarten Wouters/Getty Images)
There has been a spike in the number of 65-year-olds getting dole payments as they do not yet qualify for a State pension. (Maarten Wouters/Getty Images)

There has been a spike in the number of 65-year-olds getting dole payments as they do not yet qualify for a State pension.

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The rules changed at the start of 2014, which means that people now do not qualify for the State contributory pension until they reach 66.

Up until then, there had been a state transitional pension that kicked in when people reached 65, after which they went on to the full State pension at 66.

Age Action has called for changes to the rules in order to ensure that older people do not have to claim the dole.

Figures obtained from the Department of Social Protection by Age Action for the numbers of people getting Jobseeker's Benefit by age show that there are 489 people aged 64 getting the payment.

This is fairly consistent with the numbers between the ages of 60 and 63.

But there is a large spike in the numbers to almost 2,500 for those aged 65.

Age Action spokesman Justin Moran said: "If you look at the figures, no other age group is on Jobseeker's like the 65-year-olds. Even 35-year-olds have half the number."

He said the only possible explanation was that people had to leave their jobs at 65 but could not get the State pension until they were 66.

Abolished

At the start of 2014, the traditional State pension, paid from the age of 65, ceased to exist.

This means that instead of getting the full contributory pension of €233 a week, those who retire from that date will instead have to apply for Jobseeker's Benefit.

By 2028, the qualification age for the State pension is set to rise to age 68.

Mr Moran said the figures showed there was a strong argument to bring back some sort of transitional pension payment.

"The decision to abolish the transition pension was simply not thought through. We have growing numbers of older people forced out of their jobs for no other reason than they're turning 65, but they must wait another year before they're entitled to the State Pension.

"It is madness to force experienced, capable workers out of their jobs and to put them on the dole."

He called for this country to adopt the same approach as Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where mandatory retirement ages were abolished.

"In the meantime, the Government must look again at the need to bridge the gap between an older worker being forced from their job by ageist contracts and being entitled to the State Pension by offering a transition pension," Mr Moran added.

Read more: Workers without pension to pay automatically into new retirement scheme

Irish Independent

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